Salala, Bong County – February 16, 2018
In a jam-packed hall of students, youth and eminent citizens of Bong County, prominent Youth and Student Leader Martin K. N. Kollie called for real change, and not rhetorical change in Bong County. Speaking as the Keynote Speaker at the inauguration of the Salala District Students Union (SADSU), Kollie who hails from Bong County said that citizens of Bong remain poor even though the county is endowed with abundant natural resources.
He described the livelihood of most Bongese as horrible and called on leaders of the Country especially Lawmakers to focus on public interest, and not self-interest. Kollie said that Bong County is a victim of leadership bankruptcy and bad governance. He called on conscious students and youth of Bong to stand up and demand REAL CHANGE from those they have entrusted with the people’s power.
“Bong County is my heartbeat. This is where I come from. This is my root and I hold this County so dear to my heart. We have to stand up for it and ensure it becomes Liberia’s shining star. Unfortunately, a lot of our “leaders” in Bong have been and are overly corrupt, self-seeking and unpatriotic. They care more about themselves than they care about you. They misuse the power you give them and even abuse you. This is a clear betrayal of the confidence you have reposed in them. You must act now and demand a paradigm shift through accountability, transparency, and equitability. It cannot be business as usual,” Student Leader Kollie averred.
Kollie called on Lawmakers of the County to unite in order to forge the developmental agenda of the County ahead. He expressed dismay over the ruining state of most schools and health centers in the County and said there can be no genuine peace and development in Bong when a huge number of Bongese cannot even afford basic social services that guarantee dignity and human rights.
“Most of our schools in Bong do not offer quality. They are not even well equipped with basic academic facilities such a libraries, science laboratories, student centers, mobile clinics, computer labs, stationery, logistics/infrastructures, and a conducive environment of learning. Our teachers are underpaid. In fact, some of them lack formal training to impact knowledge. We need to invest more in quality education because it is our future and destiny. We need to invest in health because our hospitals and clinics are closing due to financial constraint. It is shameful for our people to still be drinking from creeks in this 21st century. I call for increased budgetary support for education and health. Leaders of today must not play politics with education and health. Additionally, most of our youth in Bong are unemployed. This is a threat to our collective security and destiny. We must find solution to youth unemployment through vocational education, agriculture, entrepreneurship, public and private sector investment,” Kollie said.
The tough-talking youth and student leader also weighed in on a divided Bong by saying “Our challenge in Bong is far from dividing this County. The problem is mostly attributed to bad leadership and fiscal indiscipline. If leaders of Bong could maximize and manage the resources this County in a more transparent, accountable and equitable manner, all Bongese could rise above poverty and propel on the plinth of prosperity. This is possible through unity, genuine reconciliation and transformational leadership. Bong can never achieve this prosperous end through corruption, economic sabotage, patronage and division based on rhetoric and politics. Today, I call for a united County firmly anchored to shared values of solidarity, commonality, equality and peace.”
Kollie admonished the newly elected leadership of the Salala District Student Union (SADSU) under the presidency of Paul Kermee Kerkula to champion the cause of the masses especially underprivileged students in Bong. He emphasized the importance of academic excellence and called on students of Bong to engender programs such as quizzing, debate, spelling B, reading/researching, and writing. Kollie said it is time to get young Bongese out of the ghettos, gambling enterprises, motels, motorcycle parking, sand and rock-crushing mines, etc. and send them back to school (academic or vocational school). He said it is time to transform those ghettos and gambling enterprises into libraries and public reading rooms.
During the course of the program, Student Leader Martin Kollie along with some prominent sons and daughters of Bong were honored. Some of those honored include: Leelai Kpukuyou, Senator Henrique Togba, Senator Henry Yallah, Deputy Speaker Prince Moye, Rep. Moima Briggs Mensah, Mr. William T. Thompson, etc.