Jul 2, 2011

Joshua Talena Insults Nation

Joshua Talena is a new generation pastor whose church headquarters is located in Jos Plateau State Nigeria. He must be quite rich, judging from the frequency of the TV broadcast of his teachings weekly.

In one of his teachings televised on Plateau Radio and Television, PRTV, in Jos a few months back, he talked about vision and its significance.

Vision as we all know, is what an individual, group or organization intends to achieve within a specified period of time. As a result setting up a vision spurs one to work harder to ensure he achieves his goal within the given time. Thus teaching about vision is a bedrock module of prosperity preachers.

To me that edition of Talena’s message would have been total except for an instant where he imagined himself as a teacher holding a piece of chalk to teach Mathematics for the State Ministry of Education and prayed that such shouldn’t be his portion. One could see a sense of approval among members of the congregation. Since it is known that one can be a teacher and still be prosperous if in the end he lived a happy life, the message placed a finger on what prosperity is in the eyes of Talena. If prosperity is all about financial abundance, then Talena was right.

Even a moderately educated person however knows that prosperity is life that ends in happiness while on earth. In the Bible, the concept of eternal life is added to the meaning. What will it profit a man if he gains the world but loses his soul? Coming back to the secular horizon, if you have all the money in the world but spend a greater part of your life on a hospital bed in pain and without happiness as a result, you cannot be said to be prosperous. Also there are people who have all the money their enormous potential can bring but are without children. Such persons spend their lives wishing there were children to spend and inherit the financial wealth. Such childless families are far away from complete happiness. The absence of happiness could also be as a result of life on the run because the law has refused to recognize the source of your wealth. Hence prosperity cannot be total if the society fails to recognize it as such. People may give beautiful testimonies at your funeral. It would however be of no worth if the testimony is not coming from the bottom of their hearts. When loved ones eventually get relieved of the pain of losing you, society will begin to tell them the truth either by word or action. As long as your family is not happy as a result, you will also be sad up there because you worked to give them happiness but in the end you left them sad.

That teaching also amounted to disrespect and insult to the nation of Nigeria. Teachers work to give education to the children and build the nation. Since we cannot have a society without teachers, the comment amounts to undermining the effort of the government to provide education to the people. Undermining the effort of the government could also come from the impression such teachings create in the minds of young children as it teaches them that you are never prosperous as a teacher.

Perhaps Talena could suggest an alternative to education without teachers. Perhaps he never went to a school where he was thought by a teacher. If he did, then he is not only ungrateful to his teachers but has insulted them as well. As far as this issue is concerned, there is a strong line of correlation between Talena’s comment and the views of Boko Haram whose fundamental principle is kicking against western education.

Following incessant sectarian violence in the north of the country that have often been ignited by hate preachers, the state governments of some of those states came up with the idea of issuing licenses to preachers which can be withdrawn when it is perceived that the activity of a preacher can weaken the foundation of peace. The comments of Talena in that edition of his sermon worked to bring to the surface the fact that the snooping eyes of government should be on all persons with followers that can be influenced by his views, religious or secular.

Talena ought to apologize to the nation.

Aminci FC Bukuru

Feeder Team Extraordinaire
Aminci is a Hausa word that means resourcefulness. In the town of Bukuru in Jos-South of Plateau State, Nigeria, a local football team by the name of Aminci that started from extremely humble beginnings about a quarter of a century ago has grown to become resourceful in so many ways.

In the mid-eighties when Aminci was founded, football has not become big business as is the case today. The mass appeal of the game at the time was solely the result of the amazing beauty of the game that attracted all regardless of geographical location or culture. This love of the game is the motivating factor that got some people mostly the Hausa community in Bukuru to set up Rangama Football Club that evolved over the decades to become Aminci Football Club.

Initially, Aminci was founded as a team for the development of local talents. Eventually it grew to become a feeder team for the Nigeria domestic football leagues. One of Aminci’s coaches, Nasa Raphael, boasts that the club is Nigeria’s leading feeder club, supplying an average of fifteen players to different clubs across the country every year. These players eventually find their ways to different clubs across Europe.

Aminci also serves the need of players wishing to reinvent themselves after losing form and teams as a consequence. They come there, rediscover themselves and find new clubs.

In the morning hours when Aminci trains, there are avid football fans around the perimeter of the pitch. They come to watch high quality football for free but also to shake hands with Europe-based stars they had seen only on TV. There is hardly any Europe-based star with roots from Jos who does not come to Aminci during the off-season in Europe. They range from Isaac Promise, to Ezekiel Bala, Enyi, Ahmed Musa, Kelechi, etc. When the richest sportsman in Nigeria, John Mikel Obi is around, the crowd becomes tremendous as fans use their mobile phones to call friends to come and see the Chelsea superstar. On the day of getting this story, I was told that had Mikel not honored a wedding invitation, I would have seen him live for the first time.

The presence of European stars is a confidence booster for the local talents on whose reason Aminci was founded. To some extent, Europe ceases to be a mystery in their minds. Playing with stars of the European Champions League should be the ultimate.

The same stars that play at Stanford Bridge, the Emirates, Old Trafford come to the dusty pitch of Baptist Primary School, surrounded by shacks to keep fit and respect that which paved the way. The pitch slopes to the east at a gradient of about seven degrees with pools of water that often deceive players by suddenly holding a fast-moving ball. These raise the question of financing. The impression is that Aminci is a place of financial drought. It was in the beginning when Aminci was a mundane club but not now that the club feeds the Nigerian and eventually European professional leagues with players on one hand and the pockets of the coaches with cash on the other. As a matter of fact, Aminci has a Director and Proprietor who goes by the name of Ibrahim ‘Bros’ Ahmed, a pale-looking man who is nevertheless feared by support coaches and players alike for his ruthlessness at shattering dreams when crossed. In view of the big business that football is currently, Mallam Ahmed regularly travels around to get players to whom he becomes a manager. At the time of compiling this story, it was rumored that about seven players were staying in his house and training with Aminci, waiting to be sold.

Jos the capital city of Plateau State has been the epicenter of Nigeria’s most ferocious religious conflict. At Aminci’s home town of Bukuru, there are separate markets, residential areas and even schools for the two major religions, Islam and Christianity. Aminci Football Club however presents an exceptional photo, that of an unusually united Nigeria. According to Coach Raphael, 60% of the players are Christians with the rest as Muslims. Over 90% of the fans are Muslims. Each time, fighting breaks, out he says, there are Christian players living under the same roof with the proprietor, a Muslim who lives in an otherwise deadly Muslim neighborhood for a Christian. Three days after the bomb blast of 24th December in Jos, the players trained together. While the fighting in Jos is essentially between the Berom and Hausas, Aminci has Berom players from the Gyel District, a no-go area for a Hausa.

What is to be leant from the coaches, footballers and fans of Aminci is that, in different ways, football is so important to them that they can carefully work to ensure peace so that they can continue to enjoy their assorted dividends of the game.

If people in Plateau State can see their possessions, loved ones and friendship as being of utmost importance, then they could also thread carefully to ensure that peace becomes enduring in the state. Aminci football by this has laid bare the fact that its resourcefulness is boundless.





















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