This week as our regular slot we profile Liberia’s Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT, Mr. Lenn Eugene Nagbe, a man, and a no stranger in the Liberian media community is now steering the mouthpiece of the Liberian Government.
“Eugene” as he is affectionately call by many of his admirers and friends in Liberia and abroad has been considered as the long awaited Minister of Information, many thinks is seated confidently to transform MICAT from the winds of propaganda to a moderate institution that will promote cultural and political harmony.
Considered as the right man in the driver’s seat for the proper coordination and the dissemination of the Liberian Government policies, and helping to build a renewed vibrant relationship between the Liberian Government and the Liberian media.
Since his ascendancy as Liberia’s new information minister, Eugene has made it his sole professional duties to making sure that the cordial relationship between the Liberian media and the government remain as perfect as any ‘old hands in this business thinks.
Even though his arrival at this all important Liberian Government Ministry (MICAT) may be greeted with mixed feelings due to the failure over the years by his predecessors to properly build an improved media and government’s relationship, which at most times led the two groups to be a loggerhead, this many are hoping will be overcome by Lenn Eugene Nagbe and his team of administrators at this important institution.
MICAT over the years has been overshadowed with huge criticisms for its failure to maintain the aura of the nation’s beautiful and one time well known culture. This failure is evidenced by the fact that more than eight years have passed and a new National Cultural Center has not been built since the destruction of the historical Kendeja Cultural Village and sold to an American businessman, Mr. Robert L. Johnson for his resort, many Liberians felt doomed of their cultural history.
The Village which was built in the 1960s to bring pride to the country’s cultural attractions is no more, while nothing is been heard of its resurfacing.
With the appointment of Mr. Lenn Eugene Nagbe, a trained Mass Communication expert from the nation’s highest institution of learning, the University of Liberia, Liberians are of the convictions that he will make the difference in the performing of his administrative duties as Liberia’s Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism.
However, admirers and critics of this long awaited Minister of Information urged him to be very careful about the way he responds to critics of the government. Unlike his predecessor who, in response to critics, regularly used insulting words to oppositions and other critics of the Liberian Government.
Minister Nagbe who many observed and believed as a man of in integrity will have to take a strong stand to initiate reforms that will not satisfy the whims and caprices of the political elite, another difficult task that awaits the Minister is to transform the public perception that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf does not have a cultural agenda and is responsible for the continued downplaying of the country’s culture and the replacement with the propagation of foreign cultures, such as the proliferation of Nigerian, Indian and other movies, much of which have had a negative impact of our youth.
A key component to the nation’s cultural rehabilitation will be the immediate renovation of the National Museum, a project that out going Minister Lewis Brown failed to undertake despite a huge budgetary allocation.
Such a move would help rescue damaged artifacts, including the Book of Condolence for President W.V.S. Tubman and other important ones in similar physical condition.
Secondly, the Minister will have to strengthen the already damaged relationship between MICAT and cultural advocates and critics while working out plans quickly to build the new National Culture Center in Behsao, Liberia’s second cultural village.
Another difficult task will be hosting an annual cultural festival that will promote our national culture and reintroduce it to the world, thus helping Liberia to regain its place among nations that preserved and maintained their ancestral heritage.
Another major challenge for Minister Nagbe is the development of the tourism industry. Liberia has many rich touristic attractions, including its culture, its National Cultural Troupe, its many dense forests, including the flora and fauna-rich Sapo National Park and 350 miles of coastline and white and golden sanded beaches. Can Eugene Nagbe make tourism happen, at long last, in Liberia?
The new Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism Minister will have to stand his ground knowing that doing so will determine how long his stays on the job. But a true reformer will do the right things. Indeed, Lenn Eugene Nagbe is our man of this week.