As former football star, George Weah and incumbent Vice-President, Joseph Boakai, shape for a run off in the Liberian presidential election next month, Olatunji John Shittu, manager and confidant of Weah for over two decades, on Sunday, posited that the leading candidate in the Liberian presidential election has raised the bar for African youths, especially sports stars, who need to do more for their societies and not turn their back because they have conquered poverty and found fame and fortune.
At the weekend, Weah had 39.2 percent of votes cast and counting while his closest rival, Boakai has taken 29.6 percent. If no single candidate gains more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off will be scheduled in November between the top two contenders, according to Liberian law.
Shittu, who spoke from Liberia, said the driving force of Weah’s presidential ambition is the urge to serve.
“He rose to the pinnacle of global football, winning the African, European and World footballer of the year award, the first and only African to achieve this feat. He is famous worldwide and wealthy but Weah believes he is still poor for as long as millions of Liberians and blacks are living in poverty.
“After his experience during his first attempt at the presidency, he could have walked away and joined the high flying elites of the world to enjoy his wealth but he judges that political power will enable him set up strong institutions and lay a foundation for a prosperous Liberia”.
Shittu revealed that was why Weah had to re-start his education from the basics by acquiring a bachelor and masters degree.
“Members of the sports family are conversant with Weah’s selfless sacrifice for Liberia’s football including sponsoring the national team but that was just a tip of the iceberg. His acts of philanthropy in Liberia transcend sports, it includes service in healthcare, education, construction and many more.
“As president, Weah will use his global contacts to turn Liberia into a nation that will be the envy of the world’’.
Shittu urged African youths, especially sports stars, to emulate Weah,
“it is beyond personal breakthrough, because sports stars are loved. They should use the power and love citizens have for them to make positive changes and impact their societies positively instead of abandoning the masses and societies after they have conquered poverty,’’ said Shittu.