Protests or no protests, masking the problems 

Good morning/afternoon everyone. For many today is a very special day. It isn’t for me but surely what others are doing have influenced today’s blog. It’s coming a lot later than it normally should and it would be interesting the kind of feedback we would get on the blog today. 

Last week a local football website published an article that Enyimba fans in Aba were planning a protest with regards to the situation with the Enyimba stadium. It was going to be a peaceful protest according to the story but the idea was to hit home the fact that Enyimba fans have endured for a long time not seeing their beloved team. 

A few hours later, the club released a statement saying there was no such protest being planned and that the story was untrue and labelled it a shame. I’ll just share the quotes from that article below. 

Anyansi Agwu said: “These are untrue reports. Very untrue, very misleading and very shameful. There are no such plans by supporters of the club to protest what, as far as I believe is a genuine attempt by the Dr Okezie led administration to develop Enyimba’s infrastructure and make us more competitive. A government that is not concerned about the welfare of a club will not embark on such a huge venture in light of the current economic condition of the country and in particular, Abia State, so it puzzles me how a story like this can be cooked up.”

“Our supporters held no meetings planning a protest, neither did they contact anyone to protest on their behalf. Our supporters just left Calabar now in a triumphant spirit after our victory here and are planning to travel to Minna to cheer the team in our next game, so who is protesting? As a matter of fact, this group that calls itself Concerned Enyimba Supporters have no connection with Enyimba Football Club. We have never heard of them so I urge the public to disregard any actions or words coming from the group. 

“I believe that if such a group even exists, their actions are calculated attempts by very mischievous individuals to undermine the great support of the governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu for our club. Enyimba reached the group stage of the CAF Champions League last season and have started this season well. Without the backing of the Abia State government, we would not be where we are today. Don’t forget that we won our record seventh league title under this administration, so the signs are evident that we have a supportive governor. Work in the stadium has reached eighty five percent, all that is left is for the grass to be laid and I believe that will happen very soon, so we have no reason to protest, none at all.”

“Other teams have played away from home in Nigeria, some for even three to four seasons, so Enyimba is not doing anything unusual. We have only been away for one season. Right now we are in Calabar and we are doing well here. I understand that Aba fans would like to watch us play in Aba but this is all very temporary. The government has not abandoned work, things are still moving forward so I appeal to everyone to be patient and give their full support to the team so we can continue to do well. The people of Calabar have made us feel at home here and I wish to thank our governor for maintaining full support of the team because it is not easy to play away from home. I also thank the government and people of Cross River State, especially the Cross River Sports Commission for their efforts as well as the Cross River State Football Association.

“Enyimba is a team with a rich history and we have not come this far by being aggressive or volatile. We have always been a respectful side and cannot plan a protest against our number one supporter. I call on everyone to disregard the reports and continue to support and pray for the team,” he concluded.

Two things I’ll like to say about this. First, by responding to this story, the club has unknowingly amplified the report. Evidently it was necessary to prove to the Governor  that they are behind him despite the snail pace the work is taking. But will the administrators truly say they are unperturbed by the fact that the club has not played at home for over a year? 

Here on the blog, we have maintained support for both Governor and the club as much as is sane. Truth is this administration came into power with so much mess littered all over the place. There’s been work on going in the State since Dr Ikpeazu became the Governor. So while work had tarried at the stadium, there has been a lot of working ongoing in many quarters of the state. 

On the flip side, if you are regular listener to the Magic FM’s Sport shows, you would feel the grievance of Enyimba fans who are denied the chance of seeing the team play. They call in like every other day asking questions about the state of the pitch. And let’s be honest, we have had deadlines go past time and time again. 

But whether or not there is a coalition of forces and they have planned a protest is something I am unsure of. So, is there grievance? Yes. Is there a planned protest? I don’t know. But the work on the stadium is long overdue and it is wrong to believe that the route currently being taken to fixing this issue is the best so far. 

Only a blind person would look at Enyimba at its current state and say everything is nice and good. I mean it’s even down to the fact that as a club we cannot afford a website. Perhaps we the fans can do our part, raise funds and give the Enyimba media team to fix the club website. If all my daily readers on this blog contributed a once off fee of N100 each, we would have more than enough funds to buy the club a website. How about that guys? 

Enjoy your day wherever you are and one word for those Valentining today- don’t bite more than you should today. Today is only 24 hours, but the consequences could stretch to 9 months or even for a lifetime. 

Back tomorrow 

‘EnyimbaEnyi 

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