Written by F. Shelton Gonkerwon cell: 0886526186 email: sgonkerwon.inprofile @gmail.com
Sunday, 08 July 2012 19:55
Every segment constituting the embodiment of Liberia is one way or the other struggling to navigate through the storm towards dawn after wrangling and rumbling rather painfully in the trawl of prolonged civil war. The dawn has to do with brushing away the ashes of the war and replanting what the locusts had destroyed. The locusts including the random acts of looting, thievery and other human rights abuses that occasioned the war created gloom over every dot of the nation including city, town and village. Strategic places of national importance were forcefully dethroned and therefore rendered futile as far as defined social economic activities were concerned. The nation unconsciously danced to the song of self destruction as normal life was turned the other way around.
Little did the architects of the war realize that the nation would be deprived of vital elements of national life including educational activities, agricultural programs, and health care delivery, among many others. When the light of education and other lifebuoy programs cease to be in any given area, knowledge ceases to equally be. In the absence of knowledge growth without corresponding development become imminent. Growth without practical development initiatives have and continue to be our portion as a nation and people for so long, the war being the major contributor.
Now back on the drawing table following the termination of the war, the need of giving the nation a rebirth remains of primary concern judging from the countable aspirations and expectations of the average Liberian people. Not by means of magic but by vision and mission of purpose there are a number of institutions that appear to be dragging themselves towards the stage of redemption- towards turning the ugly page around and meeting the demands of the time-the time of enlightenment and positive change.
The Cuttington University College in Suakoko, Bong County in my judgment stands suitable of being listed in this category. The suitability can be measured through gradual development initiatives being carried out there at the main campus by the administration. The opportunity of witnessing its 51st commencement program on Saturday June 30, 2012 provoked my impression. I could see the potential darkness that used to host this institution during the war period almost vanished. Nearly 24-hour long electricity has been established- a medical college under construction progressively; the traces of war including bullet marks being passed into oblivion since the institution can be practically seen walking through the night yet holding a candle light-I mean the vision to redeem and liberate this learning institution from the ashes and debris of war. Life could be seen taking a different dimension as the institution gradually leaps forward. The MUTAJA monument built by the class of 2008/09 could speak to my mind in a different way. The scorpion sitting on top of the pyramid reminded me of my trip to China some years back. In China, scorpions, lions and alligators are carved and placed at every strategic place of national importance. Culturally they are meant to invoke the spirit of heroism and nationalism, if not national unity and integration. Logically, they are there to prove that growth and development are a result of being injurious to those impediments that have the tendency to divide people, destroy culture and promote corruption between and amongst people. The MUTAJA example equally reminded me of the Chinese culture. Just as scorpion is harmful to its enemies, the human society must be harmful to those things that are detrimental to national growth. In my opinion that stands to be corrected, I believe this is what the class means. The nation must be harmful to the culture of illiteracy, ignorance and poverty. It must rise above the habit of thievery, corruption and all other vices that are naturally harmful to human growth and development. This can be possible with the spirit bravery, selflessness and national consciousness.
I witnessed about 500 hundred students being crowned respectively as degree holders in various disciplines ranging from Associate to Master’s. It shows that Liberians have resolved to measure their own worth and values and drive determination to create the necessary reality. It shows that the secret of life including knowledge power is being realized by the vast majority. Indeed, knowledge power is the lifeblood of any given place. It induces growth and development and leads the human mind in the right direction as opposed to illiteracy that creates a cloud of ignorance and misdirects the human mind in the wrong direction. I think the President of the Cuttington University, Dr. Henrique F. Tokpa was right when he described the institution as “trail Blazer” in the educational setting. He said it was the administration’s prime focus to wage war against those impediments that tend to hold the progress of the institution back. Dr. Tokpa said the institution was gradually gaining ground academically as evidenced by the creation of its master’s program and an Associate of Arts awarding component in Kakata and Monrovia respectively. It also proves that the institution is firmly holding its own ground in terms of breeding knowledge. I think the government should listen to the cry of the institution including reasonable budgetary allotment needed to enhance its academic programs.
It can be agreed that Liberia had been standing despondently chill and potentially dormant due to the lack of knowledge power. Hence, it remains like an unhatched egg almost all of the times. It lacks adequate roads and decentralized social and economic activities. The road from Monrovia to Gbarnga is my living evidence not to mention those in the leeward. There is no vehicle that will not experience turbulence from start to the end while plying the road. The turbulence includes the countless potholes, the narrow path mostly flanked by deep valleys, which poses potential threats to life. However, the joy in terms of the beauty of nature along the way cannot escape the mind. Nature has been fair to us in almost every respect. It has provided us (nation and people) naturally irrigated lands; it has fertilized our soil so that there is no seed that will not be geminated. Nature gave us a shared sense of reasoning as nation and people thereby making us able and capable to steer our own destiny in a socially and economically prudent manner.
Our failure to meet nature’s demand to exert ourselves in a patriotic manner has led to our sad predicament. Nature expects us to wisely exert ourselves and build a solid future.