January 18, 2021

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‘Stand Firm, Protect the Constitution’

3 min read

Former Liberian diplomat urges AMEU grads, others

Olunbanke King Akerele, an experienced public official who is known for preaching patriotism in the Liberian political arena, has cautioned graduates of the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) to foster Liberia’s agenda by upholding the Liberian Constitution with patriotism void of defending individual or self-interest.

The AME University is one of the prominent universities in Liberia setting the pace to convince the public of its readiness to prepare Liberians in solid and quality education.  It is so far the first to introduce an e-learning program apart from the traditional classroom lectures and chalk-board writing.  It has gone further to introduce Graduate Programs that put out 54 students along with undergraduate students on November 25, 2020 at its 20th Commencement Convocation.

In total, the AMEU put out 586 graduates, whose excitement could be felt by their marching under the hymn, “Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war.”

In her charge to the graduates and Liberians in general, the outspoken former official who had served Liberia in various ministerial positions including Foreign Affairs and Commerce and Industry, said: “Liberians must stand firm to protect the Constitution because, if not protected, we are nothing.”

Speaking on the theme, “What legacy is this generation leaving for the next,” Madam King Akerere assertively declared that the referendum on hand is not timely with a lot of ambiguity, not properly explained to the citizens to enable them to make informed decisions, and wondered what the reality of the Supreme Court is as the government is without adherence to its ruling, going ahead to conduct the referendum.

In loaded questions about the way the referendum issue is being handled, she wondered: “Why only four propositions for voting when Liberians aired out their voices during a constitutional review under the supervision of former Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott?  Why is the President not listening, and why are advisors not advising the President the right way?”

Madam King Akerele also questioned the National Elections Commission’s role in the referendum, as to whether it has the power to do what the Legislature is supposed to do, noting that as an autonomous agency that should exercise great deal of independence to convince all parties of its impartiality, it must review its activities in the way it is proceeding.

“With what is unfolding, should we go to the ECOWAS Court of Justice again, or do we go to the AU to settle our problem?”

Madam King Akerele also challenged the students to not rely on the government for jobs but should be innovative to create jobs through consultancy and business in the spirit of nation-building.

The commencement speaker, who ended with the singing of the National Ode and the patriotic song (the Lone Star Forever), told the graduates and citizens of the country that in the absence of patriotism, Liberia’s development agenda cannot be achieved because each person will do what he or she can only for his or her interest, and such is the issue of the Constitution, now that Liberians must demonstrate their loyalty to the state by upholding it firmly.

Former Montserrado County District #1 Representative and administrative staff of the AMEU, Josephine Francis, added to the voice of Madam King Akerele to protect the Constitution and stop taking any decision that will undermine its power.

Rev. Alvin E. Attah, Interim President of AMEU, motivated the graduates that in spite of all the “odds, the up and down,” they were able to brave the storm that they were not responsible for to come to a successful end by acquiring their degrees in various disciplines.

Rev. Dr. Julius S. Nelson, President of the state-run University of Liberia, told the graduate to do all they can to enjoy the existing peace by doing what they ought to do to facilitate peaceful coexisting, and not to do those things they ought not to do to undermine the peace.

The University as able to put out students in nine (9) academic departments that include Sociology, Political Science, Mass Communication, English, Social Work, Economics, Public Administration, Management and Accounting.  The Graduate Program also put out students with Masters in Business Management in Public Finance, Procurement and Supply Chain, International Development, and Divinity.