Obediently Articulating To The Next Level
By Remi Otuneye
It is not a mistake I am a year older today. I remember vividly while growing up in the heartlands of Surulere in Lagos. After food, what I love doing next was playing football. In my formative years, aside academic remarks, what have brought me cognition and accolades are sports and games, especially the round leather game. I was two-time MVP and a gold medalist in our local league. My love for football was unparalleled. During the hay days of National Stadium in Surulere, as a place not far from home, I was privileged to watch the Super Eagles play the Terraga Lions of Senegal in CAF Nigeria/Ghana 2000 inside the 60,000 capacity mainbowl.
Before the match, the Senegalese team was underrated as the underdog with focus on playing the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in the next round of the competition. It was a big shock to the Nigerian side when the tides almost turned against the hosting team. The visiting team was quick to score the host country at the early minutes of the first half while the home team wobbled up to the dying minutes of the game. At this point, the tension was high; the fans were no longer patient as they watch the Eagles struggled. There was likelihood of the Nigerian side being mobbed by the timid fans. During the hullabaloo, the time was ticking fast, the game was coming to an end, looking obvious the Eagles would lose to the underrated team. In the loudest silence, the trumpeters of Rafiu Ladipo led Nigerian Supports Club spirited the team’s morals by doing what they know how to do best, echoing and faintly singing: “Sa ma siwa lo sa ma siwa lo, Oluwa sa ma si o”. And the bible verse came to me, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.“
Not long, a new comer into the game, Sunday Oliseh ballooned a long pass to the waiting hands of hungry Julius Aghahowa. Very quickly, he did the damage by bringing the Eagles back to the game towards the end of the 90 minutes. He later did the destruction at the extra time given after the end of full time. At the end, like wall of Jericho, the Terraga Lions of Senegal fell down flat at the feet of the Eagles. And the Senegalese coach concluded that the Lord was with the Eagles moving to the NEXT LEVEL of the tournament.
In recent past, I have struggled. I have burnt candle at both ends. I have run after a wild goose chase. I have wasted time and energy when I was supposed to be cooling off. Albeit I have come to realize that it is neither by mortal power nor by might. It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. ..You cannot fight what you cannot beat: for the battle is the Lord’s. You only win by righteousness.
Today is my Birthday; I am at the NEXT LEVEL already. If wishes were horses, I would have run for the red chamber of the National Assembly and won. And since they are not, I just want to share a short extract from my memoir, making some simple requests on my epitaph. I want to re-echo that popular song line that says, “When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more”; when the morning faints eternal bright and fair…” When I had long gone with blessed memories as an old and accomplished man. After you have told them my story and good deeds, remember to write that: “He conquered fear; he submerged evil with good; he won by righteousness: because the Lord was with him.”
Sa ma si mi lo, sa ma si lo, Oluwa sa ma si lo!
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