Nimbaians Are Good, But…

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The veteran teacher, constitutional analyst and pamphleteer Albert Porte always advised his children and pupils NOT to be “Good, but…”

In other words, do not ever let people say about you, for example, “You are a good student, BUT ah, you have a very bad behavior.” That, Mr. Porte always warned, would nullify (make meaningless, or cancel out) whatever goodness was within you—be it academic brilliance, athletic prowess, great capacity for public speaking, whatever.

For of what good is one’s academic brilliance if one uses it to steal, to cheat or cause trouble in the home, neighborhood or society? Remember the student who urinated in the water tank at Ricks Institute? Yes, he became famous, but how did he end? Check the prisons in Britain. Remember Enron’s Ken Lay, who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and went on to create a highly successful company and ended up dying in jail for crime?

A good, but… person could make the place wherever such a person is more unwelcome, even dangerous.

That is the problem with our beloved Nimba people.

How many times has not this newspaper, the Daily Observer, praised the people of this dynamic and hopeful county, the Nimbaians, for their progressiveness, their business acumen and their penchant (desire) for progress? We have done so many times, to the extent that some people think that the name “Yarkpawolo” is either a Gio or Mano name. It is not. The name belongs to Bong, Lofa, Gbarpolu and Montserrado counties.

Yes, we have always striven to encourage Nimbaians for their positive spirit, their penchant for business and their business acumen.

But there are certain Nimbaians who seem determined to undermine, even nullify this positivity, this penchant for progress that pervades the county.

Take the youth who few years ago rioted at the ArcelorMittal Liberia facilities in Yekepa, causing millions of American dollars in damage, and ended up in jail.

Take the same youth, motorcyclists and others included, who looted Prince Howard’s Hotel Alvino in Ganta and burnt down his home. But the determined and indomitable Prince, refusing to be defeated by mobsters, has bounced back and now opened in the same Ganta a garment factory!

And ArcelorMittal Liberia also continued their work until the recent go-slow, precipitated by the plunge in the global iron ore price.

And now, the Cocopa workers. They surely had a legitimate grievance—for months they received no salaries; nor are their children in school; nor are they receiving health benefits—all because, like all rubber companies, including
Firestone, Cocopa is down, due to the fall in the global rubber price.

But—and this is a very big BUT! The Cocopa workers’ displaced anger—cutting off the entire southeastern part of the country by blocking the Ganta-Saclepea road—and, in addition, looting their manager’s home and the company garage.

These ‘good, but…’ workers have ended up making matters worse for the company, for the innocent southeasterners and for themselves, the Cocopa workers.

These workers, because of this wayward, unruly and even violent behavior, must realize that they are harming their county and people’s good name. By this kind of behavior, they are scaring away investors, even from among their own people, like Prince Howard, who has dared to think out of the box, defy the odds and demonstrate that “Yes, we, too, in Nimba can do it!”

We urge Nimba parents and teachers to teach their children discipline, self-control and respect for others and for others’ property. Teach them to remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

How many of the Cocopa road blockers and looters would want the same unruly behavior and violence to be meted out to them whenever there is a problem? None, we are sure. Why, then, do it to others? Having said that, we renew our appeal to the Liberian government to find a permanent solution to the Cocopa crisis by perhaps inviting a well-meaning investor to buy the company and turn it around for good, better and best.

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