LIBERIA: Ex-Deputy Foreign Minister Cautions, Warned Against Ethnicity, Sectionalism, and Regional Politics

Former Deputy Foreign minister Elias Shonoyin speaking at UL auditorium

Former Deputy Foreign Minister and Managing Director of Africa Development Management Associates, Mr. B. Elias Shoniyin Elias Shoniyin, has warned that ethnicity, sectionalism, and regional politics are poor basis for determining the best candidates in 2023 elections.

Shoniyin said “It is appalling to hear some of those on whose knowledge and experience society should rely during defining moments as today, put ethnicity, region, religion, and political parties, before actual attributes and qualities that can drive our country to economic and political success. We will continue to miss out if we continue to decide leaders based on region, county, tribe, of political party”.

Speaking at the 103 University of Liberia Graduating Class induction in Monrovia Friday, the former Liberian diplomat laments that it would be a missed opportunity if Liberians kept deciding leaders based on region, county, tribe, of political party. He averred that these conditions do not in any way give candidates the expertise, character and knowledge required for making the difference and inspiring the kind of transformation our people so urgently need.

Liberia, he believes would never achieve marginal prosperity when we continue to disregard candidates with enabling education, verifiable accomplishments, global mindset, forward-thinking, dynamism, and wide network locally and internationally.

According to the former acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, it appears the country has been so long in despair and destitution that Liberians have abandon any serious efforts to radically change the situation around – it seems we have accepted what some may believe is our fate, to remain in perpetual poverty and struggle. “We as a people we have greater responsibility than any government, for shaping the future of our country.

“Liberia would never achieve even marginal prosperity when we continue to ignore what truly matter when deciding the right leaders with the capacity to shape a country – leaders who have what it takes at this critical time in our country history. We need pacesetter leaders liken to those who have historically made the difference in their societies”.

He urged the UL senior class leadership to facilitate history making through the exhibition of inspiration, courage, and enthusiasm.

Said Elias: “at the end of your leadership, how do you want to be remembered?”

The way the University of Liberia 103 graduating class leadership would be remembered he said will be defined by what motivated them to aspire for these leadership roles that they had taken up.

Mr. Shoniyin warned against looking for opportunity to access graduation funds or make names for their own benefits, but that the leadership should bring practical thinking and show genuine commitment to problem solving.

“Were you aspired to these roles to have unfair advantages over your colleagues? Were you aspired to these roles subconsciously thinking of the opportunity to access your colleagues’ graduation funds? Were you aspired to these roles to make names for yourselves?” he asked

“If any of you say yes to any of those questions, then I’m sorry that you would be missing a great opportunity not thought of, for shorted sighted and far lower gains. You would be missing the great opportunity of presenting yourselves not only to your fellow graduates, but also to the entire country, as changemakers and thought-process leaders in an era of mediocrity of tragic proportion”, said Shoniyin who now manages the Private firm ADMA. Mr. Shoniyin made these assertions referring to students Amos M. Kollie, Rosetta Fardolo, and Evangeline S. Bundor, who were inducted as President, Vice President and Secretary General, respectively, of the 2021/22 graduating class of the University of Liberia.

While admonishing the graduating class leadership to drive success, he also acknowledged that the role of the University of Liberia leadership would be key to making that success happen.

“I am glad that the University has today as its President, someone I have known many years to be a great and effective listener. I urge him and his team to seize the opportunity of deepening collaboration with the 103 graduating class to make history happen”.

He concluded that the graduating class leadership can only put their best foot forward; but it would yield little results without the full and intentional commitment of the University authorities.

Mr. Shoniyin is widely regarded in and out of Liberia as a distinguished international affair, development, and policy professional with over 23 years in nonprofit and public service, in multiple senior positions where he made significant contributions to the post-conflict recovery and development of Liberia.

His current roles as Managing Director/Managing Partner of Africa Development Management Associates (ADMA); and Coordinator of the School of Global Affairs & Policy, Cuttington University, are complemented by earlier portfolios, including World Fellow at Yale University, Principal Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liberia in two successive administrations, Deputy Foreign Minister for International Economic Cooperation & Integration, Assistant Foreign Minister for International Cooperation & Economic Affairs, amongst others.

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