Former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu will, tomorrow, deliver the Nnamdi Azikiwe University convocation lecture at the institution’s 11th convocation ceremony. The lecture, titled Leadership and the challenges of national unity in Nigeria holds at the university auditorium by 1:00pm. Ribadu was the pioneer EFCC chairman, the government…
LET us put our hands together to celebrate one of our very own, the Nigerian football star who is currently firing on all cylinders, the rejected stone that is today the cornerstone of Chelsea, the team now perched on the apogee of the highly competitive English Premier League (EPL).
Let us put our hands together for Victor Moses. The Victor Moses soaring high across the azure sky in his blue Chelsea jersey and in his green Super Eagles jersey. The Victor Moses now living up to his name as the “victorious leader,” winner and a delightful goal-scorer of the round leather game. The Victor Moses who has retooled himself, renewed himself and improved himself to the highest level such that he is the beautiful bride of football who is being sought after by everybody, including the mighty Barcelona.
For Barcelona to be looking for him speaks volumes about this player who is in the league of the best footballers playing in the world today. From the realms of the ordinary, Victor Moses has moved to the extraordinary. From mediocrity he has transformed into excellence. From an also-ran, he is now a frontrunner, a utility player who cannot be put on the bench, who cannot be ignored anymore. From a player who is constantly tormented by the demons of being loaned out every now and then to other clubs to improve his skill, Victor Moses’s days of slavery and loan-outs are over. Today, he is a prince in his father’s kingdom. A prince waiting to be king one of these days. Just this week, he was voted as the player of the month. In my book, he is Nigeria and Africa’s player of the year. And so shall it be!
You know the story of Victor Moses, how he was brought from Wigan to Chelsea. How he was first sent on loan to Liverpool. From Liverpool, the rejected stone was loaned to Stoke. From Stoke, he was loaned to West Ham. Under Jose Mourinho, the former Chelsea coach, Victor Moses was not favoured. And you know what it means when a coach doesn’t have confidence in you. It kills your spirit. It kills you physically. It kills your game. You lose your self-confidence, you lose your self-belief, you lose your everything. But like the old Beetle car of yesteryear, Victor Moses simply refused to die.
He kept his cool. He bid his time. He worked on himself. He improved himself. And when a new coach Antonio Conte came to Chelsea, he discovered gold in Victor. He saw something that Jose Mourinho didn’t see. He encouraged Victor Moses. He gave him back his pride, his confidence and self-belief. Now, everything is working fine for Victor Moses to the glory of God and the coach whom God sent from the blues to transform The Blues. Thank you Mr. Abramovich, for your decision to sack Jose Mourinho. It was harsh and painful at first for all of Jose Mourinho fans, including me. But you the astute businessman had no room for sentiments. For you, business is business. And so the underperforming Jose Mourinho had to go. The Mourinho we knew before is not the Mourinho of today. Other coaches have caught up with him. He is not too special anymore. He has lost his magic. So, out Mourinho. In comes Conte. And what a transformation we have on our hands!
Thank you Mr. Conte for transforming our team and our players. Thank you for the new “3-4-3” formation that suits Chelsea like a pair of gloves. Thank you for breathing new life, new spirit into an old gin called Chelsea. From what we have seen of you, you are a good coach who will go far at Chelsea. You are a good talent hunter. You saw something in Victor and converted him as a right back defender who can go on the attack, who has the freedom to take an attacking role, knowing that there is a safety blanket behind him.
Today, Victor Moses is the King of the Wings. A right player in the right role at the right time. A player who has learnt his lessons and picked a lot of experiences from the various clubs he was sent to on loan. It was a great learning experience. Now, all the learning is paying off. And this is the Victor Moses moment. His Chelsea progress is a blessing for Nigeria. You can see the pivotal role he played against Algeria in scoring two vital goals for Nigeria and putting Nigeria on the driving seat to Russia. Like Moses in the Bible, this Moses will lead across the Red Sea, he would lead us to the World Cup, he would lead us to the Promised Land and bring us victory after victory. Cos that is his name.
Today, it is about Victor Moses that Jesus preached the parable of the rejected stone that became the cornerstone. And Jesus said to them: “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” (Matthew 21:42)
It is for Victor Moses that the words of the Bible say: “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31).
In the times of trials and tribulation, Victor Moses did not lose his faith. He kept praying, kept working hard on his strength and correcting his weaknesses. Now, God has answered his prayers. Now things are working out for him. My prayer is that Victor Moses will keep rising higher and higher. May God uplift his game to the glory of God, Nigeria and Chelsea. And for you reading this today, may God turn around your situation—however bad or irredeemable the situation may appear. The God we serve is the God of possibility. For him, there is nothing impossible. He will do it for you. Just as he did it for Moses who came out victorious.
It’s so unfortunate that for Victor Moses to gain a place in Conte’s new kingdom, our boy Mikel Obi had to be the sacrificial lamb. But such is life. One person must be sacrificed for the general good. As for Mikel, God will open another door for him as he is not finish yet. There is still a lot of football in him as demonstrated in his captaincy of Nigeria’s Super Eagles.
From the way Victor Moses is going, I would one day write his biography. It is one task I would love to do. It is a task that must be done, if he keeps on going the way he does. I pray that the sky will be his limit.
Just like Victor Moses, I pray that there will be a turnaround in the life of Nigeria. This is a country blessed abundantly with talents in all departments of the game. The God who turned around the fortunes of Chelsea will turn around the fortunes of Nigeria. May God give us a new strategy, a new formation, a new vision, a new thinking, a new wisdom that will enable Nigeria to win again. I pray that our economy would bounce back and our misfortunes be sent on loan, never to return again. The God who gave Coach Conte the wisdom to turn the fortunes of Chelsea around, will give President Buhari same. Abi, how else should I pray?