By Isah Dahiru, EPLF Fellow
Wikipedia defines Table football, also known as foosball, as a tabletop game that is loosely based on association football. The game aims to move the ball into the opponent’s goal by manipulating rods that have figures attached. Although rules often vary by country and region when the game is played casually, at the competitive level table soccer is played according to a unified code.
There is a goal at each end and a place to serve on each side in the middle. Each player/team uses their handles to move their men to strike the ball into the opposing team’s goal. You always go to your right and defend at your left. The tables are very cleverly built to provide different kinds of rods with different spacing between the men. The game is fast and funny and everyone cheers and laughs. You can play for years and never get bored.
During my physics classes in the not-too-distant past, quantum physics has been defined as the study of the behavior of matter and energy at the molecular, atomic, nuclear, and even smaller microscopic levels. This study tries to discover the fundamental building blocks of matter.
Looking at Nigerian politics has a similar analogy to that of quantum physics and the mighty foosball. There are many players, and of course, there are those that are always been played. The player, the playmaker, and played actors’ relationship sometimes seem interesting. While the player is always to make it in form of the strike and hide concept, the playmaker continues to create a sound that could neutralize or possibly mask the action of the player. The played actor is almost always worthless.
Politics in Nigeria involves hypnotic languages and signs that only the key actors get to decode. Like in foosball, each player use figures to pass and shoot the ball into his opponent’s goal while blocking the ball from going into his own goal. You serve (foos) it, you pass it and you try to score. Always shoot to the right!
This is synonymous with politics in Nigeria, you try to win by getting more votes and support, and you also try to win by preventing your opponent from gaining votes and supporters. The process of winning also involves digging so madly deep to know the fundamental part of an established opponent and use that against him, this is like the principle of quantum physics.
Foosball is just like Nigerian politics has the following in its entirety:
1. Completion, which involves the two playmakers, the foos are the “played” terms. Foosball has its rules and regulations, just like our politics, there are international and local observers, some with the naked eye and others with aided eyes to aid in justifying the credibility of the game and otherwise.
2. Tables, this may mean draws, the hard table, and any other physical structure that do help in making the foosball interesting. Nigerian politics has tables, usually being flipped regularly by political actors.
3. Robotic players may mean testing players, foosball has this and so also Nigerian politics.
Let me say, foosball and quantum physics are very much terms used by politicians here, the played rubber sticks in foosball are the ones suffering almost all the time, while in the physical form of it, the players are the ones at the suffering end of Nigerian politics.
Written by Isah Dahiru