Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai has called on the student community to avoid vandalism, dishonesty and violent demonstration, and instead to be tolerant, humble and honest in their dealings with each other.
Speaking to hundreds of students under the banner, “National Students Movement for Boakai” on September 23 in the auditorium of the College of West Africa, VP Boakai noted that some students have participated in vandalism, violent demonstrations and cheated; and they must change their attitudes if they want a better Liberia.
The two-day conference was organized by the National Students’ Movement, and the vice president was invited to share his life story with students from different schools across the country.
He narrated that he was the fifth born of his mother, as his name Nyumah connotes in his ethnic Kissi tradition; that he did not find life easy and had to work diligently; and was even humiliated when he lived with some relatives.
He however recounted that during those difficult days, his food was placed in a defecating bucket, that he would fill drums with water every morning before going to school. He said he dropped out of school at Grade 8 to teach and solicit funds to continue his education, adding that he also had to tap rubber in Firestone and ate leftover food from friends.
In spite of those circumstances, the Vice President maintained that he remained determined, which contrasted the saying that “A person is not a product of their circumstances, but a product of their decisions.”
He urged the students not to see themselves as the only ones going through difficulties, but should remember that many successful people today experienced tough times, even more than them.
VP Boakai also told the students to stop cheating in exams and avoid giving bribes to teachers, noting, “You have to build confidence in others of what you can do, and not to get them wonder why you should be appointed to a position of trust having known your academic shortcoming.”
He indicated that many Liberians are accustomed to deceitful practices especially in financial transactions, and that is what they feel can aid them to succeed in life.
“There is no day in my life I ever lobbied for a job, but I am given a job on the basis of competence that the employer sees in me. Since I became Vice President, I have worked for eleven years without a vacation. I built the house in which I am living in five years ago, and I’m pleased to be in it because I do not want to get money that does not belong to me,” he emphasized.
It may be recalled that in 2012, Vice President Boakai, in a keynote address at the graduation ceremony at the University of Liberia, said many students who are involved in cheating have the equal determination to pursue careers that they do not have the IQ for.
He said corruption scandals are reported in public and private sectors, mainly in the banks, where those involved were graduates from the UL Business College, particularly those with first degrees in Accounting, Economics, Public Administration and Management.