Nigeria celebrated its 54th Independence Anniversary in Abuja yesterday with a golf kitty without the usual Ghanaian delegation from Achimota Golf Club that graced the occasion.

Interclub matchplay friendly between the two capital city clubs at IBB International Golf and Country Club Abuja is a routine during the national day of Nigeria.

But the sequence was first broken in March 2014, when Abuja did not visit Accra during Ghana’s 57th anniversary. The apparent reason for that was due to the massive upgrading of the Achimota Golf course to meet international standard.

IBB Golf Club Captain, Hon Tam Brisibe, who played the ceremonial four-balls with the Presidential Special Adviser on Power Bekinbo Dagogo-Jack, the of Managing Director of PWD, Ali Ibrahim and the DIG Police Operations Sotonye Wakama, yesterday morning, attributed the absence of the Ghanaians to logistics reasons beyond their control.

‘’Unfortunately the Ghanaians could not come to play the normal interclub match play with us. We did not go to Accra because they were repairing their course. We invited them but I understand they had some logistic challenges,’’ Brisibe said.

A field of 230 golfers graced yesterday’s 18-hole Independence Cup. Everybody enjoyed the game as undue delays were eliminated while a lot of entertainment was provided at the gala night where prizes were presented to discerning golfers.

In spite of the myriad of challenges confronting the country, some Nigerian political and business leaders used the independence Kitty to convey messages of hope and solidarity.

Brisibe tasked Nigerians to learn to live in unity and harmony which is a tenet imbibed by golfers through sports.
Former Governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia wove his anecdotes around the game of golf which he used to mirror the prevailing challenges the country is facing. He noted that the crises with Nigeria are those usually encountered by golfers during a normal round of golf.

‘’Like golf, the world we live in is full of ups and downs; you face obstacles on the course like bunkers, roughs and end up shooting bogies. It is the same challenges you face in normal life. As a country we should settle for a birdie or at best a par,’’ Omehia said.
The Vice Chairman of Construction Kaiser, Igbuan Okaisabor observed that a lot of the problems hampering Nigeria would be subdued if the diverse ethnic groups come together and forge a synergy.

‘’If we come together we will be a force to reckon with. Our diversity should be to our advantage. Asides, we are beginning to turn the corners through improved GDP per capital and a growing middle class,’’ Okaisabor said.