Odongo Odoyo


By Paul Jimbo

Humility and commitment are two key virtues that any society needs to thrive above any challenge and remain united and cohesive.

As a career journalist, I have learned to be humble and committed to any course of action I decide to take and this does not mean that life has been smooth either.

As human beings, we must understand that this world has its challenges and everyone faces these challenges, what matters are how we deal with them.

There are people who are so fast to make decisions and on the flipside they make so many mistakes.

However we must realise the fact that mistakes are good in life for they make us stronger and much more resolute people.

I like learning through observation because it gives me the opportunity to make informed decisions and so I never regret any outcomes of my actions. After all, failure is part of any struggle and we can never fail unless we try.

Allow me to indicate here that my subject matter for this commentary is basically the ethical values we derive from humility and commitment as virtues need to succeed in anything.

I have also learned that once you humble yourself and always trust in God, you are bound to make a lot of headways irrespective of how tough the challenges may be. I become wiser anytime I face a new challenge in life but as I said before, observation is the best way to learn.

Mid-this week, I had the rare privilege to watch an interview with Liberian President George Weah. The interview was done by celebrated Kenyan journalist Jeff Koinange on Kenyan Citizen Television Network.

As a matter of fact, Jeff, Richard Quest, Tumni Makabo, Becky Anderson and Christine Amanpour are some of the renowned journalists who continue to inspire me in my career. They have the gift and grab of journalism as a career.

It was one of those few memorable interviews that I have always enjoyed because of its depth in exposing real life experiences of a former football star who rose to become Liberia’s Head of State and of course Chief of Staff.

Forgive me for pledging ignorance by admitting prior to the interview; I never knew that Liberia is the oldest country in Africa, having achieved its independence way back in 18th century.

Though I knew President Weah’s predecessor Hellen Johnson very well, thanks to my interests in gender matters, I never knew that Liberia has had more than 24 presidents.

Fast forward, I followed the interview very keenly, my glass of water firmly held in my hands as I sipped it once to ensure I follow catch every bit of the interview.

I learned that President Weah is a self-made man who rose from the slums to become one of the most celebrated world footballers before plunging himself into politics.

Jeff asked him, “So Mr President what has changed in terms of experience as a celebrated footballer and now a head of state? And he responded, “Jeff, I have learned that not everyone will appreciate your input or efforts at all times, when I was a footballer, the whole world recognised me and honoured me, today, some of those who celebrated me criticise my leadership… but that is normal, don’t expect to be loved by everyone.”

He then went on to narrate how his focus and determination saw him become the President of Liberia.

At this point Jeff played a clip of President Weah’s early days as a footballer who knew his thing.

In the clip, Weah is featured dribbling the ball from his side’s penalty box through the middle field before, dodging all the mid-fielders before he came face to face with two might back liner who he also bypassed to score a fantastic goal.

And before he could let President Weah respond, he dropped yet another question, “What comes into your mind when you flash back into your days as a footballer?

“Jeff, life is full of new lessons, but we should never underestimate our capacities or potential. I knew very well that I could do it and so when I got the ball, I knew the only thing my team needed was a win and that could only come through goals and that is what I worked for,” President Weah responded.

In his conclusion, President Weah said, one should never be judged by his background but his ability to wither challenges through available opportunities.

One moral lesson I learned from the interview is that we only need to humble ourselves, identify available opportunities and exploit them with our full potential.

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