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Odegbami: Use Football To Change The World!

Odegbami: Use Football To Change The World!

During the week I watched all the matches of the Champions league in Europe. I mean, if you look around at the mess you have made of the world in virtually all fields, you must give yourselves a pat on the back for succeeding in football.

Permit me a little introduction since you can already observe I am writing in a rather unusual manner.

Actually, I am not human like you, yet you and I are one. I am that inner voice inside you that speaks to you all the time, even now. So, I watch everything you watch, even though understanding this would take a little deep thinking and belief. But, it does not matter. Just read this and take it for whatever it is worth, even a pinch of salt. 

First know that I am with you all the time. Secondly, also know that I do not interfere or intervene in anything you do since you inherited the greatest gift of ‘free will’ at Creation, that is, the ability to choose whatever you want for yourself, and so shall it be! You received that power. The only caveat is that there is a consequence for whatever you choose which shall follow a universal order of things, an unchanging equilibrium that guarantees that the universe will react in accordance to your choice. In other words, you reap according to 

what you sow!

You are neither punished nor rewarded for choosing. Your deeds attract their reward and punishment. The universe that is connected to everything within it merely reacts to your choices, and in your limited understanding you consider the results ‘reward’ or ‘punishment’ from somewhere above.  Sorry, the rules of life are set, you play the ‘game’ and the universe hands back to you the product of the seed you have sown, period! That is the perfect unchanging order of things since the beginning of time. You are the master of your fortune.

Your pain, your joy, all your experiences have been the product of your choices and creative acts! Unfortunately, you do not take responsibility and continue to credit the products of handiwork to other sources.

Most of you even fast, pray and make sacrifices, endlessly asking for divine intervention, ‘bribing’ nature to become ‘partisan’ and excuse your failures, grant selfish requests when all you ask for is within your ‘power’ to create for yourself by simply making the right and appropriate choices. Once again, let me remind you that you are the master of your own fortune. Everything is in your hands and in your power. As it was in the beginning, so it is now, and so shall it be, world without end!

Forgive me for digressing. I started by telling you about the Barcelona match this past week. 

It was great entertainment, a masterful display of the mastery of a sport by some of the talented and gifted amongst you.

You surely have done well in a few areas in the course of your civilisation but two stand out shining with the brilliance of a million stars.  They are a simple round object that you kick around, and a game organised amongst yourselves that captures the interest and imagination of your entire world.

The match this week epitomized it all. Its beauty contrasted sharply with other events in your world where wars, conflicts and crisis are pouring down in torrents.

These have become so pervasive that even football is no longer immune. It’s future is now been threatened by scandals unheard of in the history of sport as revealed by the ongoing investigations into corruption in FIFA,the organization created by you to oversee your beautiful sport.

The moment money crept into the equation of football it became a potential victim of money’s ugly side – the root of all evil.

This is a game that had transcended all manner of human frailties and failures – politics, power, religion, race, ethnicity, class, colour, and creed that is now been threatened by the world’s lust and materialistic propensities. This is the sport that evokes passion, that creates bridges across lines, promotes national unity and patriotism, yet cements friendship across nations, submits every one to common rules and laws, and ensures healthy competition amongst the different peoples of the world like no other activity in history.

Unfortunately you do not appreciate it for what it really is, yet I tell you, the ball and the game of football are two of your greatest creations. Both unite the world in ways that confound even the wisest amongst you.

My message for you this day is this: protect football, cherish it, nurse it, don’t allow it to slide into the cesspool of the ugliness around most of your other activities.


Football is a great game that if you think properly and use it well, will serve you 


You love it. You follow it with uncommon passion. It brings you joy, you celebrate and reward the talented ones amongst you, it provides a livelihood directly for millions amongst you and indirectly to all of you (remember that what affects one affects all), and every four years it brings all of you together in a festival that spreads love and friendship, and generates huge resources that can drive massive causes in your world.

The evil side of money has infected not just FIFA but football leadership across the globe, in national federations and continental confederations, promoting systems and structures that fuel corruption, monopoly of power, financial brigandage and wanton greed!

The investigations into FIFA reveal rot so pervasive that all of humanity must rise up now and choose a different way.  FIFA is reaping what it sowed. People must stop looking on helplessly and hopelessly, stop passing the buck and take responsibility by making the right choice of leadership next time around and by introducing checks and balances that will prevent a repetition of the failures of the past. 

Football is a perfect tool to join with other progressive human forces and guide humanity away from the edge of the social, political and economic precipice where it now perches dangerously.

Nelson Mandela saw it and said it before the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. President Bill Clinton saw it and said it in 2004 at the University of Rhode Island when he delivered a lecture about the globalization of humanity. Tony Blair saw it and wrote about it in a column he wrote titled ‘Beyond Sports’ in Time magazine some years ago. ‘Football has the power to change the world’.

Football’s power lies in its followership, in its simplicity, in the people’s passion and love for it, in its ability to create wealth, to promote causes, to bring even conflicting communities together to compete freely, fairly and in friendship, to obey common laws and rules, and to promote moral values that are the essential tools to globalize the humanity in all people.

There is a looming opportunity to choose another way and another kind of leadership that can change the world of football.

When the time comes to choose the next president of FIFA in February 2016, let those to do so be wise and think of the greater good of all, and look carefully not at the rich and powerful, but at the simple and the humble, with the character, conduct, records and message that resonate with the spirit of change, of love, compassion, humanity, humility, decency, transparency, and integrity.


I have delivered my message. Back to my football match this past week where Messi, Neymar, Pique, Suarez, Alvis and the rest of the Barca squad gave me a master class on the best of football.  I am salivating for more of the kind!


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  • Odegbami is still lamenting the injustice done to him by NFF. Its a pity sha. I did not know that he is a philosopher too. Whatever, Odegbami only succeeded in showing that he is really really bitter with this FIFA presidency thing. I was expecting something exclussively football but I find myself reading some philosophy. Odegbami, the earlier you realise that the world is full of injustice and oppression and move on, the better for your health. So you believe that you would have been able to reform FIFA if you are made the President? The Pope is trying to reform the Catholic church but money and riches is making it difficult for the pope. If money has crept into a church, how on earth can anyone reform an organisation like FIFA? It is impossible. If you go there with a good intention, the runnings there with suck you in and before long, you start to like them. Ask Sebb Blatter. Upon all the noise about corruption in Fifa, it is only that payment he made to Platini, they are holding against him. Had it being he had a written agreement or receipt, that too would have fallen apart. They just want to rope the guy. No one can come and tell me that Sebb was so cunning and smart that he completely covered his corruption tracks that nothing is found against him except this Platini payment? No bribe as others are taking bribes before voting and Sebb has been there for close to 40 years voting. I am not defending Sebb or condoning corruption but the point I am making is that no matter how sincere you are the majority that are corrupt will always swallow the honest ones. The best thing is to calculate well by counting the number of honest ones in an organisation and know if they are more before you join them. If they are n minority, do no go!!!!! Leave them alone or you will be burnt. This pope will see it. He wants to fight corruption in the Catholic church amist corrupt people. He will be burnt as one has already been burnt and resigned. Buhari will soon be burnt as he wants to fight corruption among corrupt people. So Odegbami, leave the matter as it is and do not try to join them next time. On a lighter note, Barca your favorite team have a 90% chances of winning the champion league. Their only problem will be Bayern Munich. As of today, Bayern are the most complete team, but Barca is having the most deadliest attackers. It will be a dream opportunity if they meet only in the finals and not at some point before the finals as it will be a neutral ground without the advantage of home and away factors. Well done and keep writing.

  • I am not finished with this article yet. Circumstances most times mold who someone is. If you grow up in a rich man's home as your dad or mum or guardian or uncle or whatever, there is chances that your future may be molded to be bright. If you grow up in a mostly moslim environment like Saudi Arabia or Qatar, you most likely will be a moslem with everything about them. If you grow up in China, most likely you will be a Buddhist. And so on and so forth. Unforeseen occurances can also influence what you become tomorrow. Accidents, death of parents or guardians, bad governments, change in government, militancy, anything unforseen can also changed one's future. Of course I agree that there are some that are so determined to be something in this world that they do so many things, good or bad to change their future. Some reap it good, many reap it bad. We hve 419s, drug pushers, politicians, ritualist who have become 'respected' people in the society and some are reaping the bad effect of such activities in prison or sick or mad or dead. The things that mold one's future are many. It all boil down to one fact- we are all sinners and the effect of our sinful nature is killing us. All of us.This sinful nature is so strong that it takes an extra-ordinary mind set not to dance to its tune. So let no one be boastful of his circumstances today because you are doing well at the moment. I have seen a Senator who had many wives but when Stroke hit him they all  ran away and it was the sister who was taking care of him until he died. With all the money he had, he became broke and if you enter his house, it is the smell of urine that will greet you. Unforeseen occurances made him so. The stories of changed future are many. I know of somebody who sold his phone to help a stranded stranger and this person came back thanking him by taking him overseas for school. I have read of a girl who returned some amount of money to the owner  and the person showed appreciation by training this girl as a pilot. I also know of a man who went and borrowed money to lend to his 'tight' friend but this friend turned round to hire assassins to kill him so that he will not pay back that debt and it was one of the assassin that recognize him as a good man he knew and helped him. Even helped him to collect his money. Ask the governor of Cross River state, Dr Ben Ayade, whether there was a time in Farcados when the person he was working for refused to pay his salary for 5 months? Ask him whether he had some problems with his professor who was using his paper on oil spillage control to make money until Ayade threatened to take him to court and publish in newspapers? Today he is the governor of a state. How? That oil spillage control paper exploded him. So you see? Sometimes, your future is out of your hands. This is my view. There was never a time that Sebb Blatter will ever think that he will ever be in this mess. But others in FIFA and world politics is changing his future. He may be given life ban or worse go to prison. You get the drift?

  • There are several interesting things in-time in this post but I don’t know if I see these center to heart.
    There is some truth but I will take hold belief until I explore it more.
    Good post, thanks and we want more!