It takes an unimaginable amount of courage and self-assurance to step onto the field for your country in a game which the stakes are sky high just four hours after learning your father has been kidnapped. But that is what John Mikel Obi had to endure on a day Nigeria faced Argentina for a place in the World Cup second round.
In hindsight, it probably would have been better if Mikel sat that game out – other than what is now the second kidnapping of his father, Mikel Obi had finished the previous group match against Iceland with an injured wrist leading to him playing against Argentina with a cast.
Instead, Mikel Obi chose duty to his nation as team captain over succumbing to the trauma of coming close to losing his old man to kidnappers yet again having gone through similar ordeal in 2011.
No matter what justified the act in the consciousness of the perpetrators, kidnapping Michael Obi and using him to reportedly get ₦10 million in ransom money is as heartless as one can get and perfectly sums how Nigeria has been held hostage at the expense of her own progress.
But it is apparent these people had only their interest at heart or they would not have called Mikel Obi hours before such a crucial match, or not even kidnapped his father in the first place.
However, seeing how badly governance has become in the country such that the security of Nigerians – which is one of government’s core duties – cannot be guaranteed, it is only to be expected that the ones trying to fly the country’s flag high instead get traumatised by fellow citizens, regardless of the consequences.
In the end, the Super Eagles may have come so close yet fall just short of reaching the World Cup last 16, Michael Obi may have come away from another traumatic experience still alive, and Mikel Obi may have captained the national team valiantly, but everything about this further brings up the rot in the country.
Until every Nigerian can feel responsible for the actions or inactions of themselves and every other person in the country, it is such self-destructive acts that would prevail and truly, Nigerians cannot continue this way.