MONROVIA-Consistent with his quest to ensure that a fruitful and fantastic result is accrued from the year-long celebration of the Bicentennial, President George M. Weah is challenging all Liberians to fiercely battle all the odds and the related tentacles of discrimination.
“Let us fight discrimination in every phase and form of our socio-economic cohabitation and collaborations as Liberians, both at home and in the diaspora. Let us fight intolerance and impatience with one another. Let us fight hatred and malice. These are all negative vices that detract from our higher purpose of oneness and national coherence. Because there is so much more that unites us than that which may tend to divide us, let us celebrate the complexities of our rich diversities, and live in peace, unity, and harmony as our brother’ and sisters’ keepers”, the Liberian leader maintains.
Unveiling his new agenda for the way forward, Dr. Weah emphasized that, “we must let go of the past, embrace the present within the context of our diversities, and give birth to the future with Unity, Peace, Reconciliation and Sustainable Development as our imperative agenda.”
Accordingly, the Chief Executive noted, “let us reinforce and strengthen the common heritage that unites all of us, both the descendants of the indigenous people and the descendants of the settlers”, adding, “we are one people, with one destiny”..
He pointed out that in a country such as ours, Liberia; there are so many people with different cultures and traditions, which influence their ideologies about life and about how to approach things. He also noted that we must accept and accord every person the respect he or she deserves in matters relating to differences in ideologies and understanding.
Another major tool in promoting National Unity and Reconciliation is patriotism, which indeed is the bedrock of our national foundation because when there is love for one’s nation, such love will engender a spirit of brotherhood, sisterhood, and fraternity among us as citizens of Liberia and our common country.
Expressing his deep-rooted concern about the Liberia of tomorrow and the futures of the leaders, President Weah observes that as Liberians embark upon the journey for the next two hundred years; let them think beyond this Bicentennial about the generations that will succeed them in the years to come, and the beautiful ones who are not yet born. He then wondered how can Liberians pave the way so that their futures may be brighter than the present ones, their opportunities greater than these, their growth and development enhanced, and their prosperity assured?
He inquires that beyond the Bicentennial Celebrations, what are those things that we must do to ensure that Liberia is a better place when we leave it than when we met it? According to him, the answer to this question must include, but not be limited to, recognition of the following challenges, and a call to action to resolve them.
“Let us begin with Climate Change which is a threat to our very existence, and therefore we must join the rest of the world to save our planet; rural-urban migration is another problem we need to fix together, because our once beautiful Capital City, Monrovia, is already overcrowded, leading to all of the problems brought on by congestion, such as lack of adequate housing, sanitation, health, and educational facilities just to name a few; because according to him, it was never designed to hold the large percentage of our population who now live in it.
He said we should also work together to expand development in all of its forms to the rest of the country so that our citizens do not see Monrovia as the only decent place to live and work. This should be an effective panacea to curb urban migration.
“This must include the provision of affordable and reliable electricity throughout the country, which should spur industrialization and manufacturing that will create jobs and add value to our natural resources. It must also include a national road connectivity program that will enable any Liberian to travel from counties in the east and west to counties in the north and south on all-weather roads that are safe and well maintained”, indicated Dr. Weah.
He made it clear that in his view, under-development anywhere, is under-development everywhere. In order to save our present young population and future generations of youth from self-destruction, we must fashion policies to fight drugs and substance abuse. “It is very concerning to me when I see the downward path in which some of our young people are heading at break-neck speed”, he registered his worry.
Dr. Weah explains that in this context, the problems of our disadvantaged youths cannot be ignored. It is a growing threat and must be tackled head-on; not by condemnation, but by counseling, not by imprisonment, but by rehabilitation and skills development, not by death, but by giving them life and hope.
President Weah threw out the challenge that beyond the Bicentennial, we must also develop an educational and health system that is on par with the best in the world, and make it available to everyone so that no child is left behind. We must also revise the curriculum to provide our young people with relevant employable skills and with computer training that will assist us to bridge the digital divide and equip our young people to be competitive with their counterparts in the rest of the world.
At the same time, he recalled that it has often been said, that those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are likely to repeat them in the future. In view of this, “I believe that there is a need to write a full and comprehensive history of Liberia, which will include the history of the people that lived here before 1822, and the true and authentic history of the last 200 years as an integrated nation, including our historic struggles to achieve the unification which we enjoy today”, he stated. Dr. Weah furthered, “I now throw out this challenge to our many gifted Liberian authors and historical scholars, to capture this rich history and have it printed in textbooks that will become part of the official curriculum of our educational system”.
He then assures Liberians that “as we leave this place today, and from this day forward, let us go forth in unity, and peace, and love for one another, always putting Liberia first and defending our country’s cause with unpretending valor and patriotism. For without these attributes being inculcated in our National DNA, there will be no progress, no development, no growth, and no prosperity. Once we adopt this mindset as a Nation and People, I can declare with confidence and conviction, that the future of our beloved country will be glorious and bright for all Liberians”.