Tactical Indiscipline Hunting African Football – Obanya

Nnamdi ObanyaAs Super Eagle face the La-Albicelestes of Argentina, tension is rising as two African teams have crashed out of the World Cup while the other three have little chances of going to the next round.

Speaking on the challenges facing the African teams, Nnamdi Obanya, a sport Journalist told Channels Television on Wednesday that tactical indiscipline by African teams had led to the inability of the teams to cross the group stage of the World Cup.

He attributed Cote d’Ivoire’s defeat by Greece to tactical indiscipline in football, stressing that the blunder committed by the team in the last few minutes of the match led to their exit.

”Cote d’Ivoire started their matches slowly hardly scoring a goal after the 64th minute of any match. Even when Greece got the lead, they were quite easy to contain because they never used counter attacks, they don’t rush their opponents, they are not fast, they depend on long room and short head pieces and they were not sharp, which the Ivorian would have used against them,” he stressed.

According to him, the Ivorians had the chance of winning the match, but went back especially when they knew what they needed was a draw. “The last goal they conceded was due to the defence’s  carelessness, again, indiscipline, totally losing the ball to Samaras to pounce on it”.

He also stated that the tactical indiscipline on the part of the Algerians nearly made them to lose to the Korean team in their last game. “In the first half, Algerians scored 3-0 but the Koreans made a come-back and scored 2 goals in the second half. If the Algerians didn’t score the 4th goal, they would have been under pressure.

The sport journalist further said that the hitch the African team had was that they do not practice set-pieces and the fact that they do not watch their opponents’ matches.

Asked if the coaches or the players are to blame, he said that the coaches were not to blame in many of the occasions. He said that the coach of Cote d’Ivoire, Sabri Lamouchi, made the right choice and changes when due, making the stronger team mates hold the ball against their opponent.

On Cameroon’s exit from the World Cup, he blamed some players for not following instructions. “The Cameroun coach couldn’t do anything seeing his player, Benoit Assou-Ekotto ‘head butt’ his team mate and the other player Alex Song elbowing his team mate. This is just indiscipline in the African football.

“Most African players do not go through structured academy where they are expected to imbibe discipline. Most of what they learn, they learnt in Foreign countries and things they can’t do in the club they do it in their National team,” he stated.

Ahead of the Nigeria and Argentina match that would be played on Wednesday, he predicted a draw, hinging his prediction on the fact that Argentina are through but would want to top the group in other not to meet France in the next stage.

Pointing out the weakness of Nigeria, he stated that if the Super Eagles use the 5-3-2 formation, against the Argentines, it could give the National team problems.

“Nigeria doesn’t know how to play the eleven men behind the ball kind of game. Nigeria needs to attack and make the Argentines defend as much as possible.

Nigeria only needs a draw to qualify for the next round of the tournament. This will be the fourth time Nigeria will be meeting the Argentines in the World cup, but Argentina have won the three games they have played so far.

National Conference: Real Issues Are Corruption And Ethnic Differences – Ezeala

A Legal Practitioner, Chukwuma Ezeala, has recommended that the National Conference must have real representation of Nigeria’s 6 geo-political zones, for it to truly address the issues confronting the country.

While speaking on Channels Televison flagship breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’, he noted that since the year 1964, the main issues confronting Nigeria had bothered on corruption and ethnic differences.

While admitting that leadership was also an issue, he argued that one of the reasons Nigeria has not had good leadership was because of the ethnic problems, explaining that the ethnic problems affect the way the leaders emerge.

He explained how ethnic groups determine who should be the Nigerian President and also influence who would be Ministers to work with him. He claimed that it has also been ethnicity that had shielded corruption over the years.

Mr Ezeala, however, suggested that this situation does not require that the National Conference be tagged ethnic. He said that what Nigerians must ensure is that issues of ethnicity are discussed. He said: “If we already have accepted to 6 geo-political zones, why don’t we make sure that there is real representation of those 6 geo-political zones, which represents the ethnic issues and which has fairly equal representation?”

On the issues of a “no go area”, the lawyer said: “If we must discuss how we are going to live, first thing will be to affirm that we want to live as one country. I think that 90% of Nigerians want us to be together, so why are you avoiding it?

“Let it be that for the first time, Nigerians have said they want to live together.

“Now, the next question is yes we want to live together but how do we live together? Is it possible for an Ondo man to come to Lagos and become the Governor of Lagos State? I think it should be possible if he is the most qualified…but we need to agree because my own view should not be the view of Nigerians.

“We should come in, discuss, decide this and we now give it a print of authority to say this is what Nigerians have done, and any president and any leader can now enforce it and not say that it was Decree 24 that brought us together and decreed how we should live.”

In a show of cautious optimism, Mr Ezeala expressed confidence that the constitution of the National Conference has the ingredients to address the Nigerian issues once and for all, provided that at the end of the conference there is a written agreement which would make it easy for political leaders to enforce the people’s resolution.

He also suggested that the National Assembly should pass a law that would enable the outcomes of the National Conference to go through a referendum, and if they are not ready to do so, the Conference could recommend or decide that what they had done should go through a referendum.

He also spoke about the structure of the representation at the conference as it affects the body of lawyers in Nigeria.

Ethnic Stakeholders Say National Conference Would Be A Waste Without Referendum

Representatives of Nigeria’s major ethnic groups have commended the Federal Government for the planned National Conference, but not without some clamouring that resolutions at the conference be subjected to a referendum by the people and not the National Assembly.

Politics Today on Channels Television played host to the President of Igbo socio-political group, Aka-Ikenga, Mr, Goddy Uwazuruike; the President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima and the Spokesperson for Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin.

Odumakin commended the Federal Government for the structure of the modalities for the conference as he referred to it as “a big improvement from the initial recommendation” by the presidential committee.

He noted that if the government had followed the recommendations of the Presidential Committee, the essence of the National Conference would have been lost. He said that the panel’s recommendation was faulty. “Asking that representation at the conference should be by Federal Constituencies is a blunder, as the make-up of these Federal Constituencies is one of the reasons why the country needs the conference in the first place,” he stressed.

Mr. Uwazuruike, while agreeing with Odumakin, also said that the basis for the conference was the dissatisfaction of various people who are seeking to know where they stand in the state of affairs insisting that the beauty of the National Conference, as planned by the Government, was that what the Executive and Legislature  believed would be of no impact but what the people want.

No Go Area

Mr Shettima, while also commending the Federal Government for accepting that there was need for Nigerians to discuss, also supported the clause that the indivisibility of Nigeria would not be discussed; acknowledging that the Government had a right to determine how they want the conference to go.

Although, Odumakin also agreed that it was a good idea that the Federal Government wants to protect the unity of Nigeria, he however frowned at the statement credited to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, that the unity of Nigeria was not negotiable.

He said: “That is not right.” He argued that Nigeria had been together for so long and that the people must be able to negotiate the terms of their unity. According to him, “Discussing our differences will not break us. We should not be afraid”.

Odumakin warned that what could lead to the breakup was “when we do not discuss the terms of our unity.” He added: “Pretending that we are united is like postponing the evil day.”

Mr Uwazuruike, who is also a lawyer, provided the legal framework for the decision of the Presidency. He explained that according to the Nigerian Constitution, “a President swears an oath to not initiate the divisibility of Nigeria, and President Jonathan is bound by his oath of office to ensure the continued unity of the country.

“Initiating a gathering to discuss the matter, therefore, will be going against the Nigerian Constitution and his oath of office.

“Also, it will mean asking for a revolution and when that happens, it is his office and the parliament that will first have to go,” the lawyer said.

He submitted that Mr. President was on the right track and that if anyone wanted a revolution, it would not be the President that should instigate it.

Shettima called on Nigerians to take advantage of the whole conference even if it was not the solution to all of Nigerians’ problems, as he was sure that the country would move forward from where it was.

The Referendum

There are questions about the criteria for the selection of representatives at the National Conference expected to have 492 representatives from different parts of the country.

Mr Shettima said that the makeup of the representation cannot be perfect since the whole idea was for it to be all inclusive, adding that the inclusion of the civil society makes it good enough.

He however noted that asides the issues of composition, there were more important problems that needed to be fixed one of which was the legitimacy of the 1999 Constitution. He said that the National Conference must be seen as an exercise towards building a brand new constitution for Nigeria.

Barrister Uwazuruike also added that the 1999 constitution truly tells a lie and offered an explanation on how the resolution of the constitution can be changed

The SGF, Anyim Pius Anyim, in an earlier interview with Channels Television, had said that only the National Assembly had the powers to amend the Constitution and there was nothing that could be done about it.

Mr Odumakin further berated Mr Anyim as being ignorant. He stressed that the referendum is the key thing in the forthcoming conference, going down history lane to validate his argument.

Shettima also stressed that “as long as Nigeria retains the Constitution that gives all the power to President, with everything centralized in Abuja, things will not be better in Nigeria”. He said that all resolution at the conference must be subjected to a referendum.

“We are not asking for an amendment of the constitution, what we need is a totally new constitution,”  he stressed.

In further response to Mr Anyim’s interview, Mr Odumakin assured that there could not be chaos, as Nigerians had been together for too long that there was need to discuss. He said: “We cannot put our faith in the hands of those who created that same 1999 constitution for us after all they have done to us since.

“They have been serving themselves and now it is time for them to do what we want.” He said, adding that sovereignty lies in the people and not the National Assembly.

Uwazuruike however warned that the same 1999 Constitution was the basis for convening the conference and that it gave the details of what should be discussed and there was no referendum in its recommendation.

He added that indeed, sovereignty was in the people as earlier argued by Odumakin, but stressed that it was to be executed on their behalf through the National Assembly. He concluded with an advice to the National Assembly to pay attention to discussions at the conference and use them according to the will of the people.

Mr Odumakin said: “What is worth doing is worth doing well.”He urged Nigerians to go into the conference with the realization that “it is not to constitute us.”

Shettima warned that if the National Conference would not be subjected to a referendum, then it would have been a waste of tax payers’ money.