President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday, October 2, 2017, returned home from the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the United States of America, with a grateful heart.
“I will bless the Lord at all times. His praises will always be in my mouth,” the President said as she mounted to pulpit to address a huge congregation during a thanksgiving service in honor of her safe return home at the Philadelphia Central Church in Monrovia.
According to an executive Mansion release, the President was returning from her last participation in the UN General Assembly in her capacity as Liberian Head of state.
Earlier, upon arrival, President Sirleaf shunned the usual arousing welcome upon touching down at the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County, sending to the church all who had wanted to welcome her. She said Liberia was not in need of celebration but rather prayers.
While thanking religious leaders, government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and Liberians, President Sirleaf said as her administration enters its final days it was time to be thankful to everyone for the support and opportunity to serve. She said this sense of
gratitude for the overwhelming support from Liberians across the length and breadth of the country for ensuring peace, stability and development in Liberia during the past 11 yearsprompted her nationwide tour earlier this year.
“And I went back to say to the chiefs; and the elders; and the zoos; and the market women and the young people… this peace that we have, we could not have had it without you,” President Sirleaf asserted. The Liberia leader said as she engaged citizens in town halls and along the road, she wanted them to know that the country’s current progress was not a unilateral effort but rather a collective initiative in which they all contributed.
The President also stressed that during the tour she was quite mindful of the level of work still needed to be done but that her administration could not do all and quite conscious that the succeeding leadership would continue the work. “We did not stop there; we decided to go to the
International community, because I think many people do not realize the extent of the support that we get to achieve what we achieved. They don’t understand the partnership and the relationship that needs to be developed if you are to get that support that you need,” she observed.
With a blustering applause, the President continued to explain how she was able to, on behalf of Liberia, express gratitude to the United Nations and other international organizations for the support.
“First to the United Nations to say thank you for the peace we have; if we did not have peace keepers here, probably we would have had more problems.
If we did not have those agencies and those programs here, with our limited resources we would not have achieved the things we wanted,” President Sirleaf noted.
The Liberian leader told the congregation that while expressing gratitude to the world for its investments in Liberia, she was keen about more global support to Liberia even after she departs the Liberian presidency.
“We met all the major international NGOs, not only to tell them thanks but
to tell them to continue to remember Liberia, to continue to support Liberia”, President Sirleaf assured Liberians.
President Sirleaf, while in the United States, addressed the US congress including the Republican and Democrats with the same message of gratitude and call for sustained support to Liberia. “There were times when maybe the US administration was not fully responding to our request but the Congress stood firm for Liberia and said yes we have to do what is necessary.”
The Liberia leader reiterated her call for the United States, the World’s first nation to stand firm in demonstrating leadership to prevent the establishment of a vacuum in global leader in the face of difficult situations. “They (United States) have to continue to promote the good
governance and democracy they have supported not only in Liberia but across the world.
“Americans, we said to them, Liberia is a place that you have made a major investment; and that it was now time that the return on that investment to be increased and that means we can’t stop now. And that means you can’t stop[ now, you got to keep supporting Liberia reaching the point
where we have come along with but still have a long way to go.”
The release quotes the President as further stating that she also traveled to Nairobi in Kenya where she was working at the City Bank before accepting the call for national leadership in Liberia. Her visit there was to appreciate co-workers for the support and collaboration they enjoyed.
The service was marked by prayers said by some of Liberia’s prominent religious leaders including Bishops Nathaniel Zaway, George Harris, Isaac Winker, Wollo Belleh, among others. Prayers were said not only thanking God for his grace and wisdom bestowed on the President over the last 11 years but also to intercede for a peaceful election on October 10.