Youths’ Ties with GoL Not Sellout – NPA MD Speaks at FLY Induction; Calls for Sensible Youth Advocacy

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Grimly determined politicians, particularly opposition politicians, often find young Liberians ideally vulnerable section of the population and as intellectual pawns by and through they effectuate their propaganda wars towards capturing national attention and at times political power. This tendency which has spanned for decades is not showing any signs of dissipating. Even with the country’s first administration headed by the youngest president in many decades, Liberia’s young people appear divided and are in wrangles with each other. But an official of the government who was also youth and student leader is not unaware of this fact—that students and young people of Liberia have long been cannon fodders for politicians and it is time to break the veil. In fact, suggesting that youth can remain engaged with Government for their own growth and that, contrary to the manipulative intellectual stratagem that draws a wedge between young people and national leaders, NPA Managing Director Bill Twehway says doing so does not mean youths are a sellout. The Analyst reports.

The National Port Authority Managing Director Bill Twehway says the young of Liberia and their organizations formed to contribute to national development and the welfare of youth should think outside of the box, work with government and not keep themselves pawn of opposition mentalities.

The NPA MD told youth leaders that being in  partnership   with   government   does  not   take  away  their perennial  advocacy  role  or  prevents  their organizations  from  being  critical  of government.

“The fact of the matter is that, it redirects the positive energies to optimize gain for the young people, because channels for redress are readily available,” he said.

Speaking as Guest Speaker at the induction of the newly elected leadership of the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) Friday, January 25, Bill Twehway said: “In further call to action, the government plays a mentorship role so  that  the  aspirations  of  the  young  people  can  be  realized. Partnering with government is not and can never be a sellout of the youth’s cause, as detractors may want you to believe.”

He observed that FLY’s past real success has been a history of struggle, wrapped in conflict and agitations, while serving the interest of few political elites and leaving its membership base –  the  young  people, behind.”

Mr. Twehway said while this narrative may seem to create a bleak picture of FLY, on contrary it is a call to action for the organization to rediscover its true potential and role in society.

“I foresee a vibrant future  for  FLY  to  accomplish  its  goals  because  it  now  has  a platform wherein the current leadership of the state headed by President  Dr.  George  Manneh  Weah  and  the  CDC  government sees the organization not as an adversary and agent provocateur, but as a partner in the agenda for prosperity and development.”

He called on the new leadership of FLY to rebrand and assume its own identity rather than existing in other people’s shadow as was the case in the past.

He said FLY has  the  power  to  inspire  the  nation  politically,  socially  and economically  by  its  sheer  numerical  strength  as  well  as  the qualitative decisions it makes and the prudent  actions  it takes.

“For instance,” he said, “FLY can partner with government in promoting excellence in schools, scholarship and employment opportunities, and   also   putting   up   a   united   front   against   all   forms   of exploitations against the young people.”

The NPA boss said this further guarantees a brighter future for the young people of this country.

He asserted: “I also wish to admonish you that whatever future you decide for FLY, let it be a future that puts Liberia first, betters the  lives  of  the  young  people,  makes  you  realize  your  full potentials and renounces violence as a means of settling disputes or seeking redress. Make the best of this given opportunity and God Almighty will be the pillar of your strength.  Once more, congratulations.”

Twehway recalled that Liberian youths, since the 70s, have always been fascinated by big dreams of  the  future, noting that dreams  about  a  better  Liberia  were often  negated  by  extreme  contempt  for  every  government.

According to the NPA MD, negative  agitations  by  the  young  people  against  constituted governments may have set the stage for the brutal, barbaric and unprecedented  overthrow  of  the  Tolbert  Regime,  vis-a-vis  the fourteen  (14)  years  of  civil  war  that  resulted  into  the  loss  of thousands  of  lives  and  unimaginable  destruction  of  properties. The reality that we all have now come to grapple with, is that poor and innocent citizens pay a very high price, owing to the manner and form activism has been directed and carried out.

He said: “Indeed FLY, as well as other youth organizations, became an instrument that was used to fight government. Such fight, albeit externally induced and orchestrated, was never about the interest of the young people whose business FLY  was  created,  but politicians who desperately wanted FLY serve their parochial self- interest.”

“Over  the  years,” he further asserted, “the  Federation  of  Liberian  Youth (FLY) had sought to protect the agenda of a few ‘political elites,’ and  had  professed  that  until  those  elites  had  obtained  state power, any regime other than the one produced by those elites, albeit  democratically  elected,  was  often  opposed.  This  modus operandi  had  not  translated  into  viable  transformation  of  the organization,  let  alone  the  upliftment  of  the  young  people  for over four (4) decades yearning  for  quality  education,  youth  empowerment  and  job opportunities.”

Over the years, he said, the Federation  of Liberian  Youth  (FLY)  has  garnered  a  kind  of  reputation  that  is akin  to  a  “resistant”  organization, well  off  tangent  of  its  core mission.

He noted: “Interestingly,  a  youth  organization,  established  to  advocate  for the   wellbeing   of   the   young   people   in   the   country,   had transformed  itself  into  an  anti-thesis  or  ‘opposition’  to  the government.  The  case  of  the  anti-thesis  is  where  our  youth community   fuelled   hatred   and extreme misrepresentations, provocations, anti-national development programs, anti- government  and   anti-officials,  as  well  as  the  rise   of  anti- government  groupings.  That which empowers the minority and disempowers the majority of citizens.”

He called on the youth of Liberia to acknowledge many important development initiatives undertaken by President   George  Manneh  Weah  and  the  CDC government, providing more opportunities in the governance architecture  of  the  state  for  some  of  your  members  in  the shortest  possible  time.

“What  this  reality  demonstrates  is  that those young people, most of whom voices were not heard and which were the bases for unleashing the anti-thesis venom,  are now pretty seated at the decision making table of the country,” he said. See full text of Mr. Bill Twehway’s Speech on page 6 of this edition.

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