Uniting Nigeria through Football

future lagos logo

by Emeka Okocha

Also read: Design, Cities and the World Cup & What is the legacy of the FIFA World Cup?: A CityTalk Review



With the World Cup gone and the Commonwealth Games in full swing, I thought it fitting to write an article about the Amalgamation Campaign.

Nigeria is thriving in Glasgow, so far we have achieved six gold, five silver, and 8 bronze medals. Bring on Rio 2016! At the World Cup we started slow but picked up and finished strong. Though we did not get as far as we had hoped.

Despite having inadequate sports facilities and limited investments, Nigeria is a strong sports nation and although we have over 510 spoken languages when it comes to the World Cup we all speak football. Our love for our team and country is at a high during this month of football madness. We Are One! There is no talk of tribes or class. Its all about, who we are playing, who scored, and did we win?

Football has this power – the power to bring people together, to build national pride and to create an atmosphere of hope and belonging. These attributes though lacking at other times, are important for a country with so many divides (e.g. cultural, ethnic, and religious). Hence, here I am with the Amalgamation Campaign. Though a drop in the ocean, we can take this legacy of nation building during large sports events to create smaller but longer projects.

The Amalgamation Jersey Project was designed to spark conversations, connect Nigerians, and promote ideas. The Design stems from the historical amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates to form Nigeria. The Y Shape in the middle symbolizes the confluence of Rivers Niger and Benue.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 12.32.38 PM

Our project goals:

  • Leverage the 2014 World Cup excitement, as a platform to launch a viral online campaign, using the Jersey to promote the message of Peace, Unity, Love, and One Nigeria.
  • Produce and distribute at least 5,000 Jerseys throughout the cause of the campaign.
  • Inspire Social Innovation, using 2 primary causes:

–  Supply 40 Prosthetic Limbs                                                                                                 –  Build 20 Self Sufficient ‘Green’ Toilets in chosen schools in Rural Areas.

We are collaborating with a team of Indian Doctors to set up a 2Day Mobile clinic to size, produce, and fit limbs. There is already an existing ‘waiting list’ of people who need these limbs. We have teamed up with the Tolaram Foundation, and a contractor to build the self- sufficient toilets. We have designed, trademarked, and produced quality samples of the Jersey. A percentage of all jersey sales will go to our charitable goals.

So far there has been an amazing response from people & companies wanting to get involved in the cause. We plan to continue leveraging sports to make an impact on social issues.

Follow the Journey: http://www.amalgamationjersey.com/

#OneNigeria #OneJersey #OneLove


Emeka Okocha is the CTO of Innovation Factory NG, a creative marketing company, based in Lagos, Nigeria. He is an avid follower of technology, fashion, film, & sports. He is often the guy who is most silent in the room, mapping out campaign directions. Emeka lives online ‘rent free’ and has a strong understanding of maximizing the potential of the internet. Emeka is an advocate for fitness and a healthy lifestyle.  When he’s not working, he can be found playing sports.

About FutureLagos

Olamide Udoma is a researcher, writer and filmmaker holding degrees in BSc Architecture, MA Design and MPhil Infrastructure Management. Olamide has worked in London, South Africa and Nigeria with various organisations focusing on transport management, slum upgrading and housing rights in urbanising African cities. At Our Future Cities NPO, she is the Lagos manager and editor.