Dateline: 23/06/2019. 11:30pm Cairo, 10:30pm Lagos.
So it is time to pen a few thoughts from today’s experiences. I received no feedback on the website but received a few on WhatsApp. Importantly, Nancy told me to try to reduce the length of the diary entries as many people get bored reading long write-ups.
All my life, I have always expressed myself as much as I can. My principle is that it is better to say ‘too much’ and be considered ‘avoidably’ expansive than to say or write too little and be misunderstood or be as much as remotely considered ambiguous. However, I’ll take Nancy’s advice on this one.
It is not what you are thinking
So who is Nancy? Well, that’s the second female friend I have here, after Claire. She’s a Nigerian but one with a difference. Intelligent and self-assured, can be imposing and pretty witty. I honestly never thought we could get along. She teases me by responding that Nigerian men love dumb women. Lol. Nancy studied in Nigeria up till Secondary school but certainly had college or postgraduate training in the West. She talks really little, and I guess we are both surprised as to how much we discussed all day. Oh, don’t think too far anyway… We are quite similar in character, or temperament if you prefer – and so there are little chances, if any, of what some of you may be thinking… Smiles.
Indeed, as someone from one of the South Eastern Nigerian States, I think she should be considered for political office by the opinion leaders of her local community. She is that brilliant. So what got us talking sef? Nigeria. Remember I wrote yesterday about the gulf between Nigeria and Egypt? Well, a discussion broke out in the vehicle and there was this quiet female Nigerian that commented with a similar but slightly different opinion. That got us talking o. Phew! I haven’t met many Nigerian females of her age that are as smart. Like I wrote earlier, please do not let your thoughts go too far. If I had intentions, I wouldn’t write about her this obviously before ‘shooting my shot’. Lol. I’m certain she could get to read this, one way or the other. Irrespective, I think Nancy would be a super Nigerian leader if given the opportunity, especially at State level for a start. She isn’t a football buff and has a pretty wide horizon on many matters.
Female friend number 2
So how about Claire, female friend number 1? She’ll be completing her doctorate degree programme at the University of Ibadan in a few months, after which she would return to Equatorial Guinea, her home country, from where she won a scholarship to have PhD studies in Nigeria. She studied English for her first year in Ibadan before she began her doctorate degree. Today, she speaks English almost fluently.
So why have I written about these two females tonight? What is special about them? Some of you know that I am continually attracted to intelligent young people, whether male or female. I believe that Nigeria and Black Africa currently lacks the needed critical mass of young people, despite the huge youthful population available in these countries, who have education, exposure, mental awareness, expertise patriotism and sincerity of purpose. These people, if available in the right quantum, would only be needing experience, mentorship and/or guidance in leadership in order to work with synergy to turn the tide of socio-economic stagnation and lead the country and the Black race on the road to peace, prosperity and progress.
People like Claire and Nancy represent some of these needed numbers. I am proud of my association with them. A country that wants to develop must have these people – in both genders – cultured in the right numbers. Egypt’s official language is Arabic – and there are certainly many local dialects, and even adaptations of Arabic – as I found out that Tunisian Arabic was a little different from Egypt’s Arabic – and so on. Irrespective, I have learnt my first Arabic words from my Tunisian, Moroccan and Chad friends who all speak French and some Arabic: شكرا جزيلا or “Shukraan jazilaan” which means “Thank you” in English. I dunno how much I’ll pick in these few weeks, but I’ll certainly make it a priority to learn to speak at least one more official language within the next 100 weeks of my life. My friends here from the countries listed above can all speak more than one official language. It feels so benumbing to find out that I am stuck with only English in the international space when other people around me – many of whom are indeed younger than I am – and are also Engineers or similar professionals from their countries can speak English, French and/or Arabic!
You’ll discover that many of these young people from other countries (in Africa) have acquired a lot of experience travelling around the world too. I am at a loss as to how we abandoned French education in Nigeria. Egypt’s second official language is English. Morocco’s first is Arabic, then French, then English. Yassim, my friend here from Morocco can speak all three! Hartem can too. My Physiotherapist who handles rehab, Hamza, is also a polyglot. I discovered that learning new languages help to learn and appreciate new cultures, aside helping to build bridges and leverage in the international community and global village. I read many years ago that this was one of what counted against former President Olusegun Obasanjo, then Retired General Olusegun Obasanjo, when he contested to be Secretary General of the UN in the late 70s/early 80s. I’ll certainly study French within the next 18 months. I encourage many Nigerians to also do. The world is a global village – and no country or people are islands of themselves.
956 words already. I am failing Nancy’s advice. Gotta run now. By the way, I saw doping control measures in football today. I knew the theory from my Football and Sports Medicine studies but it was fabulous to see and participate in it today during the match between Namibia and Morocco at the Al Salem Stadium in Cairo, one of the three AFCON host stadia in the capital city of Egypt. The other host cities are Suez, Ismalia and Alexandria (where the Super Eagles actually are). It is my hope that we can possibly domesticate these in Nigerian football someday in the future.
Got to go now. Tomorrow is another day – and my schedules are quite long and windy – from double rehab sessions with tens and heavy equipment before getting involved in doping control activities! My knee still hurts by the way but it is getting better weekly. I’ll attach a few pictures from today’s activities.
Babatunde ‘Dr Tee’ AKINBINU.
11:20PM (Nigeria), 12:20AM (Egypt)