There is a peculiar salute that some NPFL teams give to their supporters during NPFL games. While one may suppose that this very salute is contrived, it remains unclear to me. I state contrived because of how many NPFL teams have appeared to use this visual greeting. However, the extent of their informed use of it is largely unknown. Nevertheless, its existence not in the action of just one team but in actions of several has to be a concern for those who supervise the local game. For avoidance of confusion, the salute is reminiscent of the abhorred Nazi-style salute for which Germany under Adolf Hitler became widely associated. It is a case where a hand is extended from the neck and trust straight up front and above the neck. This salute and the Nazi swastika have been banned in several countries. In places like Germany such a salute could attract a prison term. But it isn’t just Germany. It is a criminal offense in much of Europe including France, Austria, and in then as far away as in North America and specifically Canada. A recent such salute by a Greek player, Giorgos Katidis of AEK Athens, led to his life ban from the Greek national team (See Photo).
Germany using Nazi salute in the 1930s
Giorgos Katis uses the salute that attracts lifetime ban in Greece
In Nigeria, this salute or something akin to it, which is seen in NPFL stadia and photos, is a time bomb waiting to explode. Let the wise be warned. Public relations, not just locally but globally, is better done proactively than reactively. Thus, as the old folks say A Stitch in Time Saves Nine. In essence, the NPFL administrators must work to stave off this dangerous time bomb by educating both the clubs and players. There are other creative visual greetings, inoffensive ones that they can surely use to acknowledge their fans. There is no need for the Nazi-style salute as a visual demonstration of greetings to fans in Nigeria or any place else and wherever. It is particularly worse for any African team to be associated with this practice considering the Nazis and their racial classification, which was no friend to Africa and its peoples. To now adopt a salute of the Nazis, who adopted the infamous scientific racist theory of Arthur de Gobineau, is as disgraceful as it is embarrassing. Importantly, this very salute and some modification of it is now being orchestrated and propagated by racist groups and neo-Nazis worldwide.
Heartland FC players using Nazi-like salute in NPFL game
MFM players using Nazi-like salute in NPFL game
Of course, there are those who may think little of this. They may claim that these are young men simply enjoying life and they mean no harm. However, image is important and it goes a long way. If the young men do not understand fully the meaning of such symbols then the administrators do or at least should understand it. The international outrage that could develop from this visual image could be so rife that none of the administrators may survive its outcome. No Nazi symbol should be acceptable and certainly never in Africa. Enough stated for the wise.