Nigeria's national female football team, Super Falcons are on a wasteful trip to Vienna, Austria to train for a self-serving tournament to honour the African country's first lady, Aisha Buhari.
Already the trip is not short of drama as a visibly angry Nigerian man could be heard in a viral video querying the footballers for representing Nigeria during the government of Muhammadu Buhari, whose regime has been marred by human rights abuses, nepotism, sectarianism, killings, poor economy, and worsened unemployment rate and poverty.
This happened on a bus after their training in the European country.
Indeed, the contingent of the nine-time African champions - Nigeria - are in Vienna, the Austrian capital, for reasons that are less than noble.
The team is in Austria for an 8-day training camp as part of preparations for some upcoming games, most notably the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament.
A source in the government told SaharaReporters that "a lot of money is being spent on the tournament organised by the Nigerian Football Association, and this runs into lots of millions."
"It is a wasteful tournament to boost the ego of the first lady who never stands up for the real issues affecting the girl child in Nigeria. So what purpose is this supposed to serve?" the source asked.
Lagos is scheduled to host the six-nation invitational tournament that will see the Super Falcons, Ghana’s Black Queens, Cameroon’s Indomitable Lionesses, Banyana Banyana of South Africa, Morocco, and Mali compete in September for a trophy named in honour of Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari.
Twenty-six Nigerian players, alongside technical and administrative staff, are staying at the Event Hotel Pyramide, Vienna for camping.
Director of organisation of the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament, Aisha Falode recently revealed that the committee was determined and prepared to deliver an event befitting the person of Aisha Buhari, which comes at a time when the per capita income of the average Nigerian and other indices of measuring an area's prosperity have nose-dived.
However, currently, Buhari Government is characterised by a high unemployment rate of 33.3% (Q4 2020), a high inflation rate of 18.17% (March 2021), and a prime lending rate of 11.24% in April, worse than previous governments. These placed the misery score at 62.2 index point, according to data from Nairametrics.
Africa’s powerhouses in women's football, namely Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, Mali, and Morocco have confirmed their participation in the maiden invitational football festival said to be aimed at uplifting the cause of the girl-child in the continent.
But hundreds of schoolgirls have been kidnapped in Northern Nigeria by bandits and insurgents with the first lady mostly withdrawing into sullen silence.
Meanwhile, according to organisers, the event will address issues affecting women in developing countries with direct reference to the place of the girl-child in society.
The six-nation football tournament is billed to hold in Lagos from September 14 to 20, 2021, when some kidnapped schoolgirls are still likely to be in the den of bandits and insurgents.
Organisers of the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament have also confirmed that FIFA President, Gianni Infantino; CAF President, Dr. Patrice Motsepe; FIFA General-Secretary, Fatma Samoura, and other world football dignitaries will be in Lagos for the tournament.
But the same government cannot provide decent schools for schoolchildren.
For instance, just in June 2021, Nigeria's Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said the country has the highest number of Out-of-School Children in sub-Sahara Africa.
Mr Nwajiuba announced that Nigeria had an estimated 10,193,918 children out of school, many of whom are girls.
He noted that “the current challenges affecting the Nigerian education system has left much to be desired, the system is characterised by high illiteracy level, infrastructural decay, and deficits.”
But according to Falode, "The football top shots' acceptance to be part of the Aisha Buhari Cup as confirmed by the NFF President is a mark of respect for Nigeria’s indefatigable First Lady, Aisha Buhari." "They want to use the occasion to honour her as well as recognise her various activities and contributions in and outside Nigeria over the girl-child advocacy and empowerment programmes.
“Remember that the football event will host the best women football playing countries in Africa and the presence on such august occasion of the movers and shakers of football in Africa and world will just be right and deserving for the name of the First Lady, Aisha Buhari," Falode was also quoted as saying.