“ECOWAS Cannot Afford Another Crisis in Liberia”

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Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo delivers UL commencement address

-Ghanaian President says it’s time to move forward

Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has emphatically said that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is not prepared to intervene in another crisis in Liberia should there be one, urging Liberians to stay true to the tenets of democracy.

Ghana is one of the well respected members of the regional body and this strong warning comes at a time when Liberia is yet to reach a conclusion of its electoral process, which was allegedly marred by gross irregularities and probable fraud. Liberia has the unwanted tag of problem-child in the region as neighbors had to intervene on two separate occasions in the civil crises that gripped the nation for nearly 15 years. In these instances, Nigeria and Ghana have always led the intervention processes.

But the Ghanaian President indicated that “West Africa is not prepared to contemplate the scenario of Liberia sliding back into instability and conflict.”

As the key speaker at the 98th Commencement Convocation exercises of the University of Liberia, President Akufo-Addo said ECOWAS has over the years made a huge investment in promoting peace in Liberia, and “we will do all we can to ensure that democracy is entrenched in the country, but we will not accept any other outcome.”

The eloquent Ghanaian leader indicated that the December 7 ruling of the Supreme Court of Liberia is to ensure that the country will have its first peaceful handover of power from one democratically elected leader to another in 73 years.

He said Liberians have done a lot to stabilize the country, and there should be no turning back.

President Addo: “The work undertaken by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in stabilizing the country after a bitter and protracted civil war, has been very solid and commendable. I am anticipating that at the end of the day, Liberia’s institutions, particularly the Supreme Court and the Electoral Commission, will be up to the task and shepherd the country through a successful transition.”

UL’s 2017 Commencement exercises are the last for Pres. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s administration

President Akufo-Addo said it is not just enough to hold successful elections every six years or to be able to criticize the government and to have a choice of 100 radio stations. Democracy, he noted, “must ensure that we are able to provide our people with a good quality of life.”

Colonial Economic Structures Impediment to Africa’s Growth and Development

The learned Ghanaian leader stated that though the underdeveloped state of the continent can be attributed to many factors, the economic policies and structures bequeathed upon Africans by colonialism stand at the core of the African tragedy.

“The structure of economies bequeathed to us by colonialism was dependent on the production and export of raw materials. Even though Liberia was not colonized, the structure of her economy remains very much the same as the others on the continent. Such economies cannot create opportunities, prosperity and wealth for our people,” he said.

He said it is no longer time for raw materials to be shipped out of Africa to other parts of the world—a situation that denies the continent better dividends.

“It is rather the time for the richest continent, our Africa, to export made products on the world market, rather than exporting raw materials.”

Time is long overdue for Africa, President Akufo-Addo stressed, to transform the structure of African economies to serve better the needs of the African peoples. “Too many of our peoples are still kept down by extreme poverty. The promise of prosperity that was to accompany freedom has not materialized for the mass of the African peoples, and has rather been replaced with widespread despondency across the continent. This is not what our forebears promised,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo, therefore, urged “the current generation” of African youths to meet today’s challenges by helping to banish the disgraceful specter of young Africans, taking harrowing risks in trekking the Sahara Desert or drowning in the Mediterranean, while seeking greener pastures in Europe.

“Your generation has to ensure the fulfillment of the statement, made almost 70 years ago in 1949 to the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly by Joseph Boakye Danquah, the father of modern Ghanaian nationalism, that ‘the two things go together, economic freedom and political freedom. And we must have the two together in this very age, and in the shortest possible time.'”

A Need for New Breed of African Leaders

President Akufo-Addo also stated that there is a need for a paradigm shift in the leadership structure of the continent, therefore “We now need leaders who are committed to governing their peoples according to the rule of law, respect for individual liberties, human rights, the principles of democratic accountability and social justice; leaders who are looking past commodities to position their countries in the global marketplace.”

UL Graduate students, Class of 2017

The Ghanaian President also called for “leaders who are determined to free their peoples from a mindset of dependence, aid, charity and hand-outs; leaders who are bent on mobilizing Africa’s own immeasurable resources to resolve Africa’s problems; leaders, who recognize the connectivity of their peoples and economies to those of their neighbors.” This new generation of African leaders, Addo added, “Should help bring dignity and prosperity to our continent and its longsuffering peoples.”

“Africa needs leaders who are committed to govern their people in accordance with the rule of law, respect for individual liberty, human rights, principle of democratic accountability and social justice.”

He said Africans have suffered too much from bad governance; and as such, it is time for a new breed of leaders who have the desire and commitment to provide a life of quality for the people.

The Ghanaian President said the people of Africa cannot continue to live in abject poverty, emphasizing the need for more to be done to change their condition.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Well said President Akufo-Addo. You are unequivocally correct on every point you raised. Africa does need a paradigm shift in leadership and that goes with shifting of mindset. We as Africans (our leaders) must not continue to do the same thing we’ve been doing for the past hundred plus years and yet expect different result; it is insanity, as Einstein once coined.

    God abundantly blessed this continent with unimaginable natural resources like no other place, but our ineptitude has prevented us to evolve; to think beyond ourselves and look at the larger picture.

    When you trace the origin of most beautiful things found in Europe and other parts of the world they are from Africa in terms of raw minerals exported to those countries. Take timber as a classic example which has helped fueled most of the wars in Africa, has consistently been exported to other part of the world since the beginning of time with no real lasting dividend to Africa. We must start thinking like the rest of the world do, put Africa first. We must change this policy of exporting mineral resources and instead export the final and consumable products. This will add value to the mineral resources God richly blessed Africa with… this will create the needed jobs and developments Africa desperately needs and change the tide of young Africans drowning on their way to Europe and the Americas seeking a greener pastures.

  2. Mr President, you are a real son of Africa. Your word refreshes and gives the glimpse of the African dream. African Leaders must move fast and put into action the dream of United Africa, one army, and one currency. Never forget that the colonial project is still alive and wide awake, monitoring us to see if we/African leaders are serious and have interest in our people and young ones. Thank you very much Nana, you are a breath of fresh air!

  3. Mr. Akufu-Adfo,
    Not well said. Sir, you probably have good intentions, but your crossover in the Liberian territory is a little too unpleasant. With all due respect sir, we are experiencing some head winds at the present time. What we don’t need is to be scared by anyone, especially a sitting head of state.

    As you know sir, the destabilization of African countries started in your country in 1966. During that year, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
    was dethroned and replaced with A.A. Afrifa. Yours was the first country in West Africa to cause a coup. When that happened, all hell broke loose and things fell apart quickly in Africa. In 1968-69, you expelled hundreds of Liberian nationals (some of whom were born in Ghana) because of economic hardship in your country. We did not complain at all. We did not expel Ghanaians though we could have. Looking at things today, we should have expelled your people.

    From 1966 up to the early 1990s, your country was one of the most unstable countries in West Africa. Let’s say more years of instability than Liberia. Fact!

    Sorry to say that a number of your country men died in Liberia during the uncivil Liberian conflict. We Liberians will forever be grateful.
    We live in different world today than ever before. If you have a suggestion or let’s say a peace plan for Liberia, present it. But, don’t scare us or become fierce when you talk to us. Please. We are not babies.

    Thank you.

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