Our Nimba Correspondent Ishmael Menkor last Monday treated the public with an inspiring story, on the Observer Business Page, of a young Nimba woman who started selling pepper soup on the sidewalk and is now building a concrete two-story restaurant.
It will accommodate 180 customers on a 24-hour shift. The building will also have an upper floor for wedding receptions.
Justina Dahn Yormie, 40, started her business by selling meat pepper soup on the sidewalk in Ganta. She later built a makeshift structure very near the roadside to expand her business small, small. But the county administration decided to respond positively to the Liberian government’s effort to broaden and improve the streets of Ganta. This required the roadside businesses to “dress back” in order to make way for the road expansion.
Justina was one of many Nimba businesspeople who fully and readily cooperated. She did not only “dress back” her business, but acquired more land and is now erecting a two-story building. The first floor will be for the expansion of her restaurant, to accommodate 180 customers; and the second floor will be used for wedding receptions and other events such as parties for special family occasions and funeral ‘repasses.’
What a dynamic and visionary businesswoman!
Soon, we guess, the City Mayor of Monrovia will be inviting Justina Yormie to come to the capital city on a speaking tour to the people of Somalia Drive, Red Light and Douala. Why? Remember the shameful behavior of Somalia Drive residents resisting “dressing back” to allow the Japanese government to complete the four-lane corridor from the Free Port of Monrovia to the Red Light-Paynesville Highway junction?
But it gets worse and even more shameful than that: The Somalia Drive residents, corrupt, unpatriotic and stubborn as Liberians come, have also begun stealing the crushed rocks brought to the site to complete the paved four-lane highway.
How unpatriotic and anti-development can a people get? Here are this nation’s true friends—the Japanese government and people—donating their hard earned tax yens to do Liberia a great favor transforming the dilapidated and time-eating two-lane Somalia Drive into a four-lane highway that will give the population in that area a comfortable, easy ride along the vastly improved corridor, and facilitate the quick and easy passage of goods from the Free Port of Monrovia to all parts of the country.
But no! These selfish, shortsighted and unreasonable Somalia Drive residents not only overlooked all that and blocked the road construction, they also stole the project’s crushed rocks.
Can anyone get more anti-development?
So perhaps we should invite Nimba entrepreneurs like Justina Dahn Yormie to come to Monrovia and lecture the people in the capital city, who have surrendered small, medium-sized and big businesses to Lebanese, Indians and Fulas, and teach Monrovians how to do business.
That is what they are doing in Nimba—not just sitting there and permitting foreigners to come and take over everything—NO! Nimbaians are on the move—in Ganta, Sanniquellie, Saclepea, Tappita and elsewhere, creating businesses and doing things to improve their county.
The Daily Observer has long quoted travelers to Nimba who have expressed admiration for these Nimba people, who are seriously committed not only to improving their county, but also expanding their enterprises and business climate.
We highly commend the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) for helping Prince Howard rebuild his hotel that was destroyed last year by an angry and envious mob. Soon the hotel will be up and running again and we hope the renovation will include some significant improvements to make it at least a third or four-star outfit.
Last week the new Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Mr. Milton Weeks, traveled to Nimba to inaugurate a rural community financial institution. That is a good sign that CBL, after former Governor J. Mills Jones, is remaining engaged in financially empowering our rural businesspeople.
We appeal to Ecobank and all of our other banks and lending institutions to reach out to Nimba businesspeople and Liberians in other counties who are seriously engaged in business.
This will expand the entrepreneurial capacity of Liberians, which is desperately needed to take ownership and greater control of our business and economic sectors.