5 Ways in which it may just have been Arsene Wenger in charge of Nigeria the past year
- Starting With Promise
Arsenal seasons, following the traditional win at the Emirates Cup typically start with a lot of promise and gusto. Hopes rise feverishly high for a break from the norm as Arsenal racks up early wins and top the table in late November and early October. Of course, as all football people know, the inevitable Arsenal implosion of February and March is only a few months away. In the same way, there was a fevered expectation of change when Muhammadu Buhari took office on the 29th of May, 2015. There was the impressive inauguration speech, and even an improvement in the electricity situation (with pictures of broken bottles of frozen beer being shared). This quickly gave way to Gooner-like frustration as power (and the Naira) fell to record lows and many previous praise singers questioning the gaffer’s (or the president’s) competence.
2. Contending Woefully Against the Obvious
Everyone and their grandmother knew that it was foolhardy for Wenger not to buy a single outfield player (a 30-goal striker at the barest minimum) in the last summer transfer window. He brought in Petr Cech, who’s a more than capable goalkeeper and decided that he didn’t need to do anything else. The world bayed for a “world class” striker but Wenger was resolute. Well, Sky News just published this odiferous piece on how Arsenal would have won the league if all the shots that hit the woodwork had gone in. Similarly, everyone and their cousin advised Buhari that he needed to hit the ground running and appoint his ministers on Day-2. Buhari was resolute in his decision not to appoint anyone until they had undergone his strict and robust vetting process, which did not end until Day-160. Budget fiasco says “everyone” was right and he was wrong. Everyone advised him to deregulate the petroleum sector and let the naira float against the dollar. 12 months later, looks like he may finally be seeing the light.
3. “I didn’t See It.”
In the glorious days of the Invincbles, mostly, whenever there was an on-pitch controversy involving an Arsenal player, Wenger’s default answer when asked by the Press was “I didn’t see it.” His alter ego has also denied seeing the Chibok Girls Proof-Of-Life video AND the video showing the Nigeria Army’s massacre of Shias.
4. Hung up on the Past
Muhammadu Buhari frequently refers to his glorious time in office as a military man (in the 1980s) when discussing current Nigeria issues. He believes OPEC is great for Nigeria because of his impressions of the bloc when he was Minister for Petroleum. He’s suggested that if he had not been removed as Head of State in a coup , his austerity measures were the tonic that would have fixed Nigeria. He’s also a democrat because the Soviet Union collapsed without a single bullet being fired (rolling my eyes). No coach, more than Arsene Wenger, is quicker to whip out his record from decades ago to justify his position at the club, even in the face of a string of bad results.
5. Persistence with Crocked Staff
Abu Diaby left Arsenal 7 years after most Gooners knew it was time to say goodbye to him. He’d been crocked for so long , with each comeback truncated so quickly that it was always a surprise when his contract was renewed. Players have feelings too, I suppose, but very few clubs persist with long-term injury layoffs in the way that Arsenal does. In the same way, Buhari has persisted with quite a few ministers who have shown nothing but brain injuries since taking office. Each time they speak, they either show that they are clearly out of their depth or that they are old and past it. We do not need to name them — by their speeches and proposed policies, ye shall know and do know them.