The political leader of the Alternative National Congress, Mr. Alexander Cummings, says those who called and agitated for change yesterday – who promised a new dawn of equality of all Liberians – are today, committing the same wrongs, and worsening the already difficult conditions of the country, and the people, adding that ‘our nation is failing’, and cannot be allowed to continue like this because the people of the country deserve better.
Mr. Cummings indicated that the harsh truth to be that those on whose shoulders the responsibility have been assigned to guarantee equality in opportunity have not governed well enough to do so for all of our citizens.
The ANC Leader made the statement when he spoke yesterday in Monrovia as the 17th Commencement Speaker of the United Methodist University (UMU) in Monrovia.
Opportunities unfairly restricted
He said too many of our citizens who now hunger for, and have earned the right, to the opportunities they need to lift themselves and their parents out of the claws of poverty, are finding the opportunities unfairly restricted and difficult to come by, asserting that yesterday, the same people who called and agitated for change – who promised a new dawn of equality of all Liberians – are today, committing the same wrongs, and worsening the already difficult conditions of the country, and our people.
He said yesterday’s graduation, and the successful attainment of knowledge by citizens of every nation, especially members of its youthful population, ought to extend the curve of possibility for what that nation can achieve.
“We must stop this foolish deception trafficked to some of our people that education is irrelevant in the growth and development of our nation. Where the human capacities of nations are weak, a nation is doomed to be poor,” Mr. Cummings declared.
He pointed out that the wealth of a nation is not measured in the heights of buildings but in the capacities of its citizens. “This is why, when poor families sacrifice to send their children to school, when the children graduate, the families have a right to expect that their children will not lack equality in opportunity, to better their lives, in a country in which they are equal citizens,” he averred.
Rather than change, Cummings pointed out that Liberians continue to see the nation governed in a way that excludes one citizen from the rights and privileges to which all citizens ought to be equally entitled; continue to see opportunities which are conferred by citizenship reapportioned not based on equality in citizenship but a warped sense of partisanship and the corruption of cronyism.
Quality in opportunity lacking for Citizens
“Perhaps the failing of the nation, and the lack of equality in opportunity to all of our citizens, are best exemplified, in how our leaders are placing and prioritizing the interests of citizens of other countries over the interests and concerns of Liberians,” he hypothesized.
The ANC political leader considered such attributes of governance “UNCONSCIONABLE,” and added that for any nation on earth, “it is WRONG and UNACCEPTABLE.”
He indicated that in spite of our superficial differences in identities, the fact is that if Liberia cannot care for Liberians – if Liberians cannot find, at home, in the land of their birth, the best chances to succeed in life – no country will care for Liberians more, and no country will provide more for a Liberian success.
“This does not mean that every Liberian will work in the government. But it means every Liberian, to the extent that they are ready to work hard, as well as discipline and invest in themselves, they must be enabled to own and participate fully in their economy, and have their interests prioritized in the management of and benefits from the natural wealth of the country.”
He maintained that it may seem harsh, but “our nation is bound to remain poor, rent-seeking and continue to beg for handouts and budget support to pay public officials and civil servants; we will continue to be ridiculed for celebrating donations of hand-pumps and a few transport buses, all of which a more responsible and less-wasteful government ought to provide for its people,” he said adding “… we will continue to look to other countries to feed us and direct the course of our development and national decision-making which effectively undermines our sense of independence.
Cummings said young Liberians under such system will continue to look to escape to “greener pastures” and away from the harsh realities in the incompetent and corrupt management of the nation’s resources at every available opportunity; our best minds will feel compelled to abandon service to their country; our hospitals and clinics will continue to be without the essentials for needed diagnosis and treatments of the sick; our public officials will continue to leak scarce and needed resources out of the ailing economy to travel abroad to get treated; indeed, our people will continue to endure the unbearable hardships just to get by.
Noting that unless and until Liberians seriously attend to reset the priorities of national leadership, be soberly honest about the choices they must make, and recommit to doing the required hard work, the political leader of the ANC and former Chairman of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) said there will also be no shortcuts to turn our nation around and that no one will do it for Liberians but themselves.
“… Government politically corrupt”
According to him, Liberians do not need any foreign government, or their officials, to either tell them or prove that “our government is kleptocratic and politically corrupt” emphasizing that each day, the leaders of our government find a way to prove that they are kleptocratic – that they cannot control their insatiable appetites not to steal from us.”
Furthering that each day, the leaders of our government, either by commission or omission, act to confirm that they are politically corrupt and dangerously inept, the Liberian politician and presidential hopeful pronounced to the graduates, “… it is with a heavy heart that I pronounce to you, what many of you perhaps already know: All is not well beyond the walls of your school. A struggling nation is not as yet ready to receive you with the opportunities you truly deserve, as a failing administration has lost its way, and too many of our people are suffering for the want of opportunity.”
He however counseled the graduates not have to fail themselves because the national leaders are failing the country, but urged them to always choose to be different. Along with the education the graduates have received, the convocation speaker urged them “to adapt a set of values and principles that may seem uncommon, and even naive, to have at this time in the country. But I still urge you to do so, and to hold it so dear to yourself that you will not allow yourselves to compromise it,”Mr. Cummings added.
Values he urged the graduates to cultivate, include “…being honest, including to yourself, and demand nothing less of others with whom you are to interact. Hold yourself in high regard and to as high a standard as possible. Respect all persons but by no means must you put yourself down for anyone in demanding respect for yourself.”
He told them never to forget that “our souls are priceless and therefore also must be the values with which we must cherish our thoughts, decisions and expressions. Guard all of these jealously so that they do not fall to the cheapness of manipulations and deceptions.”
He further urged the graduates to settle not for anything other than giving only the best of themselves, to be truthful, especially to themselves, about what they can and cannot do; and then whatever they know they are capable of doing, do it to convince that no one can and will do it better.
Mr. Cumming narrated his life story and recounted his achievements, and concluded thus: ”To all of you, I say that I know it is hard. But may we never give up on ourselves and on our country, nor let ourselves stop trying, despite the many bad examples from those who have the duty to set good examples – may we never stop doing the right things for ourselves, our communities, and for our country. Yes, Liberia will overcome. Good will prevail. And Liberia will be better for all Liberians”.