Shoniyin Warns Against Ethnicity, Sectionalism, and Regional Politics -Wants Liberians Decide on Forward-thinking Leadership

MONROVIA – Former Deputy Foreign Minister and Managing Director of Africa Development Management Associates (ADMA), Mr. B. Elias Shoniyin, has warned that ethnicity, sectionalism, and regional politics are poor basis for determining transformational candidates in 2023 elections.

Shoniyin said it is awful to hear some of those on whose knowledge and experience society rely, put ethnicity, region politics, religion, and political parties, before high valued attributes that can drive economic and political success of the country.

Speaking at the 103 University of Liberia Graduating Class induction in Monrovia Friday, the former Liberian diplomat predicted a continuous “miss out” if Liberians kept choosing leaders based on region, county, tribe, or political party.

Liberia, he believes, would never achieve marginal prosperity with disregard to leaders with enabling education, verifiable accomplishments, global mindset, broad-based network locally and internationally, and forward-thinking capabilities.

According to the former acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, it appears the country has been so long in despair and defeat that Liberians have accepted that their fate is to remain in perpetual poverty and struggle.

“We as a people have greater responsibility than any government, for shaping the future of our country. It appears we have been so long in despair and subjugation in our country that we are almost in acceptance that we were made to suffer.

“It’s even more appalling to hear some of those on whose knowledge and experience society should rely during defining moments, put ethnicity, region, religion, and political parties, before high valued attributes that can drive our country to economic and political success. We will continue to miss out if we continue to decide leaders based on region, county, tribe, or political party.

“Liberia would never achieve even marginal prosperity when we continue to ignore what truly shapes a country – leaders with enabling education, accomplishments in critical time, global mindset, broad-based network locally and internationally, forward-thinking, thought process, pacesetter leader. Those are the caliber of leaders that have historically made the difference in their societies,” Mr. Shoniyin intoned.

He urged the UL senior class leadership to facilitate history making through inspiration, courage, and enthusiasm.

Said Elias: “at the end of your leadership, how do you want to be remembered?”

The way the senior class leadership would be remembered he said will be defined by what motivated them to aspire for these leadership roles that they had taken up.

Mr. Shoniyin warned against looking for opportunities to access graduation funds or make names for their own benefits, but that the leadership brings practical thinking and shows genuine commitment to problem solving.

“Were you aspiring to these roles to have unfair advantages over your colleagues? Were you aspiring to these roles subconsciously thinking of the opportunity to access your colleagues’ graduation funds? Were you aspiring to these roles to make names for yourselves?” he asked.

“If any of you say yes to any of those questions, then I’m sorry that you would be missing a great opportunity not thought of, for short sighted and far lower gains. You would be missing the great opportunity of presenting yourselves not only to your fellow graduates, but also to the entire country, as changemakers and thought-process leaders in an era of mediocrity of tragic proportions”, said Shoniyin who now manages the Private firm ADMA. Mr. Shoniyin made these assertions referring to students Amos M. Kollie, Rosetta Fardolo, and Evangeline S. Bundor, who were inducted as President, Vice President and Secretary General, respectively, of the 2021/22 graduating class of the University of Liberia.

While admonishing the graduating class leadership to drive success, he also acknowledged that the role of the University of Liberia leadership would be key to making that success happen.

“I am glad that the University has today as its President, someone I have known for many years to be a great and effective listener. I urge him and his team to seize the opportunity of deepening collaboration with the 103 graduating class to make history happen”.

He concluded that the graduating class leadership can only put their best foot forward; but it would be very little without the full and intentional commitment of the University authorities.

Mr. Shoniyin is widely regarded in and out of Liberia as a distinguished international affair, development, policy professional, with over 23 years in nonprofit and public service in multiple senior positions where he made significant contributions to the recovery and development of Liberia.

His current roles as Managing Director/Managing Partner of Africa Development Management Associates (ADMA); and Dean of the School of Global Affairs & Policy, Cuttington University, are complemented by earlier portfolios, including World Fellow at Yale University, Principal Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liberia in two successive administrations, Deputy Foreign Minister for International Economic Cooperation & Integration, Assistant Foreign Minister for International Cooperation & Economic Affairs, amongst others.

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