Revealed: What Obasanjo told George Weah when he ran against Ellen Sirleaf – Odegbami
Former Nigeria international, Segun Odegbami has spoken on the election of George Weah as President of Liberia.
He also revealed the discussion former president Olusegun Obasanjo had with Weah and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf years ago.
“Weah’s election is of very serious implication for the world and Nigeria, in particular where sports is ranked very low – indeed, below 40 in our priority list.”
“George Weah played football and won everything conceivable,” Vanguard quoted him as saying.
“But as a man concerned about the poor condition of his people, he decided to assume the leadership of his country, and the people accorded him that recognition by giving him their mandate.
“He is a shining example of how sports has the power to change the world. Our young men and women, through their music, movies, arts and sports are redefining the global cultural landscape.
“America once dominated the world in all these areas but not now that our entertainment industry is developing a culture for the world to emulate.
“Let us lay emphasis on the arts because of the breakthrough our youths have attained in that area. Now more of our youths are interested in the arts and technology.
“Mandela once said, ‘the day Nigeria becomes liberated, the whole of Africa will be liberated’. It is time we brought that statement to reality.
“Weah’s election also shows that footballers or sportsmen and women cannot be taken for granted.
“Here in Nigeria, my attempt to become ordinary FIFA President was met with a lot of scepticism, as some even asked, ‘who is Odegbami to contest for FIFA presidency’?
“Even to become the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, ex-footballers are not considered good enough.
The former Nigeria captain expressed confidence in the President-elect, George Weah’s ability to steer the affairs of Liberia because of his personal feelings for the people and the level of investment he had put into developing himself.
Odegbami further recalled that after the last Presidential election which Weah contested against Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, “President Obasanjo invited both candidates to Nigeria. He told Weah to suspend his ambition of becoming president, albeit temporarily, so that he could go back to school.
“The Nigerian leader told him that if he (Weah) heeded his advice he would personally ensure he becomes the next President of Liberia. Weah indeed, listened to Obasanjo, took his advice and went back to America to read.
“We met in South Africa in 2010 and we talked about it. Today Weah holds a Masters Degree and is very prepared for leadership.
“He will succeed and I am sure he will get a lot of support from Nigeria.”