*Obodo pays ‘thank you’ visit
By; ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri
The immediate past governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has urged Nigerian youth to shun kidnapping, as well as other social vices in the society.
The ex-governor made this statement on Saturday 27, September 2020 when he received former Super Eagles defensive midfielder, Christian Obodo, at his residence in Warri, Delta state, Friday.
He also apologized on behalf of Deltans for the ugly incident of the footballer’s kidnap in the state, while he was governor, eight years ago.
The footballer who retired recently from his Greece Football Club, Appollon Smyrnis, visited the ex-governor, to appreciate him for the swift response of the state government under his leadership at the time of his abduction.
He visited in the company of ace sports broadcaster, Azuka Chiamaka and a friend, Engineer Sam.
Recall that Christian Obodo was abducted by gunmen on Saturday, June 9, 2012 in Effurun, near Warri and whisked to the Isoko North axis of Delta state. He regained his freedom the following day.
Commending him for a “successful football career”, Dr. Uduaghan tasked youths to be creative and develop good skills, rather than take to acts of criminality.
“Thank God for a successful football career. You have moved from the active stage to trying to develop young players. I thank God for your talent. You used it to the highest level, being able to play for the nation and other clubs.
“On behalf of Deltans, I want to apologize for what happened to you that time. It brought embarrassment to you and the state at the time. You had to be incarcerated.
“I keep telling youths that when you kidnap from this area, it shows how devilish you are. You (Obodo) developed your talent. I used to tell young people that is what they should follow,” the former governor stressed.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the visit, Obodo who is renowned for his dribbling skills, urged youths not to allow hardship push them into criminal activities, as they may lose their lives in the process.
“I don’t think kidnapping is the way forward in life. I think there are better things to do. I know things are not easy, but there is always a solution.
“Finding yourself in that kind of situation, you can get yourself caught or killed. I think you can use your talent and skill to do better and stay away from crime,” the player, nicknamed bundle of skill, advised.
He further expressed gratitude to Dr. Uduaghan for the “fatherly support and love” showed him and his family when he was kidnapped.
Until his retirement, Obodo played for several foreign clubs such as Lecce, Torino, Udinese among others.
He hinted that he is now in the business of scouting for young and skillful talents who will take Nigerian football to greater heights.