By Pius Adesanmi.
Sunday Oliseh appears to be the villain of the moment. I’m a bit confused over his portraiture as a villain and I know at least one other Nigerian who must be: my intellectual son, Oshoke Irene.
In December 2014, Oliseh and yours truly were the last two speakers at TEDxEuston in London. Being the last two speakers meant that Oliseh and I practically spent the entire day holed up in the speakers’ room, drinking coffee and gisting. Oshoke was in there with us throughout the day. Oshoke took plenty of pictures. Organizers, Paddy Anigbo and Chika Unigwe, came to check on us from time to time.
I noticed two things. Oliseh related to Oshoke and I as if he had known us his entire life. Then there was the question of his humility. The humility was almost embarrassing as you constantly had to remind yourself you were in the presence of one of the most famous figures in contemporary Nigerian football. He kept behaving like it was a privilege to meet me and be in the same room with me. “Prof, you know this, Prof tell me that.” I later would discover his great love for learning and intellection so that perhaps partly explains how he related to us.
No trace of arrogance. No trace of rudeness. We exchanged email addresses and phone numbers and he even kept up our communication for a while before we both got too busy with in our separate spheres.
In essence, I don’t seem to recognize this person who treated Enyeama so shoddily after his Mom’s burial. How would it not be understandable that Enyeama would arrive a day late to camp in the circumstances? Enyeama has served Nigeria too well and too long to be treated that way. I don’t know what went down between the too.
Maybe 12 hours holed up in a coffee room ain’t enough to vouch for anybody but I left TEDxEUSTON holding Oliseh in very high esteem. I hope things get resolved quickly between him and Enyeama for the benefit of Nigeria. Enyeama didn’t deserve that treatment in my opinion but I am unwilling to subscribe to the portraiture of Oliseh that is spreading.
I understand he lost the match to Congo. He is going to have a rough week with Nigerians.
May his road be rough.