-Dr. Churchill cautions Liberians
Ahead of the upcoming political campaign period, a one-day peace concert was held at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) over the weekend.
The concert, which was organized by Culture Ambassador Juli Endee, was attended by approximately three thousand (3000) people that included executive members of opposition political parties and Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, standard bearer of the governing Unity Party.
Dr. Olunkle Churchill, a Nigerian philanthropist who served as one of the three keynote speakers, said as campaign period begins, all Liberians need to remain peaceful during and after the electioneering period, especially after the elections in October.
Dr. Churchill is the founder of the charity organization, “Big Church Foundation.”
He said that during the period of campaigning, Liberians and aliens residing in our midst should avoid any situation that would ignite crisis, and should rather remain peaceful to have violence-free elections.
Churchill said Liberians need to shun the widespread use of social media, especially Facebook, to spew hateful messages on the basis of ethnicity, “because those are vices that have the propensity to cause chaos.”
“This is totally unacceptable and disheartening; and therefore, those in that habit must stop immediately,” he cautioned.
He said “this kind of the social media usage is reckless,” and when continued, would inevitably lead to chaotic situations.
“A peaceful poll is the only way for development and the provision of social services to any country, be it Liberia. This level of peace in the country can be maintained only when this election is free of any form of violence, because it is time that Liberians prove to the rest of the world that they can hold peaceful elections,” Dr. Churchill said.
He reminded his audience to reflect on the country’s past, and to consider the upcoming electoral events as the biggest test to Liberia’s democracy.
“No matter the situations, don’t get on the streets. Don’t allow politicians to use you to damage this beautiful country. If anyone feels cheated or observed foul play in the process, ask them to make use of the law to challenge the results through the court, but not by violent means,” Churchill added.
Dr. Churchill noted that a lot of investments have been made in Liberia; “therefore, any attempt as citizens to listen to politicians and engage in violence right after the October 10 polls will be the beginning of more setbacks to come for a country that has suffered decades-long internal conflicts.”
Meanwhile Dr. Churchill has called on politicians to preach what they can do to develop Liberia, and to avoid ethic-based politics, which has the propensity to derail the country’s progress.
Vice President Boakai also cautioned citizens not to engage in any violent behavior during and after the conduct of the polls. He recalled how Liberia has paid a heavy price for the current peace that everyone is enjoying; therefore, he said, “it is very important to maintain this trend of event.”
“I know Liberians are peace-loving and respectful people. So I trust their ability to maintain this peace,” Boakai said.