Fendall – Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo says the struggle for rapid economic development is farfetched in Africa and as such there is a need to encourage democratic governance throughout the continent in achieving economic development.
At the 98th Commencement Convocation of the state-run University of Liberia in Fendell, outside Monrovia, President Akufo-Addo noted that the lack of economic development in Africa has resulted to many Africans being faced with poverty while attaining freedom still remains unachievable.
“Too many of our people are still faced with extreme poverty and the struggle to obtain freedom has not been attained.
The struggle to achieve freedom has not materialized for the lives of the Africa people, it has been replaced with white rule,” he stressed.
These challenges, according to him, have led people from Africa to risk their lives across the Mediterranean Sea in search of better living conditions.
He said poor governance has ruined the lives of many Africans, thus influencing their decision to leave their homes and arriving in slavery. He specific reference to the current situation in Libya.
He wants the current generation of Africans to rise in an effort to combat the challenges faced by the continent.
Freedom, according to the Ghanaian President, would be the pathway for Africans to rise in progress and prosperity.
President Akufo-Addo further emphasized the need for Africans to encourage democratic governance throughout their continent, warning Africans against the use of bullets to change their government.
He at the same time wants Liberians respect the decision of the Supreme Court of Liberia in the recent electoral impasse, expressing hope that the country has its first peaceful handover of power from one democratically elected president to another.
He lauded the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for administering the affairs of Liberia peacefully for 12 years.
He told the gathering that only a democratic outcome would be accepted in the Liberia’s elections, challenging the Supreme Court and the Election Commission to be up to the task in setting the country to a successful transition.
“ECOWAS and West Africa is not prepared to see Liberia sliding back to instability. Democracy is at the ballot and not the bullet as a preferred way of changing government.
ECOWAS made a huge investment in protecting peace in Liberia, we will do all we can to ensure that democracy is entrenched in Liberia,” he asserted.
The Ghanaian President praised the University of Liberia for doing more in shifting the intellectual capacity of political actors in Liberia
“As one of the oldest universities across West Africa, current graduates have to believe in themselves and the Africans,” he added.
He said an occasion such as the Commencement does not only reflect on the graduates but all actors who play critical role in enabling them reach their paths.
Akufo-Addo expressed conviction that the education achieved by the graduates would place them the map of transformation
“Graduates, today ceremony is the result of four years of hard work. You are putting on a sound footing to face the challenges of this world."
"I do not know what influenced the decision of many of you to choose the University of Liberia as the university to attend; for some it may be a decision away from home as you seek to establish your independence from parents, for some it may be the university near your home, for some, it may be you and your friend may the decision together, for some you want to be part of what the University of Liberia stands for,” he averred.
At the same time, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the University of Liberia has gone through some difficult challenges but there are some gains at the institution during her presidential tenure.
In spite of these challenges, the effort of each student at the UL according to Sirleaf must be applied in arriving at a fruitful result.
“Today, I say I’m proud of all of you graduates, I am proud of this university family from Dr. Dennis and now Dr. Weeks with a progressive transformation that we now see,” President Sirleaf said.
Presiding over her first Graduate School convocation as President, Dr. Ophelia Weeks praised the UL Administration and student body for their involvement in dialogue in moving the university forward.
Dr. Weeks frowned at acts of violence at the university campuses that almost created unhealthy situation for the 98th Commencement convocation.
She name peaceful dialogue as a possible means of addressing critical situation confronting students who feel disenchantment and not violence.
“Today we celebrate all our graduates and say well done,” Dr. Weeks intoned.
The UL President wants see their degrees as a life journey cautioning them to use their challenging situation at the university during their studies as preparation in building Liberia.
Dr. Week also disclosed plan of retiring 17 staffs of the University for their long term of service to the institution, commending them for job well done during their stay.