MONROVIA – Liberia’s President George Manneh Weah has attributed his success in life from the dungeon of poverty, to the highest seat in the post-conflict nation, to his resilience and commitment to actualize his dreams.
President Weah said despite barrage of criticisms and condemnations over his educational background and qualifications when he previously contested for the presidency and presently, he braved the storm and remain commitment to fulfill his dreams of becoming a successful person in life.
The Liberian leader made these assertions when he paid a visit and spoke to students and faculties at his Alma Mater-the Wells-Hairston High School in Monrovia.
Years back, President Weah departed the school shortly after he was promoted to the 12th grade following an opportunity that was accorded him to travel to Cameroun.
It can be recalled that President Weah, during the campaign period of the 2005 general and presidential elections, admitted to being a high school dropout during a debate along with ex-Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and others. The debate was held at the Monrovia City Hall.
Following his bold and open admittance, thousands of educated people, some of who are holding key positions in his government, scolded him and considered those supporting his presidential bid as “bunch of unserious, foolish and uneducated people”.
Shortly after he was defeated in the 2005 general and presidential elections, President Weah mustered the courage and went back to school in the United States. He obtained high school diploma from the Continental Academy on September 21, 2007.
In 2011, he earned a Bachelor Degree (BA) in Business Administration from the DeVry University in Miami, Florida, USA.
In 2013, the Liberian Leader earned a master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA) from Keller Graduate School of Management, DeVry University, USA.
Despite his educational advancement, President Weah believed that his critics still see him as an “empty-headed” person.
He emphasized that though he has been consistently seen as an “empty-headed” person, he sees those negative attributes towards his personality as a motivation to remain capable to push forward.
“The only reason (why I am President of the Republic of Liberia) is because of my own commitment and resilience and what I want to achieve. It doesn’t matter what people say. For me; it’s not that I don’t care, but it motivates me to prove to people what I am capable of doing”.
“Everybody knows that I am empty-headed, but I know that doesn’t define me. Anything I’m involved in, it’s not what people say, but what I can do. I show what I can do”.
The Liberian leader recalled that he came from the Muslim Congress High School and entered the Wells Hairston on a scholarship for his brilliance on the soccer pitch.
He pointed out that following his decision taken to reject an offer to travel to the United States at the time he was focused to travel to Europe, compelled the school authorities at Wells Hairston to drop him off the scholarship.
He added that though he was given another scholarship by Archiebald Bernard in the same school, he still played for the school soccer team.
“You see this Wells-Hairston, everybody thought that I didn’t go to school, but it’s so amazing for people to introduce me as former student of Wells Hairston and Muslim Congress. I have a record and it’s not a hidden record; it’s easy to access”.
Write your own story
President Weah further expressed dismay that despite serving as Ambassador of Peace, working for the United Nations helping to carry on disarmament following the end of the civil war in Liberia, nothing much has been extensively written about his multiple humanitarians works and others.
He observed that only his soccer life has been mainly captured in history.
He maintained that his “excellent records” made in Liberia have been hidden and “pushed away”.
The Liberian leader, however, fell short to state the name of a particular individual who hid his records in Liberia.
President Weah urged the students to see his situation as one that should motivate them to be fully ready and prepared to write their own stories, instead of depending on others to do so.
“I have a record and it’s not a hidden record; it’s easy to access but they’re telling you that I have not done anything and they want you to believe it. So even the excellent records that I have made in this country-all have been miscarried; they hid them; pushed them away”.
“The reason why I am saying this is that, I read a history book that was written five years ago. ‘History of George Weah-former soccer player, professional player’. That’s the history they know for me in your Literature book. This is a book they paid thousands of dollars for, but the only actor in this country that represented you during the war; the man that disarmed and worked for the United Nations; the Ambassador for Peace; there is nothing written about me. It may happen to you and you need to think. It’s not about the story you are putting out. You must write your own story”.
President Weah emphasized that though people know and talk about him both in and out of Liberia; all of those stories being told about his life and career are “disjointed”, adding that, “only me know my story”.
He encouraged the young students to remain steadfast and committed to what they want to achieve or who they want to become in the future.
President Weah maintained that young Liberian students should continue to hold on to their dreams despite the challenges they are encountering on a daily basis.
“Sometimes it’s good to know what you want; it good to be resilient and committed. I am explaining my story to you so that you can know that everything is possible. What you believe in, go for it; your persistence, resilience and if you are hardworking-your dream will become a reality. You see, I am from there here; but today, I am President of the Republic of Liberia”.
President Weah encouraged the students to see schooling as a “friend” if they must be successful in life.
He said despite the challenges, Liberian students should make good use of the opportunity and take their lessons seriously.
He noted that young Liberian students should see good and serious-minded people within their communities as role models, instead of associating themselves with bad people who would in turn taint their character
Meanwhile, President Weah has refurbished the Wells Hairston High School, especially the bathrooms, basketball court, among others as his personal contributions to the school he once attended
“I am honored and glad to be back on this campus; I came from the slum of Gibraltar. Everything that happened to me in this school, good or bad, is motivation. My reason of being here is to give back. I will do my best and the next is Muslim Congress. I will send my people to check to see what needs to be done.”.