Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, commonly known as Neymar Jr. or simply Neymar, is a Brazilian professional footballer. Though he was just recovering from injury, he came into the FIFA World Cup in Russia highly rated and tipped to dazzle as a million stars.

Pundits who rated Neymar so high were not wrong. The stats were also in support of such a high rating. Before even kicking a ball in Russia, the 26 year old was jointly (with Romario) the 3rd all time highest goal scorer behind only Pele and Ronaldo. The guy has scored 55 times for his country. That’s not an easy feat in a country like Brazil where there is a footballer in every damn room.

Then Russia.

I sincerely don’t think Neymar performed poorly at the mundial; but the reality is that when you talk about Neymar and Russia in one breathe, what people remember is a young man always rolling on the turf crying bitterly. BBC Sport said, despite Neymar’s “good performances coming up top in several statistics at the World Cup, there is still a sense that he remains widely unpopular among neutrals due to his petulance and the play-acting”.

Watching Neymar during the world cup, I keep wondering why he was doing all that. The guy was creating a picture in our mind, a rather pathetic one and he didn’t seem to care. Why did he want so desperately for us to remember him as an actor rather than as a footballer? Maybe that wasn’t his intention but in the end it was his action.

It is not that Neymar wasn’t getting some rough tackles. He was. But what was he expecting? For God sakes it is football not table tennis. He will hold the ball and want to dribble. Pass the ball and be free. No. Then when they touch him he screams as if they have killed him.

Well, as a Brazilian sport paper stated “Neymar has charmed Brazil and annoyed the world.” Indeed, Neymar annoyed the world. The best way to describe the guy to a non football fan like my wife now is to say “that one that like falling on the pitch, rolling and crying.”

As far as Russia 2018 is concerned, Neymar will be remembered more as an actor than the footballer that he is.

Like Neymar, like Fayose.

Governor Ayodele Fayose went into the gubernatorial elections in Ekiti State highly rated. He had vowed and boasted that his deputy must be elected governor; for many persons, the election was already a done deal. Many persons were just waiting for his deputy to be sworn in as governor.

Fayose has been a vociferous critic of the ruling party and has painted a picture of himself as a leader who is strong, fearless and loved by everyone in Ekiti State.

And when the time came Fayose, like Neymar, chose to become an actor. Like Neymar, I expected him to know that all eyes will be on him, he should have expected tough tackles and prepared for it, but no, Fayose chose to become Kanayo O. Kanayo. Sadly so.

The act of the police shooting tear gas is condemnable. It should never happen. But it was really shameful to see Governor Fayose fainting alone in a crowd of people who also inhaled the tear gas. It was shameful to see our governor wearing a philadelphia neck collar upside down or backward front. It was shameful to see our governor suspending a broken arm on a supposedly broken neck for brace. It was shameful to see him cry like a little child on TV. It was shameful to see our fearless leader become Aki and Pawpaw.

It’s sad that that is the picture Fayose burnt in our minds, to remember forever.

Like Neymar, Fayose was his own worst PR.

Sadly, Fayose’s drama was just a scene in the drama of shame that this country is fast becoming: a country that calls for national prayers to fight terrorists but deploys over 30, 000 policemen and soldiers for an election in just one state; a country where votes are sold and bought like mai-mai on the streets; a country where INEC counts 3+4 and arrives at 5.

Maybe we are looking for salvation in the wrong Messiah. The road to our golgotha is longer than we think.

Pick up your cross and as you trudge to golgotha, accept my calvary greetings.

Firsts Baba Isa (FBI) is a Legal Practitioner and writes from Abuja.

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