Diary of a mad journo: A little matter of semantics

By Nduka Orjinmo
My favourite song in the English Premiership in when home fans they taunt an opposition coach with chants of “You are getting Sacked in the morning”.

I don’t know whether it is the joy of seeing a coach get sacked, or the time of the proposed sack or that the fans suggest it, but I love that song.

As an indifferent mass communication student, Semantics was never my one of my favourite subjects, a fact not helped by a pompous lecturer who always spoke more to impress than to convey meaning.

Looking back at the issue at Port Harcourt based Premier League side, Sharks, I had to ask myself, “What is the difference between Selling-out a match and match-fixing?”

I wish I had not hated my lecturer so much calling him now is impossible, this is one subject-matter he would swoon on.

He would dig into the etymology of both words, ramble about how different civilizations affected the meaning, and ultimately romanticize you with tales of its meaning in context and context in parsimony-whatever that means-

The match-fixing scandal rocking the Rivers state sports ministry and Sharks football club assumed a devilish turn as the ministry through its spokeswoman-a petite young lady-did a spin-around and blamed the media for making a circus show of recent happenings in the club.

According to the release-words that would have sank deeper and faster did it come watching her lips-“The Management of Sharks Football Club said it never at anytime stated that the affected members of the club were suspended on match fixing but rather the decision came as a result of non-performance, anti-club activities and non-commitment by the affected coaches and players of the team.”
She went on to write that”

The Permanent Secretary, Engr. Paulinus Nwakwoala, during a media briefing, said sponsors of the club, Rivers State Government had high hopes in the 2011/2012 season, and the technical crew of Sharks had given assurances of its commitment to ensure victory but was surprised about non-commitment and high level of indiscipline in the team.
First, the spokeswoman of the ministry is not the media officer of the club-calls himself a high chief, would be glad he is far away from this debris-and as such, is not responsible to respond for those so accused.

She would argue that since it was her boss the Permanent Secretary that briefed the press and goofed, it’s her duty to wipe the squirm.

Pity her, petite play thing.

It’s possible that there is no case of match-fixing; it’s possible that no money changed hands, it’s possible that the media-I hate those people-have made a show of this one.

Facts are sacred, and a picture worth more than a thousand words. I wonder the worth of a recorded voice, I have the Permanent Secretary on tape.

If this were the KGB, a head would be dangling on the gulag now for this embarrassment.

But in politics, such embarrassment is either rewarded with a sack in the case of an appointee, or redeployment to an obscure department n the case of a civil servant.

In more embarrassing cases, you are sent to set up a one-man department.

So what will it be for those at the Rivers state ministry of sports?

Interested in a little circus?

Ocean Boys did the simple business for us all when they announced that they would take no further part in the league.

They missed two matches and proved themselves eligible to be thrown out according to the NPL rule book.

But instead of implementing the law, the NPL have threatened, begged, pleaded and set up a three man committee to make sure Ocean Boys play their outstanding matches of the season.

The farce that is now the Ocean Boys issue took a more comical turn last two weeks, as Rising Stars waited and waited for their game against the Boys in Bayelsa but as we all know, the hosts never turned up for that game.

To the consternation of Rising Stars, instead of the centre referee awarding them all points at stake on walk-over, waited for word from the league organisers.

But do you blame the man? The hosts were supposed to pay his indemnities, but with their boycott of the game, his pockets lay with the NPL, he didn’t want a cancelled cheque.

But word did come, and it was an order for Rising stars to stay back in Bayelsa to play the game against Ocean Boys the following day.

Like zombies they all obeyed: the referees, Rising Stars and the three man committee set up to ensure that Ocean Boys honoured the home game.

But they hadn’t learned anything, had they? Only the intelligent fans stayed away and in the end, it was an encore of the previous day’s situation. All but the weather with a dull sunshine.

In the end, nobody knows what was made of that match. Was a walk-over performed? Will there be a replay?

Ocean Boys were begged, forced or maybe threatened to play against Sharks two Saturday’s ago and they indeed turned up.

But how does that change anything? They have already been walked over four times; they have already announced their withdrawal from the League and most of all they have already been relegated.

You can follow Nduka Orjinmo on twitter- @orjinmonduka
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