The Governance Commission (GC), the institution Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer served as its founding Chairman, yesterday held a program to celebrate the life of the deceased leader and made it institutionally known that Sawyer’s “legacy at the Commission and beyond is indelible and it remains priceless,” regardless of time ahead.
It was a tearful ceremony inundated with many reasons to celebrate the Commission’s late former founding leader. Assembled at a theater in Monrovia yesterday, GC staff and officials, as well as other dignitaries eulogized the immeasurable contributions made by Dr. Sawyer to the democratic governance system of Liberia, the country he loved, served, and cherished until his last breath.
Dr. Sawyer was born on June 15, 1945 and died on February 16, 2022 after a period of protracted illness at his residence in the United States of America, where he had gone for advanced medical care.
According to a statement read by a representative of the Governance Commission, the death of the scholar, teacher and astute politician has not only broken hearts but mended them also in a vision engendered by the deceased.
“Until 2017, Liberia had not witnessed a peaceful democratic transition of power. It had been so since 1944. It’s been over 70 years. Thankfully, Dr. Sawyer worked and ensured that that took place before he passed away. He was instrumental in the formation of the peace pact that was signed by all political parties contesting the 2017 elections. They met at Farmington Hotel in Margibi and signed that historic document, which every one of them lived up to. Those who had issues during the elections went to court instead of the bushes to bring war,” the statement read.
The Commission also disclosed that Dr. Sawyer, while serving as Chair, set up a resource center at the Governance Commission, which includes a physical library and brings together all intellectual property and governance related documents and books, among others.
The ceremony held by the GC is part of a full itinerary of memorial events organized by Liberian national, academic and civic institutions that experienced the transformative impact of the late Dr. Sawyer’s life and work. The events precede Dr. Sawyer’s final home-going, which is scheduled for Saturday, April 2.
“Dr. Sawyer was not just a leader or a patriot. He was one who built humans and institutions. This is why he spent many years teaching at the University of Liberia and other Universities in the United States. For the human capacity building, he ensured that everyone who worked with him became competent, capable and effective,” GC said.
The Commission said Dr. Sawyer was never an eye servant leader, but a doer of what he meant and, as such, the solid and firm foundation built by him must be built upon and that the standard he set and left behind at the Governance Commission has to be maintained for the growth of the country.
GC quoted Sawyer as having once said: “The success of government is dependent on the ability of legitimate institutions. The institutions called for by the Constitution should operate within the limits of their statutes, but never be forgetful of the need to cooperate with other institutions.”
Former United Methodist Church Bishop, Arthur Kulah, in his remarks earlier, noted that Liberia was blessed among nations to have had Dr. Sawyer as one of its citizens. Kulah said Sawyer’s life as a statesman and an educator was epitomized by sober reflections and commitment to producing results for the forward march of the nation, even if his life was on the line.
He called on the bereaved family to take solace in God’s word and believe that Dr. Sawyer has not died, but only transitioned to a better space as ordained by God.
On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at the signing of the Book of Condolence, President George Weah expressed regret that Liberia lost Dr. Sawyer when he was still needed to educate and guide on governance and leadership principles.
“We are Sawyer’s children. We are going to miss him. When I had the opportunity, in his last days, he passed by my office, as usual of him. He was so kind and calm as we talked about national issues,” Weah said in an interview with journalists after signing the national book of condolence for Sawyer.
He noted that he was glad that the late Sawyer accepted the request from his government (Weah) at some point in time to represent Liberia at ECOWAS on crucial regional engagements.
“Only God knows the best. We are consoling his wife. She is my best friend. She is my cousin. I know her very well. We pray that his soul rests in perfect peace,” he continued.
In my signing of the book of condolence I wrote “Dr. Sawyer, man of peace, rest in peace.” He was our President. I am also sad but we are strong because he lived a fulfilled life,” he concluded.
For his part, Conmany Wesseh, Senator of River Gee County said Sawyer was more than a mentor to him and many of his colleagues who were privileged or opportune to have been led by Dr. Sawyer.
“Dr. Sawyer was more than a mentor to all of us. He was our leader, he was our teacher. He was a visionary leader. He was a genuine Pan-African patriot,” Wesseh reminisced.
He added: “He just can’t die. He has done so much for society. I am mortified by the news of his passing. In all of it, I am very pleased that I had the opportunity to work with him at different levels of our lives.”
He concluded at the signing ceremony of the book of condolence that the fallen Statesman was an honest man and he lived a selfless life to see Liberia achieve the democratic gains it now enjoys.