Another Angle: As Nigeria Challenges Corruption By Gbolahan Yusuf
“One! Two! Three! Four!” Not until the count of four did the heavyweight champion, with codename: Corruption, stagger to his feet with every ounce of energy he could muster. The on looking crowd watched with as much surprise as glee, as the champion was battered as has never been seen in recent history. His opponent, codename: Nigeria, had asked for this rematch after a change of coach that has seen him now fighting without fear or favour. This is only the first round in what is a four-round bout, and as CORRUPTION got to his feet with a bruised face, the words of the new coach of his opponent rang through the arena where over 15 million fans are present; “Nigeria either kills you, or you’ll kill him”, they sang to the belt-holder. It was a fight with no limits.
In fairness, as at press time, the fight was still fairly even. NIGERIA had been throwing a barrage of jabs that were being easily dodged or absorbed by CORRUPTION, clearly the champion had not seen reason to go on the offensive and would rather go in on the defensive.
Pundits had said he was playing a smart card trying to wear his opponent out with judicial tactics before he went for the kill. Others had said such a move would be counter-productive as the challenger was not slowing down.
That last hook however was very fast and direct and must have carried some weight to it to make the champion fall to the ground, it was the kind of blow locals refer to as a “Dasuki”, but having now risen before the customary count to ten, it is expected that he will have to engage more seeing as there will be more of those hooks where they came from and he doesn’t look like he can sustain more of them.
As the champion stood still, stunned from his opponent’s newfound vigour, his few supporters in the arena are in full wailing mood. Some supporters are seen raising placards to the judges that say his challenger’s punches were selective in targeting only his face and ignoring his other body parts. In a swift response however, the coach of NIGERIA makes a fist-to-face gesture to his fighter. The message was obvious; stay on the face. The wailing fans were losing their voice gradually, to them, that “Dasuki” was an ominous sign.
With CORRUPTION struggling to see clearly through his battered and bruised face, his corner asks for a break, the deafening crowd however urged the challenger , who was pouncing around the ring with predatory poise, to take the opportunity and go for the kill with shouts of “NOW!NOW! NOW!” filling the air. Their anxiety was normal but his new coach, a retired legendary fighter himself, urged restraint and respect for the rules of the game. The crowd grudgingly accept, but still confidently sing on.
The heavyweight champion is cleaned up at his corner amidst much talk with his team. In a shocking admission, one of his team members who chose to remain anonymous had revealed that a major sponsor of theirs had been installing the coaches of their challenger who did their bidding by jeopardizing his abilities and so rendering their previous bouts lacking of freedom, fairness and credibility. He said maybe they had failed in not anticipating a tighter bout with the opponent’s new coach who was a fans favourite installed by fans themselves.
Back in the ring however, CORRUPTION gets cleaned up, and also gets some pep talk, and gets back to his feet, bouncing and punching the air with a much sterner look than earlier. His supporting wailers regain their voice with the sight of the champion looking ready to finally let loose.
In the other corner, the challenger takes a few gulps of water. As he looks to the crowd again, as if to say “I got this”, one could not but notice the wide grin on his face, he looks like he came prepared.
As the bell goes, the champion throws the first hook, but before we could see if he landed it, power at the arena goes off, much to the chagrin of the supporters. They were further enraged when it was announced that fuel was in short supply to power electricity generators, and so they would have to wait for public power to come back on. So many boos fill the crowd, with both ring corners been pelted with water sachets and plastic bottles.
As we await, the aged cynical supporter of the title challenger beside me shakes his head in disbelief before saying to me, “I knew it, every time this fight had been going so well, something came up to derail it, Every time” Just as he said it, power sprang back to life and the roof almost got blown over with excitement. I looked at the aged man and whispered in his ear, “Maybe not this time”.