The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has congratulated the Super Eagles for winning the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 19 years, saying the victory shows what Nigeria can achieve when it allows talent, rather than mediocrity, to lead the way.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the Eagles' victory, coming just a little over a year after Stephen Keshi took charge of the team and started a rebuilding process, shows that transformation does not necessarily have to be an endless quest.
"The Super Eagles who failed to qualify for the last edition of the Nations Cup in 2012 rose to win the cup a year later. Keshi's transformation agenda has produced positive results, even when not everyone believes in him. This is how it should be," it said.
ACN noted that while Nigerians were not too happy at the players'
performance in the group stage, they quickly rallied around them the moment they stepped up their game in the knockout stage, an indication that Nigerians do not need endless prodding to support a winning team, whether in sports or politics.
"The Super Eagles, who were not among the pre-tournament favourites, won because the coach assembled his team based on talent rather than any extraneous considerations, and also because the team and its technical
crew believe that when there is determination and self-belief, no mountain can be high enough.
"If Nigeria will always field its best eleven in all human endeavours, be it sports, economy or politics, and also allows a visionary rather than a waffling dreamer to lead the team, the country will always be a world beater. That is the lesson from the Super Eagles' class of 2013," the party said.
Meanwhile, ACN has criticised President Goodluck Jonathan for opting to jet to London for the launch of Obasanjo Foundation instead of travelling to South Africa to witness the final match.
"Again, the President missed a chance to be seen to personally inspire his compatriots when it matters most. With millions around the world watching on television, there can be no better opportunity for a leader to showcase his nation and its talents. That explains why a world leader like President Barack Obama flew to London to watch the US basketball team play against Brazil at the 2012 London Olympics.
"The trip by President Jonathan to London for whatever reason, while Nigeria is playing in the final of Africa's top football competition for the first time in 13 years, and with the possibility of a first win in 19 years, reminds one of the folk tale of a man carrying an elephant on his head, but surprisingly opting to search for a cricket," it said.