2 January 2013

Liberia: Hoorah! To the Man of the Year 2012


THE MANAGEMENT AND editorial staff of The Analyst newspaper have tipped Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods as deserving of the enviable “MAN OF THE YEAR 2012” accolade for obvious reasons. They did so in reverence to the dictates of their annual, time-tested tradition of recognizing and honoring men and women who made unparalleled, unpretending contributions to the growth of the nation and the welfare of its people. In order to highlight and celebrate Honorable Woods’ preferment they have decided to suspend a portion of that tradition, which embraces selections in other sub-honoring categories. We congratulate and say “Hoorah!” to our honoree for the preferment. As we do so, we hail the Sirleaf Administration for affording him the opportunity to help raise the profile of his country at the time it craves the indulgence of its citizens in various pursuits.

THE SELECTION OF Hon. Woods as The Analyst’s MAN OF THE YEAR 2012 is important and enlightening for two important reasons, each of which bears witness in a unique way to the level of upward mobility this nation recorded over the last 12 months. The first reason resides in the psyche of the honouree. It testifies to the sublime character of the man, S. K. Woods – a man who has graduated from regime monitoring, from the controversial preoccupation of armchair government critic under the veil of rights advocacy, to a central player in the nation’s march to recovery. It testifies to that character that instructs Liberian politicians, by the power of its examples, that the best of patriotism, the best of intentions, and the best of nationalism is not measured or justified by the sheer hatred of the status quo. It testifies also, that these bests are not measured by calling for hailstones to rain upon the nation in order to rid it of so-called political enemies, but that it is indisputably justified by a participation that edifies and transforms society and with it, the most stubborn political villain. Honorable Woods’ smooth transitioning from fence sitting to a key player at the time his country mourns the mowing down of its people in senseless warfare is a single feat that endeared him to our selection team. It emphasized his characteristic response to the call to duty in spite of himself, in spite of his political dreams. It signifies selflessness; it signifies the unpretending “putting of Liberia first”, something high-profile charlatans in society often claim rhetorically for political gains.

THE SECOND AND equally valid reason testifies to the honoree’s achievements, which literally defied the economic restrictions and budgetary limitations corruption and the fledgling economy have imposed upon Liberia’s post-war recovery. The evidence is there to see that in just over two years, most of rural Liberia is open to motorized traffic and graced by public infrastructure. Monrovia has seen its most significant facelift since William Tolbert in the late 1970s. Faraway Voinjama in northern Lofa County is about to have paved streets ahead of other provincial capitals in Gbarpolu, Rivercess, Grand Kru, and River Gee, which have known no asphalted roads since their founding. “[It’s] just the beginning of an add-on strategy to the current government’s infrastructure plan...” the honoree told journalists in a recent interview. This level of sanguinity in the face of crippling restraints speaks volume about the nationalist spirit of our honoree and it is worth emulating by all well-meaning Liberians.

IT IS FOR THIS very reason that we appeal to Liberian technocrats, bureaucrats, and church, opposition, opinion, and community leaders to provide the cooperation and collaboration necessary to enable our honoree put to maximum use the resources entrusted to his ministry. We encourage the Capitol Building to help make the job of our honoree lighter by galvanizing constituent residents toward taking initiatives. More so, we encourage the Executive Mansion to continue to make available the necessary resources that will strengthen the hands of our honoree. This is not to doubt the dedication and diligence of our honoree to the nation’s recovery agenda – to put out the best with little resources or to remain dedicated to duty in the face of adversary – it is to emphasize the point that national development is the business of all national institutions and citizens, each according to call and ability.

THIS POINT BRINGS us to the sacred points of our covenant with the honoree. Mr. Honoree, much as we hold you in high esteem in testimony to your hard work, dedication, and spirit of nationalism and abide in your trustworthiness, we hold you also to higher standards. We pledge to tune the nation to your exploits throughout the period of your honor and beyond. This means two conflicting truths. It means that we will be the first to inform the nation when you wilfully turn to the right or to the left in ways that exact disrepute. It means also that your honor shall be our pride and your discontent shall be our cause of advocacy. Fair deal, fair covenant. Once again, we say Hoorah! as you accept our honor.

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