Nigerian ex-international, Segun Odegbami has announced his interest in Ogun State governorship seat ahead of the 2019 elections. Last week Thursday, Odegbami, who hails from Wasimi near Abeokuta Ogun State formally announced his decision to run. Popularly called Mathematical Odegbami, the celebrated footballer told City People why he is interested in the No 1 seat in Ogun State. Odegbami in the good old days was one of Nigerias finest players and one of the best players to have donned the Green and White Nigerian Jersey. He is also considered Nigeria’s 2nd top scorer of all time. He currently owns and runs a Sports Academy in his town, Wasimi where young, talented kids are given the opportunity to learn sporting skills while they also get sound academic training.
Last week, Odegbami, who once contested for the presidency of the Nigerian Football Federation spoke to City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE about his political decision to run for governorship.
Below are excerpts.
Why are you running for governorship?
Because of the stories of actual people living in Ogun State that reflect the state of affairs-the great development of infrastructure in the state that must be complimented with special new attention to health, the welfare and wellbeing of the ordinary citizens: to channel the passion and energy of the youths to massive productivity; to engage the teeming army of young persons with better education, creative and innovative skills and standards of education and training that will make them employable and able to create jobs for themselves; pay adequate attention to long-suffering retirees and pensioners, unmotivated but hardworking civil servants, artisans, traders, farmers and the elderly impoverished by the acts of agencies that arc meant to serve them, and create space in the environment for the physically challenged to be useful citizens maximize their opportunities and contributions and to fill the present void in the middle class, the engine room of every society and economy, with the middle level manpower graduates from the institutions that are all over the state but producing poor quality graduates. To make teachers the superstars of society through training and incentives of the highest kind. The institutions are on ground but the system and the politics that drive them are a hindrance to their productivity.
What are your plans for the race and Ogun State?
I have a grand vision of an Ogun State that will be the best place to love to work and to invest in the whole of Nigeria deploying its rich history, human capacity and simple projects-driven templates that will ensure the involvement of the entire citizens of the State in the most exciting development project of their lives, touching every corner of the state equally, making the state the epicenter of a new global black civilization; and the choice destination for investment for the Diaspora Blocks seeking a home they can return to and be proud.
These are huge dreams with a very simple strategy of funding, engagement, implementation and celebration The state will become the biggest stage and a construction site for the development of black and African arts, film, music, dance, drama, theatre, culture, science and technology, sports, hospitality and leisure in the world. 1 shall change the narrative of domestic politics in Ogun State away from divisive political considerations and parochial issues, and putting at stake my entire reputation, my pedigree, my family name, my integrity, my conduct and character as a humble representative of the Omoluabi that has served his country diligently in every assignment he has been given through the decades. I shall promote meritocracy.
Which political party are you going to join?
What party? I cannot survive within the convoluted structures and practices of the major existing parties. They will make me to be subservient to narrow political interests or the interests of political godfathers that will be breathing down my neck. I will not incure any humongous loans to run for elections that I have to pay back with the people’s wealth. So my Campaign and Strategy is to reach out to the people, even the audience I will engage reflection of the people we want to be, as true Yoruba,with our engrained ethos, culture, traditions, ethics and values.
The people that choose to be a part of this movement will decide collectively what party to team up when the time comes. It will not be one that comes with any burden. I am a team player and a servant of the people. They know me very well from my childhood till now. They made me who I am. They would not support me if I have ever failed them.
They should know that as a sportsman and an artist I shall be in the trenches with them whilst designing and building this beautiful new society. I shall be in my shorts and shirt from day one, not making empty promises but practising on the field with the people. I will sleep only when they sleep. Will eat after the people have eaten. I will rest when we have all delivered a safe, health) and wealthy state. That is my covenant with the people of Ogun State. I belong to the Egbados, the Remos, the Ijebus, the Owus, the Egbas and to every clan and community in between.