Liberian students studying in Ghana are calling on President George Weah who recently visited that West African state of Ghana to speedily address the abject waste of the nation’s human resources and consider the importance of the youthful population of the Country.
The students’ statement read by the President of the Liberian Students Association in Ghana, Cornelius R. U-Savee, many of whom attending the University of Ghana and Legon, also expressed thanks and appreciation to President Weah for his visit in Ghana.
See full text of the students’ statement:
Your Excellency George Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia and Members of your Delegation
Madam Ambassador and Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Representative of the Government of Ghana
Members of the Fourth Estate
The Student Body
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
I bring you warm greetings from all Liberian students studying in this sisterly Republic of Ghana. It is indeed with great honor that I stand before this august body to represent the Liberian Students Association, Ghana (LISA-GH).
The Association which started operations during the early 1990s at the University of Ghana, Legon, with fewer Liberian students came to be formally recognized by this Republic in May, 2010 under the Companies Code, 1963 (ACT 179); it is now the “Best National Student Association in Ghana” with over 200 members from junior and senior high schools, technical and vocational institutions to tertiary institutions with the motto: “Championing Academic Excellence for National Development”.
On behalf of the student community, we once again want to congratulate you on your historic election and inauguration as the 24th President of our dear country, Liberia. We believed that through your leadership, Liberia’s developmental growth will become rapid and all Liberians will reap the benefits.
The student community in Ghana continues to remain proactive and attentive to the needs of Liberia and what is happening there. While study remains our primary responsibility in Ghana, we will continue to speak on issues of national concern. For instance, prior, during, and after the electoral process in Liberia, we wrote numerous articles, issued press releases, organized electoral center events and also visited the Chairman of the National Elections Commission in Monrovia to ensure that those elections in Liberia than were free, fair and transparent, and that our peace was sustained and fragile democracy consolidated. Also, during the “so-called” electoral court issue, which kept our nation static and prevented many of us students from receiving our allowances and our benefits from family members and agencies in Liberia, we visited the Liberian student community in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and issued a combined press statement that was carry by various media houses in Monrovia.
The student community here continues to strive for academic excellence with the view of consciously contributing their fair share to the building of a “New Liberia”. A Liberia that will only be for those who are prepared and those who are preparing themselves. Just the latter part of last year and early this year, we had 10 Liberian students graduating from various institutions of higher leading in different fields of study, and with various qualifications ranging from diploma to masters degrees. I was indeed privileged to have been one of them from the University of Education, Winneba.
Amid the challenges of funding, scholarship for talented and needed students, and mobility, our noble Association has remained ever-relevant and sensitive to the needs of Liberians studying here. We continue to create educational and social avenues through structured events for the physical interactions of Liberian students while our various social media platforms are being use on a daily basis to interact with one another. For instance, on the 14th of this month, which is a very historical date in Liberia, we are organizing a leadership summit for 200 youth and student leaders of which majority of the participants will be Liberian students.
We live in the 21st century, but our country and its people still live in the 18th century, which makes it quite worrisome for a country that has come of age. We have underestimated ourselves for far too long and delay our developmental progress. Thus, creating a society that stays hungry to experience modernity and civilization. We have undoubtedly become people growing in the philosophy of “Meism” (I, Me, and Myself) compounded with “dependency syndrome”.
Mr. President, the successful implementation of your carefully crafted “Pro-Poor Agenda” would depend largely on the pillar of education. Massive, accessible, and quality education remains the glorious window Liberians need to jump out of poverty. A quality education has the ingredient and power to transform a society like ours that lags behind. Many young Liberians languish today in cities, towns, and villages without hope of sitting in a classroom. In places like Soniewein, down waterside/waterfront, Douala, and Paynesville Red-light, young Liberians in the age range 6-20 continued to move around hopelessly. But be reminded that those young people are tomorrow’s leaders, and I refer to them as “Liberia’s treasure”. While others in their 20s – 40years are hungry for technical and vocational education – a TVET initiative. I believe strongly as a contemporary educator that massive investment in technical and vocational education is the best and logical way to urgently respond to the threat of unemployment and to reduce at a minimal level the gap between the rich and the poor, thereby, creating some sort of a middle class, which has never existed. It will also prevent or gradually reduce the number of work visas or permits offered by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Liberian Immigration Service, and the Labor Ministry to foreign nationals who come to Liberia in their thousands each year seeking jobs and creating constrains on our challenged economy irrespective of Liberia being open to business.
Our human resource sector will continue to remain under-development and wasteful until we become fully cognizant of the known fact that society most important investment is the education of its people, and we will eventually suffer and be captured in the downward paradigm in its absence. From Bong to Nimba, from Nimba to Grand Gedeh, from Grand Gedeh to Maryland, from Maryland to Monsterrado, our people have long sought to be liberated from abject poverty. Do not fail them, Mr. President! Let that “Change for Hope” mantra/slogan/motto reflect in their communities, families, and pockets.
In your inaugural speech, Mr. President, you said “To our Diaspora Liberians, we say come home. This is a new dispensation. We need your skills, your ideas, your expertise and talents, so that together we will build our common patrimony”. Hence, on this note, I would like to recommend to your honorable office that Liberian students studying in Ghana should be given the opportunity to do a year national service in their motherland, Liberia upon the completion of their studies. This initiative in the candid view of LISA-Ghana will handsomely facilitate more knowledgeable young Liberians going home faster, and getting easily integrated into Liberia – their country especially for those who grew up here or were born here. This initiative if approved, can be managed by the Liberian Students Association, Ghana (LISA Ghana), and monitor by the Liberian Embassy here.
Secondly, I will like to appeal to you to kindly support our “Office Renovation Project”. This project aims at providing a more conducive educational and recreational environment for the Liberian student community. Your contribution towards this project will be highly appreciated. It will help mold the psyche of the young folks in a more productive and progressive way.
Conclusively, as you stated in your Inaugural Address, “My greatest contribution to this country as president may not lie in the eloquence of my speeches, but will definitely lie in the quality of the decisions that I will make over the next six years to advance the lives of poor Liberians”. Mr. President, your time has started; you and your cabinet ministers must disentangle yourself from the “1847-2017 talking syndrome” and act more positively in the interest of Liberians. Today, I present to you an effective leadership mechanism called “SALT” (Serious Action and Less Talk) for the progressive development of our beloved Mama Liberia.
God bless LISA-GH,
God bless Liberia,
God bless you all.
I thank you.