Former Green Eagles captain and Nigerian football legend, Segun Odegbami said yesterday at Abeokuta, capital of Ogun State, that the state is set for a new lease of life after 2019.
Odegbami, who was at the party’s headquarters to officially join the party and be publicly shown as its flagbearer for the 2019 Governorship election in the state revealed his plans for the people of the state. He said the present Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun is his friend and brother whom he worked for to ensure his reelection in 2015 and has no ill feelings towards him, as his ambition is primed at making a difference and improving on Amosun’s achievements.
Odegbami, joined by legendary Movie Director and Cinematographer, Tunde Kelani and a host of others also revealed that it will be a lonely road for him, as expected, as he tries to distance himself from the routine “financial brigandage” that has been existent among the bigwigs of the biggest parties in the state, but he remains steadfast to his ambition to steer the state’s ship to a greater direction if opportune.
“The ship finally set sail.
Now there is no turning back.
I had my baptism into partisan politics yesterday in Abeokuta. It almost did not happen because the police expressed some fear about a possible conflict with opposing groups leading to breakdown of law and order if my meeting with the State executives of the Labour Party turned was into a street procession of music, dance and a long walk through town, as the excited Labour party leadership had planned.
That was not what they told me was going to happen. I had thought it was for me to go to the secretariat with a few friends, be introduced to the officers from all the wards in the State, say a few words of appreciation and to go back home.
Well as it turned out, the police refused to allow a procession, the meeting was not a quiet and simple affair, and in the end, I was pre-warned to get out of town immediately after the meeting because no one could guarantee my safety and predict how the government would take my effrontery (sic) to challenge and go into a party different from the ruling one in the State.
The governor is my brother and friend. I campaigned and voted for him in my community during his own elections. I kept a great relationship with him throughout. But his tenure is coming to an end and a new leadership must be elected to run the State. Having played his part in developing the state in his own way, the choice of who takes over from him belongs to the people of the state. It is as simple as that.
So, I had no qualms throwing my hat into the ring.
My choice of party is because I cannot cope and will not be welcome into the whirl pool of the major parties. I would be consumed by the internal intrigues and unending crisis. I cannot also do what they do in those parties that I am very well aware of – the reckless financial brigandage and practices that do not fit into my spirit.
I will also have to sell my conscience and mortgage the values I espouse in my membership of the Afenifere Renewal Group and the ethos and ethics of the Omoluabi in Yoruba Culture to which I owe my allegiance.
The Labour Party represents the values I cherish and with the party I will not compromise who I am on the altar of practices that will diminish everything I stand for. I have walked as faithdully as I could on the path of honour, dignity and integrity in my life – it is a long and lonely road I must confess also.
That is the path I will also walk on this political journey.
Yesterday, although the massive crowd at the secretariat of the Labour Party that welcomed me into their fold could hardly hear anything I said above the din of the rowdiness of the venue, because of the unprecedented turn out of people for an ordinary meeting, I still went ahead to tell the listening walls and the clouds of dust at the venue that I had come to team up with the people, making the people the priority when we get into power, making sure they live well, that their children get good education, that even in retirement the elders and their welfare are taken care of, that the youths get the best education, training and opportunities in line with their passion, that health for all will be a priority and dying in the State would no longer be ‘cheap’ or easy; that the State shall become a giant construction site of systems and projects and institutions; that the entire State shall become a theatre of artistic, leisure and technological expressions by the youths pursuing their passion; that every citizen shall become involved in activities that will improve their lives and put food on every table; that the civil service that drives governance shall get maximum attention, and civil servants (and teachers in schools) shall become the superstars of a new society; that the State will resurrect and invoke the spirit of our ancestral family found in the common blood and bond with our kith and kin, brothers and sisters, in the diaspora enslaved for 600 years and now desirous to identify with their ancestral home, restore their relationahip with their kith and kin, and become the corner stone of new and genuine global investments scheme that will create new dignity and respect and equality for the Black person, driving a new Black economy that will make Ogun State the epicentre of a new Black cultural tourism as well as the best place to live, to work and to invest in the world within a few years into the future.
The ‘infection’ of the unique development in Ogun State will spread throughout the South West States and to other States and provide the ‘water’ that will quench the raging flames of poverty, hunger and disease that fuel all other disenchantments and crisis in Nigeria.
I could have gone on and on but the noise by the huge audience of celebrating my presence amongst them drowned my voice. But the walls heard. The air around heard. The elements heard my voice. For me the covenant was signed yesterday on Quarry Road in Abeokuta.
These is no turning back again.
I thanked them for welcoming me to the only political Party whose logo is the picture of family – of a father, a mother and their child. It fits into my soul and my spirit.
The police did their best to keep the surging crowds from hugging or harming me, no one could tell the difference.
Then the heavens opened up with the gentle showers of blessed rain to confirm that the universe had heard my voice and my message.
Ogun State will never be the same again after 2019.
The land of the Awolowos, the Ransome Kutis, the Adebos, the Lambos, the Majekodunmis, the Soyinkas, the Solankes, the Ogundes, the Odutolas, the Abiolas, the Obasanjos, the Shonekans, the Ajibolas, the Ewuosos, the Sofolahans, the Gbadebos, the Shyllons, the Lawsons, the Pearses, the Omowuras, the Amosun, the Lalokos, the Lipedes, the Ogunbanjos, the Tejuoshos, the Shodipos, the Oshuns, Soluades, Abudus, a long and endless list of names of families hewn on the substance and altar of honour, of great deeds, of integrity, of industry and scholarship and unique accomplishments: this land will soon rise from the debris of our tainted immediate past and present, take the right stand on fundamental issues and lead the emergence of a new culture, a way of life, new values, new leaders, a new State and country and a new civilisation.
As I left the venue yesterday, not so sure what to make of the event and the day, a feeling swept through me of gratitude to God for using ordinary me, a retired football player, a non-politician, little financial muscle, no godfathers, no political structures, just a dream, my love and passion for my people and my country, and my determination to heed The Voice and go on to confound the wise and the powerful.
The picture of David flashed through my mind to remind me that for all long as the good of the people, not of self, remains my goal, I have the support of the greatest power
In the universe.
So, no turning back now.
Yesterday was glorious!”
Segun Odegbami MON