I call them the two musketeers, plus one. All three musketeers are male. Incidentally, they are all blacks. Two are English while one is New Zealand. All three are sport celebrities. The two English once played for the same club in the Premiership. One still does.
While two are footballers, the third is a Nigerian born New Zealand celebrities. Today they are not making the headlines because of their craft in their field but because of some obsession and an unfortunate incident. I really wish the two footballers were praying for different teams. This would have pacified the Red Devils especially after we gunned them at the Emirates.
Let me start with the one nicknamed, the last style bender. I am talking about 35years old Israel Adesanya .The Nigeria born New Zealand mixed martial artist and kick boxer. As a Nigerian, I love watching him fight and enjoy the Nigerian braggado in him when he emerges triumphant.
Sadly, I practically bleed when he loses just like it happened when Sean Strickland upset Israel in their UFC middleweight title fight. He lost in a unanimous decision Although I am not that freaky about boxing unlike football, his stage mannerisms has taints of the late Heavy weight legend, Mohammed Ali and that brutality of Mike Tyson, another heavy weight boxing legend. Till date, I haven’t found the courage to watch the fight unlike what I do when he is victorious.
Now before you mistake me for doing an oriki on Israel, sorry to disappoint you as I am really concern with Israel recent news headlines following his breath test failure in August, 2023.I am humbled by his plea of guilty for drunk driving in his home country. I hear he also regretted his actions for which he has apologised as he was quoted as saying,’’I am disappointed with my decision to drive. It was wrong. I know that people might follow me and I want them to know I do not think this behaviour is acceptable’’
The incident took place on august 19 when he was pulled over and found with 87 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in his system. The legal limit in New Zealand is 50 milligrams. What I find interesting is that he encountered a ‘’random breath testing unit in Auckland .Report says he will be back in court on Jan 10 for sentencing and could face up to $2680fine and/or three months in jail
The second musketeer is 30years old Jesse Lingard, the former Man United star who terrorised the Premiership while playing. His medals intimidates;UEFA Europa league,FA Cup,FA Cummunity Shield and EFL Cup. Like Adesanya, he also apologised as he admitted to drink driving in his £200k Lamborgini. Test measurements confirmed a reading of 100 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, more than twice over the permissible 35micrograms.He faced court on August 4, pleading guilty to the charges. His offence occurred on july8 2023.
Marcus Rashford who currently plies his trade with the Red Devils is the plus one. The 25years old collided with a 74years old woman’s car at midnight after he left the training ground after returning from the Burnley. Report says he was breathalysed at the scene but was given the green light to leave without any further action actions being taken.
It is just a coincidence that two players who were once pals in the same club were in the news;one for a bottle too many and the other for being involved in a road crash.For Isreal, what happened to him could have happened to any other sportsperson, including you. My concern is not just about their conducts or incident but the role of policing especially in our clime in addressing infractions irrespective of status. This I believe should provide a good template for those of us involved in Road Safety enforcement as my searchlight focuses on the obsession called drinking and driving and the right mitigation.
Sometime last years ago,I shared a sad story of a young man who cut his life short just before the end of year Christmas celebration. The young man, according to a tweet, took a bottle too many and dared to drive under the influence of alcohol. He was involved in avoidable road traffic crash and died. He was the only casualty.
The sad crash and death reminded me of some effort to address the incidence of drinking and driving globally. One of such efforts is an international conference on drink driving. I was privileged to be one of the over 300 participants and discussants at the conference to reduce harmful drinking. It was an initiative of the International Centre for Alcohol policies, held in Washington DC, in the United States of America.
The Global Action on Harmful Drinking is a collaboration of initiatives dedicated to help reduce the harmful use of alcohol. This initiative reflects the collective commitment made by major international alcohol producers to make a significant effort to address harmful drinking through a combination of global and local actions with an emphasis on low and middle income countries such as Nigeria where they are working in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Corps and other road safety NGOs. These leading producers of beer, wine and spirits took on a new commitment that built on their long standing effort to reduce harmful drinking. The were 10 targeted actions in five key areas such as checking under-age drinking, strengthening and expanding marketing codes of practice, providing consumer information and responsible product innovation as well as reducing drink-driving in addition to enlisting the support of retailers to reduce harmful drinking.
Globally, there are about 1.35 million road traffic deaths yearly and millions of injuries. Although an estimate of crashes caused by drink-driving vary from country to country, one point is clear, it is a leading contributor. I have chosen to discuss these initiatives in view of rising cases of drink driving as we move into the tick of increased motorisation and attendant road traffic crashes, deaths and injuries and the FRSC renewed deployment of breathalysers to check drink-driving.
My focus however will be on efforts in reducing under-aged-drinking and drink driving which is pronounced during festivities such as the Sallah,Easter,Christmas and other celebrations as well as weekend time out celebrants.