Monrovia - Montserrado County Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe (independent, electoral district #6) is considering a return to the Liberia Football Association (LFA) as president.
Snowe was LFA president from November 1997 to August 2003 before his appointment as managing director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) by then chairman Charles Gyude Bryant in a power sharing transitional government.
He told FrontPageAfrica (FPA) that he has been approached by several stakeholders to ‘rescue the LFA’ from its poor state. But Snowe admitted that any decision to contest in March 2014 will precede a consultation with LFA president Musa Bility.
“I first owe it to Mr. Bility, as a friend, to tell him two things: Mr. Bility, you will either have to regroup and do better than what you are doing now or I will have to contest if I agree to do it.
“I have been asked to do it [contest] but I have not made a decision yet. I love football and I don’t like what is happening to football.
“So if nothing is done about it, I wouldn’t hesitate to contest in March to rescue the LFA,” Snowe said in a 15-minute exclusive interview with FPA at his Capitol Building office on July 19.
Snowe and Bility are buddies and political allies, supporting the reelection of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf during the 2011 presidential and legislative elections.
Bility worked with Snowe when he was president and Snowe was one of the back benchers in Bility’s bid to replace Cllr. Sombo Izetta Wesley, who massively lost at the polls in March 2010.
Following the lifting of the UN-imposed travel ban on Snowe in July 2012, Bility appointed him as chairman of the mobilization committee of the national team’s bids for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Snowe’s first trip was head of delegation when Liberia played Equatorial Guinea in Malabo in August 2012 before making the trips to Victoria, Seychelles for a Caf extraordinary congress in September 2012, for the third round, second leg Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Calabar, Nigeria in October 2012 and Caf elective congress in Marrakech, Morocco in March 2013.
But Bility has endured lashes from stakeholders for those trips made by his buddies, including ex-commerce minister Samuel Wlue. So how is Snowe going to solve the political, personal and sportive configurations if he makes-up his mind?
“I first owe it to Mr. Bility. I will have to speak to Mr. Bility and I will give him my moral support to help him regroup and improve football in Liberia.
“[There will be] two things: if Mr. Bility can’t do it or Mr. Bility says well I don’t want to contest the coming elections in March then I will have no option but to contest.
“So, I will first have to speak to Mr. Bility; I owe Mr. Bility that. He’s my very good friend; we’ve been through ups and downs.
“We have long history and I don’t think football election or anything should separate or split us.
“But equally so, I have a huge passion for football in Liberia and even if my father was the president of LFA and he wasn’t doing a good piece of job and I think I need to come in and rescue the LFA, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it,” Snowe pointed-out.
Following the controversial suspension of vice president Adolph Lawrence in April, Snowe promised to mediate in the stand-off.
And with the previous suspension and expulsion of FC Fassell president Cassell Kuoh and executive committee member Rochell Woodson, Snowe admitted the LFA has devoted important time to resolving crisis.
“If we continue resolving problems in the FA then football won’t be developed because the time we need to develop the game we are taking that time-off to resolve crisis.
“So we have to resolve crisis with the vice president, with executive members and stakeholders.
“We have to resolve crisis with the leadership of Caf. We have to resolve crisis with the leadership of Fifa.
“So how much time do we have to develop football? Those are things we need to look at and if nothing is done about it, we will be left with no alternative but to listen to the people and rescue Liberian football because we can’t sit and see Liberian football going the way it is going now,” Snowe added.
He also painted a gruesome picture of the three-year rule of Bility, among other things, Liberia’s inability to qualify for the nations cup finals since 2002 and the poor state of infrastructures.
Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff (CDC) has been earmarked as Snowe’s vice president for administration.
“Yes, I have spoken to Geraldine Doe-Sheriff, who’s a very good friend of mine. “Both Geraldine and I believe that we should sit with Mr. Bility and encourage him to do better than he’s doing now.
“And if nothing is done between now and March, Geraldine and I will definitely be forming a team. We have not spoken to Mr. Adolph Lawrence directly.
“But Geraldine and I have spoken about this matter and we have agreed that if nothing is done about this we will contest the LFA presidency in March,” he reemphasized.
Lawrence, who has also been earmarked as vice president for operations, believes Snowe has ample time to decide his future.
“Hon. Snowe is at liberty to compete for the LFA presidency. I think the statutes of the Liberia Football Association protect him [as former president] if that is his will and pleasure.
“Senator Doe-Sheriff, similarly, is protected under the statutes to compete.
“She has been former executive committee member [of the LFA] and there is nothing that prohibits her.
“And your humble servant, Adolph A. Lawrence, is also qualified to compete,” said Lawrence, a Montserrado County representative (independent, electoral district #15), at his Capitol Building office on July 18.
Watanga FC senior vice president Andy Quamie, who is also a Caf and Fifa match commissioner, is being earmarked as general-secretary with Snowe’s return.
Quamie, who is Snowe’s chief of office staff, was one of the revolutionaries in the fierce battle that brought Bility to power.
So, is he caught in the middle?
“No, I am not. Let me give you one story. Between 2003 and 2004, Musa Bility and Edwin Snowe had some issues and were not speaking [to each other].
“But I was closer to Musa and Snowe. My friendship with Musa got nothing to do with Snowe and my friendship with Snowe got nothing to do with Musa.
“Even when Mr. Willis Knuckles was not friendly with Snowe [in 2007], I was friendly with Knuckles and Snowe.
“Tomorrow, they could fix their palaver and I will be the bad guy. I could look like the guy, who is taking news from one person to another person.
“So my friendship is based on mutual respect between you and I,” Quamie answered.
He told UNMIL Radio Sport Extra program on July 29 that every Liberian, who is qualified under the statutes of the LFA, Caf and Fifa, has the right to contest the elections.
But Quamie knows who to support regardless of what his critics think.
“I will support Musa Bility 100-percent. Even if my wife, Linda Quamie, goes against Musa Bility, I will support him.
“Musa might not be the angel sent from Heaven but Musa is my friend. “I was one of those who encouraged Musa to come to football and I can’t be the one who will stab him at the back,” Quamie underscored.
He is untroubled, for now, about the reactions from stakeholders like Georgian FC president Wilmot Smith and BYC president Sekou Konneh about Snowe’s ambition and Bility’s reelection.
“I don’t want to comment on this matter further. What I wanted to do was to clarify my role as the ‘secretary-general’ of the Snowe’s team. “I categorically deny this; I am not part of Snowe’s team. I remain supportive of Mr. Musa Bility’s bid for reelection.
Snowe is unpredictable just as Bility.
Could this be a clever and tactical game between Snowe and Bility, with the latter having been indicted by government for multiple charges including economic sabotage and criminal conspiracy in line with missing funds at the Roberts international airport?
Bility, board chair of the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority (LCAA), was indicted by the grand jury of Montserrado County on August 1 along with Ellen Corkrum, ex-LCAA managing director, Momar Dieng of the Diaspora Consulting LLC and Melvin Johnson of the US among others.
It remains to be seen whether Quamie has been caught in the middle and which way he will go or if a legislative team is in the making to control football.
As always, only time will tell!