Weah: When The Will Makes The Way By Tinubu Segun Daniel
The world is not celebrating George Oppong Weah’s victory in the poll as he makes history to become a “commoner” to emerge as Liberia’s President-elect because he is George Weah. But the world is actually celebrating the will-power of the ex-footballer in stepping forward to test the political waters of his country filled then (in 2005 his first attempt) with political sharks and whales ready to devour the likes of Weah, the political greenhorns, the political neophytes and the inexperienced.
Weah wasn’t afraid of the political dragons of his country. He boldly stepped forward with his feet firmly on the ground ready to run the race even without a fat pocket or purse as compared with the likes of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who he contested first with in her first term.
Weah knew he has an attractive image having helped his country as a footballer. He won laurels and awards including the respected Ballon d’Or which placed his country on the world map. He used the little resources he saved while playing football to pay match allowances, bonuses and flight tickets of his compatriots.
He offered to serve for free as coach at some points despite the huge burden of also captaining the team. That was how he endeared himself to the masses, the ordinary and common Liberians who voted him to power.
Indeed, the people were willing to have him lead them. The people cared less about the region Weah comes from in the country. The people didn’t bother about Weah’s religion. The people were not interested if he was a political neophyte. They were not concerned about his inexperience to lead them. He was never a governor, senator, minister nor rep. The people didn’t mind if he was young.
The people didn’t care if he was a mere footballer. The people didn’t ask why he is not a banker, an engineer, a medical doctor or a lawyer. The people were simply satisfied that he was an agent of change. Weah in his first political rally said, “I bring myself forward to serve my people because my people need a true servant. A servant who will wipe their tears, pains and sorrows caused by bad leadership, greed and eventually avoidable war.
What football has earned me is enough to take care of my family but, it is not all about me or my family. But it is about the Liberian who has been rendered homeless and hopeless even as our dear country has become a reference point of and for ridicule. Poverty, deadly diseases and lack of self believe have ruined this nation. I step forward today to change all these because I am pained having seen, known and felt the pains of my people.”
Words of a leader who truly is an agent of change. He is ready to sacrifice his life hence the took on the conservative and establishment candidates. He knew it was risky because they knew he stood a big chance with the people behind him. He fought the powers-that-be. He had no godfather. He had no moneybag or bank behind him. But he had the people. He was told in his first attempt by selfish ECOWAS leaders that “the game of politics is not for sportsmen”. But he beat them to their game because the people wanted him to lead them.
The people were tired of the “old order”. The people were tired of old stories from old faces and mouths. The people were tired of empty promises. The people were tired of bad roads, no electricity, no pipeborne water, no jobs, no food, no shelter, no medical facilities, no education and no good leadership.
The people are tired of wars, killer ailments, child-trafficking, child-soldiers, baby-prostitutes and corruption. The people needed a messiah to take them out of their “Egypt” and likely to the promised land. They queued behind Weah with their voices and gave him their votes. They trusted that they voted wisely by voting for one of them. Yes, Weah is one of them having come from difficult background and upbringing.
Liberians have indeed spoken. They have followed the path of glory. They have shown Africa the path to go. They have told Africans that it is possible to flush out these ageing and bad leaders who keep recycling and repositioning themselves. Liberians have given Africa a new song and a new dawn. True change which Nigeria as “Giant of Africa” would have brought to the continent has arrived courtesy of Liberia. True change is leadership by the people, of the people and for the people, which is democracy.
The era of the “ruling class” seems over. The masses are the ruling class. Will Nigeria join in the race for a new order? From Canada to France down to Gambia and now Liberia, is anyone listening to the drums and beats of change?
It is not about Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw, Tiv, Kanuri, Efik, Igala, Ibibio, Idoma, Igbira, Jukun, Isoko, Urhobo, itshekiri or Fulani. It is not about being a Muslim, Christian, traditional worshipper or free-thinker. It is not about North, South, East or West. It is not about political parties.
It is not about affluence or wealth. And it is not about class.
It is about the people. It is about the nation. It is about the future. It is about prosperity. It is about humanity. It is about equity. It is about fairness. It is about sincerity. It is about justice. It is about equal and uniform development. And it is about sanity.
After Weah and Liberia, who’s and where next? Nigeria? Cameroun? South Africa? Equatorial Guinea? Only God knows but someone must be willing to step forward first but more importantly the people must be ready and willing to cry “Enough is Enough!!!”