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Is the BBC killing Nigerian Football?



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Take a honest account of the sad state of affairs in Nigerian football – corruption, lack of money, the lack of love from the locals, etc. Bring in a “journalist” working under a deadline to produce a catchy, quotable punchline to the story to make it instantly promotable. Add a healthy helping of the old “money + football = English Premier League = very, very evil” formula.

The result? A butchered report on Nigerian football, glossing over the real issues of corruption and mismanagement and littered with selective quotes designed to support the notion that the Premier League is killing Nigerian football by “just being so much better.”

Nothing about how Europe has exploited Africa for fun and profit for centuries, and how that practice has morphed into economic and cultural domination. Nothing about the lack of conviction shown by FIFA to address the problems of player trafficking. Nothing about the failure of international governments to help bring about meaningful reforms in Nigeria. Nothing about the failure of an economic system that floods a poor country with easy oil money without ensuring that the society can handle this influx responsibly and not disintegrate into a subculture of domestic slavery.

No. Premier League killing Nigerian Football. That sounds much better than saying “We’ve failed Nigeria,” doesn’t it? Certainly sells more.

In the same vein, could we not argue that the BBC is killing Nigerian football by failing to live up to its responsibility to deal with the real issues? This is beyond the fun and games that we play with football transfer rumours and misreported quotes. This is real life, and the fate of many nations, not just Nigeria, is at stake. But instead of informing, we’re still working on selling.