On the whole, a large majority of Nigerians are football freaks. They are especially fanatical devotees of the English premier league. Football inspires widespread devotion. And despite being riven by ethnicity, region, religion and sect Nigerians are united when the Super Eagles, the national team, plays during football fiestas like the African Cup of Nations or the World Cup tournament.. Tribe and tongue take a back seat whenever you have a football tournament.
Nigerians remain united on such occasions, demonstrating unity, love and patriotism.
It is comforting to observe that the new leadership under President Muhammadu Buhari appears set to turn things around since it frowns on abuses of public office. The anti-graft agencies, namely the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau, which have behaved like toothless bulldogs, seem to have gotten their mojo back since Muhammadu Buhari assumed power.
It is little wonder that Buhari has said that the battle against corruption is battle for the soul of Nigeria. If care is not taken, the nation may well disappear in a miasma of corruption. But it is heartwarming to hear the president speak with passion on Nigeria’s looted funds. Recently he said on national television that “The search will not only cover the UK, USA, Switzerland, Germany and other known havens for Nigeria’s looted funds but will cover everywhere under the sun. Anywhere and everywhere that the looted funds are we have an assurance from the USA to assist us to repatriate these funds from everywhere under the sun”. As the adage says, there is every day for the thief and one day for the owner.
Nigeria celebrated its centenary in January 2014, marking the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates, administered separately by the British, to form a single unified country. The nation also marked 55 years of independence on October 2015. At fifty-five a nation is expected to have come of age and gotten its act together. If it were a human being it would certainly have had its affairs in order.
Instead it is like a person suffering from stunted growth and arrested development. Like the Prodigal Son, it has squandered its enormous riches. But there is light at the end of the tunnel; corruption which has kept the nation down for several decades now seems to have met its match in a determined and resolute President Buhari. If he can curb the appetites of the ruling class, he may yet restore hope to a beleaguered people.
Nigeria is exceptional in the sense that it has been tempered by war, forged in the crucible of bloody military coups, scarred by sectarian violence, bruised by the aftermath of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, and now moulded by democracy. Democracy provides a hope of choice for progress and prosperity. Despite the fact that several opportunities for turning things around have eluded the nation, democracy is a shadow of good things to come.
Kola King is a Nigerian journalist and writer. He has about thirty years experience under his belt as a reporter, correspondent and editor having worked in some national dailies. He later founded a news magazine, Newscomm, which is temporarily rested. He has turned his hands to creative writing and has written three novels of which one has been accepted for publication.
 Pini, Jason, ‘State Police and Scare Mongers (2) – Vanguard News‘; Vanguard News, 3 Sept. 2012
 ‘City Pages International‘; When a Statesman Rejects State Award, 2013
 Opeseitan, Tunde, ‘Nigeria: Lagos Assembly Rewards Airport Cleaner Who Returned N12 Million‘; AllAfrica.com. 19 May 2015
 Usuah, Imeh, ‘At Last, Honour for a Hero‘; ThisDayLive. 29 Sept. 2014