Liberia: 'Only in Unity of Purpose Can Liberians Make a Better Country'

opinion

... Sierra Leone Pres. Maada Bio challenges UL's 100th graduating class

Sierra Leone President, Julius Maada Bio, said there can never be a perfect union or a union of perfect minds unless Liberians learn to always remember that the lies of the wicked and self-seeking that blind are never the ties that bind the citizens together as a nation.

He added, "Only in unity of common cause; purpose; goals can Liberians make the country a better place and Africa a better continent."

"I have said all of this to put the history of this country into context, and to encourage you graduates, to know and believe that you have a duty of care to tend the future of this your great nation. So always remember that throughout history, good Liberians and good people have made sacrifices for ideals greater than themselves. Sometimes, involuntarily so, but most often believing that their sacrifice was right and fitting for the country they love so dearly," Maada Bio said thus challenging members of the graduating class to be the latter, that is believing that their sacrifice was right and fitting for the country.

Maada Bio's statement was contained in a commencement convocation he delivered at the graduation ceremony of the Centennial 100th Convocation of the University of Liberia in Monrovia on Wednesday, December 10, 2019 on the theme of the Centennial Commencement Celebration, "Memory, Preservation, and the Way Forward."

He recalled how on August 24, 1990, still a young military officer, he disembarked (under fire) from landing vessels at the Freeport of Monrovia as part of the very first wave of ECOMOG Peacekeeping troops.

"Remember the lessons of your recent history and maintain a culture of peace and democracy," Maada Bio told the graduates.

"Your nation is at an inflection point, and you must now respond to the challenges of nation-building. Your generation must develop strong democratic and governance institutions; provide access to quality healthcare, and food security; make new roads, build hospitals, supply potable water to all Liberians; reduce maternal and child mortality, and stop all forms of sexual and gender-based violence," he said.

Your generation, Maada Bio told the graduates, "must make education fit for purpose in the twenty-first century, "because Africans slept soundly while the first, second, and third industrial revolutions happened in Europe, and Africa was at the receiving end."

Therefore, he added, "Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us so your generation must embrace science, technology, and innovation to leapfrog Liberia along the rungs of development."

"We do not want to become the Athens of West Africa again that is in ruins, while Athens in modern day Greece is aspiring to become Silicon Valley. We want to be a site teeming with talent, educators, innovators, and entrepreneurs. So your generation must develop a knowledge-based economy in Liberia, because that is what matters for Liberia to participate fully in the Fourth Industrial Revolution," Maada Bio said.

He added, "We can use technology to provide solutions for governance and governance processes, revenue collection, healthcare, quality education, service delivery, small-scale manufacturing, scientific research that benefits ordinary Liberians, and much more. Your generation must embrace entrepreneurship and expand the private sector and create jobs. You need not sit down and wait for a government job and an air-conditioned office."

"Always remember that you have been educated, not just to run the Liberia that you have, but to remind yourself every day that you have educated yourselves to make Liberia what it should be," he said.

He then challenged the graduates individually and collectively to seek peace to develop the country, as well as to know and believe that they have a duty of care to tend the future of Liberia.

Bio, having outlined some of Liberia's historical perspectives, said all of this was to put the history of the country into context, and to encourage the graduates to know and believe that they have a duty of care to tend the future of Liberia.

"So, always remember that throughout history, good Liberians and good people have made sacrifices for ideals above self interest. Sometimes, involuntarily so, but most often believing that their sacrifice was right and fitting for the country they love so dearly. I want to challenge you graduates, to be the latter," he said.

According to Maada Bio, there can never be a perfect union or a union of perfect minds, therefore Liberians must always remember that the lies of the wicked, and self-seeking that blind are never the ties that bind them together as a nation.

"Only in unity of common cause, because in unity of common purpose; in unity of common goals, can Liberians make the country a better place and Africa a better continent," he said.

Your nation, he informed the graduates, "is at an inflection point and you must now respond to the challenges of nation-building. Your generation must develop strong democratic and governance institutions; your generation must provide access to quality healthcare and food security; your generation must make new roads, build hospitals, supply potable water to all Liberians."

Additionally, he challenged the graduates to use their generation to reduce maternal and child mortality, and stop all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.

He added, "Your generation must make education fit for purpose in the 21st century, as one of my friends, an elderly statesman remarked, Africans slept soundly while the first, second, and third industrial revolutions happened in Europe and Africa was at the receiving end."

University of Liberia

Authorities of the University of Liberia (UL) on Wednesday, December 12, 2019 graduated 3,673, students representing undergraduates and professional studies, including those from the A.M. Dogliotti Medical College.

Yesterday's graduation ceremony marks the Centenary Commencement Convocation of the University; a record of candidates totaling 3,673 that formed the University's 39 degree-granting programs, seven undergraduate colleges, eight graduate programs, and three professional schools at the institution marks its Centennial Commencement Convocation on Wednesday, December 11, 2019.

This year's graduating class surpasses the previous record of 3,349 set in 2016-17 during the 98th Commencement Convocation.

The official ceremony started at 11 a.m. at the Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD) Sports Stadium in Paynesville, outside.

According to the Chair of the UL's Centennial Commencement Committee, Dr. Williams Ezra Allen, vice president for Academic Affairs, the Centennial Commencement Convocation is historic, not just for the UL, but also for the Republic of Liberia.

"The first graduation took place in 1866, when the then Liberia College, now the University of Liberia, conferred the Bachelor of Arts degree on a lone candidate, Mr. James Henry Evans," said Dr. Allen in a speech delivered during the launch of the Centennial Commencement Committee.

"At the next commencement, in 1867, the institution put out two graduates, namely, Anthony T. Ferguson and James Elijah Moore. Afterwards, there were short and long periods when the fledgling Liberia College did not hold graduations, for example, 1868-69, 1874-1902, 1906, 1908, 1909, 1911, and beyond. Thus by 1951 the year that Liberia College was renamed University of Liberia, the institution had missed an estimated total of 46 commencements."

According to the statistics from the Office of Enrollment Services (OES) at the University, 1,362 candidates were cleared for graduation from the Business College, while 224 students are from the Science College.

Further, 669 candidates from Liberia College; 176 candidates from Engineering College; 218 candidates from Graduate and Professional Studies; and 337 candidates from Teachers College graduated.

Additionally, 532 candidates are from Agriculture College, 65 candidates from Straz-Sinje and 44 candidates from the College of Life and Health Sciences, thus making up a total of 3,627 candidates.

During yesterday's commencement, five candidates graduated with Summa Cum-Laude; 18 with Magna Cum-laude and 36 with Cum-Laude, while Student Solomon T. Marlee, who majored in Geography, Liberia College, and comes from Nimba County, is the Centenary's valedictorian with a total cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.830, while graduate student, M. Bedor-Wla Freeman, (Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation) from Maryland County, has the highest GPA of 3.857 from the graduate and professional schools.

Lofa County has 878 candidates, which is the highest number among all the counties.

Bong County comes second with 463 candidates, and Nimba County is closely behind in third with 448 candidates. The remaining counties were 249, Grand Bassa; 243 Grand Cape Mount; 235 Montserrado; 190 from Maryland; 182 Grand Kru; 162 Sinoe; 139 Bomi; 87 Grand Gedeh; 85 River Gee and 64 River Cess.

The commencement comes barely two weeks after the inauguration of Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr., as the 15th President of the University of Liberia.

Also attended the historic commencement, was President George Weah and Visitor of the University, who was the commencement speaker at the 99th Commencement Convocation from where he received an Honorary Doctorate.

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