SPEECH DELIVERED AS SPECIAL GUEST AT PROGRAMS MARKING LIBERIA’S 175th INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATION IN RWANDA

By Togar Alexander Bealded

The President and Leadership
Liberians in Rwanda

President and Leadership
Liberian Students Studying in Nyanza yea Rwanda

The Leadership and authority or Faculty
UNILAK University Nyanza, especially our student representative and the Dean of Student Affairs Present here

The orator of this 175th Independence Celebration of our beloved country, Liberia

Government Authority in Nyanza & Rwanda

Bassa Students and my own St. Peter Claver Catholic School Colleagues studying here

Fellow Liberians, Intellectuals,
Scholars, Gladiators and Educational enthusiasts

James Edgar Denia and team of our Bealded United Initiative for Lasting Development (BUILD)

Ladies and Gentlemen

Several thousands of miles away, we have come to celebrate one unique day with you all, our Independence.

175 years ago our forefathers gained Independence, establishing a land on the West Coast of Africa making it Africa’s oldest Republic. Through strife, turmoil and pains as slaves did they conquer to establish a land that will be free to all of us.

I need not tell you where we have come from, the challenges we have encountered and where we are as a nation and people are headed.

From the very inception we were a beacon of hope not just for the region or Africa but the rest of the world.

Our health, education, infrastructure and economy were some of the best in the world.

Today our economy is extremely underdeveloped, with only $3.222 billion by gross domestic product as of 2019, largely due to the Civil War (1989–1996-2003), malfeasance and corruption where a few people become millionaires at the expense of the poor. Liberia is like a gold mine, the wealth is gotten from there but the place remains in ruins as everyone who gets from there takes their personal development elsewhere leaving the nation shattered.

We remain one of the poorest and least developed countries today in the world, according to the United Nations and other development indexes from renowned global statistical groupings.

This is nothing to celebrate, this is disastrous but there is still hope, and Liberia depends on each of you, each of us and all of us to make our country what we want it to be.

There were times in history when Ghanaians, Nigerians, Sierra Leoneans came on our soil for education, refuge, standing in lines to get bread and sort out their health needs, that has shifted with us going to them for the same things they came to us for; we should have been far ahead, what went wrong? Our only excuse is a decade of war which ended over a decade ago.

We were one of the safest and key supporters of Pan Africanism helping the likes of Nelson Mandela to stay on our soil during the Apartheid Struggle, holding the OAU summit on our soil, making an AU Head, ECOWAS Chairman, only nation that had one of its sons winning the Ballon D’ior or the World Best. Rich in natural resources: gold diamonds, iron ore etc!

All these accolades could make us a tourist destination but today we remain an underdog, we seem to tie all to the war but we alone didn’t fight war, some like here in Rwanda had carnage but they surmounted that and today they are a shining star in Africa. With limited or no resources at, completely landlocked, small corporate opportunities yet it remains one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world.

I understand I am in a TOWN, Nyanza, Rwanda, I don’t need to tell you, in our Liberia none of you would live in a town, why because it would lack electricity, a seasoned university or developed infrastructure but here a town amounts to our city. Liberians it is upon us all to take progressive actions to unify, push an agenda for transformation and make our nation a hub once again.

It’s not late, at 175, we can still push our country for the development of all of us. That’s why you’re our Ambassadors. You have seen other countries and you can help us compete by telling the story and implementing when you are called to serve.

Wake up everyday thinking about being a change agent for Liberia, wake up daily fighting for excellence, get up and join forces in championing lasting solutions for all Liberians.

Your studies in Human Resources, Information Technology, Rural Development, Accounting, Peace Studies, Health Sciences etc, will make no difference if you leave here with the same Liberian mentality of going home joining ranks to corrupt the system, keep it backwards and celebrate other nations. Liberia is one of the few places on the planet where we celebrate thieves and lambast upright, courageous and truth telling men and women, may this not be you, AMEN.

Yes Rwanda is the Cleanest in Africa, Singapore in Africa, yes the infrastructures are superb, the road network well connected, the system is in tact, security is unique, these are the stories I have been told since I arrived here, however how we give our nation the same attributes depends on all of us.

Some of you will leave here to become Ministers, Representatives, Senators, Mayors, Departmental Heads, Lawyers, Corporate Managers, etc ask yourself every time you sit in a portfolio of authority, am I making Liberia my Rwanda? Can I invite some of my friends from Rwanda here and will they be proud of how far my country has come? Can I make my educational system the same as them so they too can begin running on our soil to study or what difference can I make unique from here? That’s constructive jealousy, let’s make the difference!

Our nation, remember that sweet land of liberty shall long be ours; it’s only us that can make it different and the time to do that is NOW! Don’t despise your youth, don’t despise age or look or height, focus on excellence, capacity and the overall love for country for only then will we move our country forward.

Rise up for change and remain an Ambassador of
our nation in a faraway land. Happy 175th Independence Celebration!

God bless

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