Distinguished members of the Badminton family, top of the day to you.
Let me start by congratulating Justice Danlami Senchi on his election as President of the Badminton Confederation of Africa (BCA). By virtue of his new position, he has become Nigeria’s No 1 Badminton Ambassador and the least we can do is to wish him a successful tenure.
I also congratulate Mr. Abel Ocholi and Mr. Bolaji Agarawu on their election as the Players Representative and Technical Representative respectively on the BFN board. I also want to congratulate all those who, on Friday, participated in the election process to fill up the above two positions on the board – their victory is everyone’s victory and, most importantly, it is a great victory for Badminton in Nigeria.
Now to the main crux of my message.It is a well known fact that the election season is well and truly upon us and, as we all know very well, elections are usually an impassioned affair, with diverse interests rightly vying for the upper hand. It is not, therefore, amiss that, every now and then, passions get inflamed and interests clash. However, so long as the sole goal of everyone is anchored on selfless service and the growth of Badminton in our country, there would be no cause for acrimony and bad blood before, during and after the elections.
A little more straight to the point. As we approach the elections of June 13, 2017, I hereby use this forum to appeal to all stakeholders of the game of Badminton in Nigeria that we all step back, reflect on where we are all coming from and where we all want to be when it comes to the game of Badminton in Nigeria.
I am sure that majority of us will agree that Badminton in Nigeria today is not where it ought to be as we have not been able to attain our full potential in the game generally. In my reflection and assessment of the real issues that have bedevilled the game over the years, the issue of elections appear to be the perpetual culprit.
Over the years, virtually all election cycles in the game have been intertwined very divisive and acrimonious campaigns which, more often than not, always left the Badminton family bitterly divided along agenda and interest lines. Over the years, this has made it difficult for the Badminton family to recover and come together as one family after every election, a situation where we always ended up with victors and the vanquished are never able to reintegrate and become an active part of the family after the elections.
Here is my message: I am appealing to the rank and file of the Badminton family that we put the acrimony, disagreements and disharmony of the immediate and historical past behind us. Let us put the strife and acrimony behind us. Let us hit the reset button and start afresh on a clean slate.
Let us eschew bitterness and personality attacks in our campaigns focusing instead, solely, on the real issues (policies and programs). It is just stating the obvious that campaigns and elections laced with venom, bitterness, hatred and acrimony will only lead to enmity and divisions once the process of elections are over.
While I am quite aware that not everyone will necessarily support my aspiration and/or vote for me in the coming elections, as in any other election where there are multiple candidates, I plead nevertheless that we treat one another with utmost respect because we are all members of the same family, with eyes on the same goal. In this way, it will not be the case that enmity between contestants on the one hand and supporters of various contestants, on the other hand, become enemies of one another.
I humbly plead that all members proceed to freely project and sell candidates of their choice to the electorate without attacking other candidates or dwelling on negativity. As mentioned earlier, let us keep this clean for the sake of the game we all love so much.
Traversing the nooks and crannies of our dear country, Nigeria, in the course of my campaigns, I have come across some of the friendliest and most wonderful people in the badminton family.
Imagine the abundant opportunities we have available to us to lift the game in Nigeria beyond our wildest comprehension if only we can all come together as one, join hands and, in unison, commit to making positive contributions towards the growth and development of the game in Nigeria. Indeed, the vistas of opportunities that abound are limitless.
I am campaigning to be the President of a united Badminton family and not a divided house and, to this extent, I request that we all leave behind those things that have divided us over the years and focus on the more glorious future ahead of us – the positive things that will foster unity among us.
Irrespective of whether you support my aspiration or not if, by the grace of God, I become the next President of BFN, I am determined to be the President of Badminton in Nigeria and not President of my supporters or those who voted for me alone. There is so much work to be done that we need all hands on deck, as we just cannot afford to leave anyone out. We must from now begin to lay the foundation for a strong and united Badminton family by watching the things we say and do to others in the course of this campaign. Let’s keep it civil and matured so that whoever wins at the end of the day, we will all be able to gather and congratulate one another, tap each other on the back, roll up our sleeves and face the enormous task of reinventing the game of our dreams in Nigeria.
As I close this piece, let me remind us of the words on marble uttered by Priscilla Shirer “Unity does not mean sameness. It means oneness of purpose”. Therein lies my charge to this great Badminton family. The journey starts today and the slogan is #BadmintonCampaignsWithoutBitterness.
God bless the noble game of Badminton and its people! God bless Nigeria!
CREDIT: Francis Orbih Esq.