President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf has promoted officials of the Armed Forces of Liberia or AFL, elevating the head of the army Col. Daniel Ziankahn to Defense Chief of Staff under a new rank of Major General which is now harmonized with the ranks of other regional army chiefs.
Mrs. Sirleaf who is Liberia’s Commander – in – Chief of the Armed Forces, also elevated col. Prince C. Johnson to the rank of Brigadier General and promoted him as Deputy Chief of Staff. Lt. Col. Davidson Forleh was elevated to colonel, and promoted commander of 23rd infantry brigade of the AFL.
The program held Friday afternoon, 9 December at the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was witnessed by members of the Legislature, the Cabinet, members of the Diplomatic Corp and family members of the honorees.
Major Gen. Ziankahn and his team of administrators of the AFL rose to the helm of power in the army after restructuring exercise under President Sirleaf’s administration with support from the U.S. Government, Nigeria and other friendly nations since her first term.
While helping to retrain the new army, Nigeria had its general Maj. Suraj Alao Abdurahman worked here as command officer – in – charge of the Liberian army until 2014 when Maj. General Ziankahn, then
Brigadier general, was inducted as Chief of Staff of the Army.
President Sirleaf who expressed satisfaction over the performance of the army officials, asked Liberians to pray for the leaders of the armed forces who were being promoted to do more in their service.
Having recalled the great help that Nigeria rendered Liberia in building the new army, particularly the late Nigerian general Abdurahman, President Sirleaf thanked the government of Nigeria in helping Liberia.
She also thanked Liberia’s Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai for the guidance and support provided the leadership of army.
Defense Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Ziankahn thanked President Sirleaf for the promotion in recognition of their service to nation, particularly for the confidence reposed in his team of leaders at the AFL.
Having recalled President Sirleaf’s previous challenge to his leadership while being inducted as Chief of Staff of the AFL in 2014, Maj. Gen. Ziakahn reaffirmed his commitment to the president and the state, saying they will not let her down in the performance of their duty.
He pledged the commitment of the AFL to the president and to the country, and admonished his colleagues in administration to do more in their roles. Maj. Gen. Ziankahn thanked Defense Minister Brownie Samukai for all the recommendations and tutilege, as well as families and friends of all the honorees for their support, saying they would not have reached that far without their support.
Following the AFL officials’ commissioning program, President Sirleaf held a special honoring program for high profiled Nigerian economist Dr. Ngozi Okonjo – Iweala, former Finance Minister and former Foreign
Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While working as Nigerian’s Finance Minister as well as in other key positions in the international cycle, President Sirleaf said Dr. Okonjo – Iweala was instrumental in helping Liberia, particularly in her successful advocacy to have Liberia’s debts to Nigeria that were in the millions waived.
President Sirleaf said Dr. Okonjo – Iweala was a champion and great African woman who is still holding higher positions in the financial world internationally today.
She said Liberia wants to see Dr. Okonjo – Iweala continue to be that light in darkness for all those who aspire for the good of the women of Africa.
Madam Okonjo – Iweala said she was completely overwhelmed by the honor, saying she was fighting back tears. She said she was humbled and touched because she was recognized by a woman that is respected worldwide and whose steps she struggles to follow.
Dr. Okonjo – Iweala praised President Sirleaf as a trained economist who worked in the international cycle in which she (honoree) was now privileged to move. The honoree said President Sirleaf has been very kind to her, and she calls President Sirleaf to get her view on issues when she needed to do so.
On the promotion of the Liberian army chiefs, Madam Iweala said she would take the message to Nigerians, particularly to her friend, the wife of the late General Abduraham whom she said President Sirleaf recognized.
She also expressed delight over the country’s economic potential after being hit by Ebola, saying it was her first time she was happy after being caught in traffic here in Monrovia because it demonstrated active business activities were ongoing.
Madam Iweala said Libria’s economy grew about one percent last year, predicting that it will grow by two percent next year and will even double after next year, saying she was so proud of the progress being made.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah