Our Nimba Correspondent Ishmael Menkor last Wednesday sent in a story of a Mandingo rally in Ganta, during which they called for greater inclusion of their tribesmen and women in the county’s administration.
We find this both a realistic and reasonable plea. It is realistic because they know that although they are quite prominent in the county’s business sector, they are a minority ethnic group in Nimba. It is reasonable because being a group with considerable economic power, it makes sense to bring them into governance because that may cause them to feel that they have a greater stake in the county’s success story—in terms, not only of political, but also socioeconomic and cultural relevancy.
All of the educational institutions in Nimba should strive to recruit talented, ambitious and progressive students from all ethnic groups, because their success tomorrow in the economic, political or social arena would bring credit to their respective alma maters.
That is why in many countries across the globe, schools and institutions of higher learning are proactive in their enrollment. They don’t just sit there and wait for students to apply. Many of the leading institutions, especially of higher learning, go out and scout for talented senior high students who represent the vast diversity of the societies in which these institutions are resident. They seek out students from all races, religions, ethnicities, etc., who show exceptional athletic or leadership potential, and entice them with scholarships and other amenities (conveniences, facilities). The motive is that if tomorrow a student becomes highly successful in business, politics or any other arena, such as engineering, literature, sports, medicine, or science—whatever—such a student would not forget the schools that helped him or her to succeed.
We see this among Liberians in the Diaspora, especially the United States, where the alumni associations of several Liberian high schools meet regularly, raise substantial sums of money in order to lend a helping hand to their alma maters back home.
Graduates of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) took the lead as early as 1991 when they organized the BWI Alumni Association in North America (BWIAANA). Since that time they have contributed substantially to their school in Kakata, Margibi County. During the civil war, it was primarily the BWIAANA that helped keep the doors of BWI open. Right now there is an ambulance somewhere in Minnesota, purchased by the BWIAANA, waiting to be shipped to BWI in Kakata.
Alumni of several other institutions, especially Rick’s Institute, St. Patrick’s High/St., Theresa’s Convent and Bravid W. Harris, are very actively supporting their alma maters here at home.
That is as it should be in all of the counties of this republic. A wise politician or administrator in any county would do well to reach out to all ethnic groups in the county, bring them in, and make them to see themselves as an important part of the body politic—a group that truly matters and is to be reckoned with in any county decision making.
The Gio is Nimba’s dominant ethnic group, followed by the Mano. The Mandingo come third and maybe the Kpelle, fourth, followed by a tribe that is nearly extinct, the Gbi.
The Gios are so numerically powerful that the Manos find the Gio numbers matchless when it comes to elections. That is why a few Mano leaders some time ago were considering the idea of two counties, one Gio, one Mano. But that idea was quickly shot down by even some Mano leaders, who thought the county’s influence nationally could be diminished (weakened) by such a move.
As we mentioned in a recent editorial, Nimba is gifted with quite a number of entrepreneurs that have made the county the envy of many others in the country. Many visitors have come from Nimba highly impressed with the county’s progress.
The Nimba leaders and people can be sure that should they adopt a philosophy and practice of reaching out to all its people, regardless of ethnicity or religion, the county may soon find itself competing more forcefully with Montserrado, not just in terms of population, but industry, commerce, education, culture and even tourism.
We hope that Superintendent Fong Zuagele, Senator Prince Johnson and all the other Nimba leaders would endorse the vision of reaching out to all its people, regardless of ethnicity, giving them unfettered opportunities to excel in every possible area.
In so doing, Nimbaians would develop into a creative, dynamic, thriving, prosperous people that would be hard to match anywhere in the republic.