— Cummings Urges UMU Graduates
The Political Leader of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander Cummings, has challenged graduates of the United Methodist University that, in spite of the country’s present crisis, they can choose to be different from their leaders.
“You do not have to fail yourself because our leaders are failing us. You, each of you – today, and always, can choose to be different,” Mr. Cummings encouraged the graduates.
Serving as the 17th Commencement Speaker of the United Methodist University Commencement Convocation, Cummings encouraged the graduates to adopt a set of values and principles uncommon that will enable them to stand firm. “These include being honest, including to yourself, and demand nothing less of others with whom you are to interact. Hold yourself in high regard and to a high standard as possible.”
UMU is one of the prominent universities in Liberia that is setting the pace and convincing the public of its readiness to prepare citizens for solid and quality education.
In his charge to the graduates, parents, guardians, and relatives, Mr. Cummings said, “Respect all persons and by no means must you put yourselves down for anyone in demand of respect for personality.”
Mr. Cummings added that though there will be tough times, they will not last and as such, the graduates should toughen their character so that they do not bend easily and fall for everything. “Embrace new opportunities to learn because it will constantly refresh and improve your value.”
According to him, when the human capacities of nations are weak, that nation is doomed to be poor. “The wealth of a nation is not measured in the heights of buildings but in the capacities of its citizens.”
He added that when poor families sacrifice to send their children to school, after graduation the families have the right to expect that their children have equality in opportunity to better their lives, but however, those whose shoulders the responsibility is assigned to guarantee equality in opportunity have not governed well enough to do so for all of the citizens.
“Too many of our citizens, like you, our graduates, who now hunger for, and have earned the right to the opportunities need to lift yourselves and your parents out of the claws of poverty, but are finding the opportunities unfairly restricted and difficult to come by.”
He said rather than change, Liberians continue to see their nation governed in a way that excludes citizens from the rights and privileges to which all citizens ought to be equally entitled.
“Yesterday, the same people who called and agitated for change — who promised a new dawn of equality of all Liberians — are today, committing the same wrongs, and worsening the already difficult conditions of the country for our people.”
According to him, in spite of our superficial differences in identities, the fact is that if Liberia cannot care for Liberians — if Liberians cannot find at home, in the land of their birth the best chances to succeed in life — no country will care for Liberians more, and no country will provide more for a Liberian success.
He said the government’s failure to live up to its campaign promises has led the country to remain poor, rent-seeking, and continue to beg for handouts, budget support to pay public officials and civil servants.
“We will continue to be ridiculed for celebrating donations of hand-pumps and a few transport buses, all of which a more responsible and less-wasteful government ought to provide for its people; we will continue to look to other countries to feed us and direct the course of our development and national decision-making which effectively undermines our sense of independence,” Cummings added.
Additionally, he said the government’s inability to provide for her citizens has made the young people to escape to “greener pastures” and away from the harsh realities in the incompetent and corrupt management of the nation’s resources at every available opportunity.
Instead of the government building the nation, Mr. Cummings added, they continue to divide, deny and deceive their citizens. “They are hellbent on building what they like to call a “mighty party” but what they really mean is a commitment to generate ill-gotten wealth for themselves and their friends as they render the country poorer and drain the nation of hope.”
According to him, Liberians do not need any foreign government, or their officials, to tell them that the government is kleptocratic and politically corrupt. The leaders of our government find a way to prove that they are kleptocratic — that they cannot control their insatiable appetites not to steal from us. And each day, the leaders of our government, either by commission or omission, act to confirm that they are politically corrupt and dangerously inept.