Football is a game that brings people of different ethnicity together to share a moment  of mixed feelings which could either be happiness or sadness, in every game of football played the truth remains that some will retire happily while some will retire unhappy because there will be winners and losers. Analyst and many sports commentators will argue that football is a king of sports and from all indications it seems to be true due to the wide coverage of it in the world at large.

Football is among one of the most lucrative sports played around the globe both the players, coaches, technical advisers, board of directors even the fans benefit from it in one way or the other, it equally adds weight to the economy of any nation that have talented and experienced players especially when they participate and win competitions both nationally continentally or globally.

The game of football is one of the unique event and sports that brings the continents and nations of the world together, through nations cup that is being played in different continents of the world and the biggest football event which is the world cup, that brings together and the attention of the entire world especially the participating nations. 

Many nations and countries clamour to host any football event be it their nation’s cup or the world cup due to its economic value and other social benefits attached to it. 

Apart from being a football lover and a fan who can sacrifice time and money for the sake of football, I am  equally a player who performs handsomely in goalkeeping, when I was in primary school and  college I frequently participate almost in all the games being played even when I am unwilling to do so but because my team will like to have  me on the goal post knowing what I am capable of doing; The same is the case with our community annual football competition which takes place in the month of December.

Despite the zeal and passion I have for football, yet I made up my mind never to watch football game anymore until Biafra is being restored. In the year 2015 I had an encounter in a newspaper vendor's shop otherwise known as newspaper stand that pushed me to take the decision which may not hold water in the sight of many when I am done telling my story.

The scripture advised that whatever it is that will prevent you from inheriting the kingdom of God you should remove it, it goes further to say if it is your right hand that will be the cause or one of your eye, that you should kindly remove it because it will be better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye leg or hand than going to hell with your complete body. This is to educate you that there is something you must remove from meat before consumption of it and nothing good comes easy on earth.

One evening around 5:00pm before the official commencement of English premier league EPL in 2015, I went to our usual newspaper stand in Texaco filling station at Abakpa Nike Enugu East LGA Enugu state Biafra land to check the front pages of the newspapers as well as get information about the news making round the air locally nationally and globally. As usual many colleagues were gathered in different corners discussing issues regarding the struggle for Biafra restoration under the leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu of the indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB), how the Nigeria government were making efforts to stop IPOB and shutdown radio Biafra from transmission and the take of the international organizations and world at large on the matter.

After I checked what the newspapers were saying I positioned myself in one corner as to join the conversation which is very interesting to me personally, as I listened keenly before I make my little contribution; I heard a gullible young man whom I suspected  must be an ardent one Nigeria campaigner or perhaps a mad lover and a football fan who raised an alarm that soon the English premier league will commence so that the discussion on the issue of Biafra will end and the stories from EPL takes over. I need not be told how passionately he hate Biafra or to hear about Biafra.

I pretended as though I did not hear him clearly but my mind explained to me the deeper meaning on what he said and tears wanted to drop from my eyes but I held it as a strong man I am, then I began to question myself does it mean EPL is more important to Biafra? Does it mean the lives of our people murdered in cold blood in the struggle for Biafra restoration does not matter? Does it mean the sufferings mayhem and marginalization unleashed on our entire people means nothing that when EPL starts the issue of Biafra will stop according to him? 

From that day hence after the mental rumble I went through, I had no option than to vow never to watch football game till Biafra is restored. Then I was a member of IPOB and a student of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in the university of Radio Biafra London and I  never knew him in person apart from his broadcast  and write ups I run after like America visa lottery,  I believed the struggle must cost me something and if this is one of the things it will cost me then I am ready to lay it down and since that day till date I never go to sit down for a purpose of watching football and if you see me in front of a television set displaying football match then know that I am after something tangible which as soon as I am done irrespective of the team or country playing I will retire, since then I stopped following football because I was challenged personally.

After some years when Mazi Nnamdi Kanu returned to Biafra land I was covering an event of his visitation to Ebonyi state as a Biafra journalist particularly in the house of Israeli synagogue at Izhia Ohaukwu LGA Ebonyi state and after the performance of the live band that kept the arena lively he said that if not that he vowed never to dance until Biafra is restored, he would have danced today. I thought of this and asked myself how can someone take a decision never to dance until he get what he is struggling for? Then I remembered my own vow and I was reassured that indeed there is something you must remove from meat before consumption of it.

As someone who need a change from the mayhem, marginalization and all manner of inhuman treatment meted on Biafra people by the Nigeria government, what have you done or intend to do to change the situation? Have you said yes or no to something though it may be contrary to your hobby or favourite for the sake of Biafra restoration? Many of our brethren and comrades are passing through a lot of things on daily bases due to what they believe in but I do not know for you. Action speaks louder than voice and there is no better time to do something tangible for Biafra to be restored than now.

Written by:
Ogeh Friday Igiri
For: Ebonyi State Media

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