THAT THE LABOUR OF OUR HEROES PAST SHALL NEVER BE IN VAIN

Written by Niyi Isamotu popular known as MC Malaga

If you have ever heard the hidden story of what our gallant soldiers fighting the war against TERRORISM in the north east and fighting for the unity of this sovereign state called NIGERIA is passing through or of what had become of their families, a question will keep ringing in your ear and keep gushing out of your mouth like a river that over flooded its bank, and that question is, IS NIGERIA WORTH DYING FOR?

Have heard stories of how our national heroes were left uncelebrated until they go to the land of no return...
Have heard stories of how people who put in selfless service get only to be celebrated after their death. Stories of fallen heroes who never get celebrated or recognise while alive or even in death is not new to our ears, a case study of our military men who fought the civil war is a vivid example. Is it not highly absurd that the person who designed one of our national symbol "THE NATIONAL FLAG", Pa Taiwo Micheal Akinkunmi that we have been making use of since 1960 just get recognised by the immediate past administration for his ingenuity and love for his fatherland? Though his recognition has not gotten its final verdict from the COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION. As a school of thought believed his recognition is POLITICALLY MOTIVATED while the other line of thought believed it’s the hallmark of a responsible and responsive government.

Narrowing this piece down to its purpose, it’s a pity that in our country of today we have found ourselves polarized along ethnic, religion, political and cultural line but despite scenario we have found ourselves. There is one particular thing that unite us together irrespective of our religious, political, or ethnic colouration and that is the game of FOOTBALL. Whenever the 11 best legs out of the 170million people go onto the pitch in that colourful GREEN WHITE GREEN jersey to represent this sovereign state, we are always united as ONE BIG FAMILY, though of late we are only having the 11 WRETCHED LEGS representing us, but either which way we are still happy when they represent us. But has it ever done on you, what becomes of this set of people after their playing days?

Have heard stories of how ex-internationals are left with their ruins and left to fallow till death starting from the wizardry HARUNA ILERIKA who was the progenitor of the art and skills that Barcelona star LIONEL MESSI is now displaying to the world, to the man with the magnetic glove and former shooting stars safe hands BEST OGEDENGBE and recently NIGERIA best point man and highest goal scorer till date RASHIDI YEKINI who was suffering from psychopath till his death.

If our national heroes can be treated with so much dismay then what’s the essence of having this particular verse "THY LABOUR OF OUR HEROES PAST SHALL NEVER BE IN VAIN" in our national anthem? And that brings me to the story of another hero, FEMI OPABUNMI who is going the way of the way of the aforementioned people. Femi Opabunmi had fly the flag of this country high during the FIFA organized age grade competition, I mean the U17 championship held in Trinidad and Tobago in the year 2001 which NIGERIA won while Femi emerged as the third best player and also the second highest goal scorer, a feat which he was beaten to by a French player FLORENT SINAMA PONGOLLE. Not stopping at that, he took it a step further at the KOREA-JAPAN 2002 world cup as the youngest player to play at the world cup, a feat just broken by another  African player, Fabrice Olinga from Cameroon at the 2014 edition held in Brazil.

In an interview he granted recently, the Osun state born footballer disclosed that his predicament started in December 2006, he said "in December 2006, I was training one day when suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my eyes, I could not see the ball again". "My vision became blurred and I decided to see an optician, the women told me that in few days, I could be blind if I did not have surgery, I went for it and the surgeon said it was a success".

He stressed further, "I was expecting to see again but there was no improvement, I visited the doctor and other hospitals without a solution", he retorted bitterly... And that was how what should have been a blistering career and his European sojourn came to an abrupt end.
He continued, "On returning home, I went to OJULOWO EYE CLINIC in Ibadan but I had no money to pay the bill". I know some sport enthusiast might be thinking Chief Adegboye Onigbinde was his coach at the KOREA-JAPAN tournament, why can`t he come to his aid?
Opabunmi himself had this to say about the Modakeke born tactician, "When Onigbinde heard about my return to Nigeria, he called me and helped me. He paid my bills at Ojulowo Eye clinic but the problem was only solved halfway"

Another question people might be asking is, didn`t he have friend among the current set of players that can help him out with the lush of dollars they collect week in week out? Yes he has and they have done their possible best though not enough, Opabunmi even confirmed this, "The bill (at the Paris hospital) was so much that I was forced to contact few of my friends, Osaze Odemwingie and Seyi Olonfijana and they responded by sending some money to me"
It will also be recalled that the former commissioner of sport in Oyo state and now a House of Representative member, Honourable Dapo Lam Adesina gave the sum of N500,000 to the former Shooting Stars player.

Now the situation of things with the football jug list is that one of his eye is badly damaged, the other one working at 60% while his 3 kids are out of school for nonpayment of their fees I overheard some people discussing the pros and cons of OPABUNMI predicament, with some people asking questions like, why hasn`t he invested during his playing days? If he had invested, what happens to the proceeds of his investment? What was his contribution to the society or his community in particular during his playing days that will warrant people giving something out of their sweat and toils?

I ponder on this questions for some time but it wasn`t long before I had an answer to this questions through a senior brother Egnr Shuaib Adebayo and I will quote him in verbatim
"Mr Femi Opabunmi is not begging anyone for ALMS, so there should be no cause to pry into his PAST or how he spent his FORTUNE. If by the bond of BROTHERHOOD you feel the EMPATHY in his plight please do so with dilligence and warmth". "Verily not everyone will he have the time and discretion to tell how he spent N20M on an operation, so please let save ourselves the indecency involved in prying into his former lifestyle". "Alms is not mandatory as much as the dilligence with which it must be given" "HE IS WHAT HE IS PRESENTLY, WHO KNOWS WHAT MAY BECOME OF HIM AS TIME UNFOLDS? [TALOMOLA]

On a conclusive note Jackie Robinson said "A life is not IMPORTANT except in the IMPACT it has on other lives" and like I also do love to say "We can`t help EVERYONE, but EVERYONE can help SOMEONE”. The million question now is, WILL YOU ALLOW FEMI OPABUNMI CASE TO GO THE WAY OF OUR FALLEN HEROES?  Remember "THY LABOUR OF OUR HEROES PAST SHALL NEVER BE IN VAIN"

To drop your widow’s mite, payment can be made to;

Account Name: Guildance Community Development Foundation
Account Number: 0004365032
Bank: Stanbic IBTC

And for more enquiries contact; Femi Opabunmi: 08180374433 OR Mr Kabiru Adeniyi Adisa Kulukulu---08057783260, 07083230185. Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Written by Niyi Isamotu popular known as MC Malaga

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