A recent graduate of Ricks Institute and a ward of the Armed Forces of Liberia or AFL, Mr. Fate Bobby Tapson, II leaves the country [this weekend] for a four-year military program in the United States of America.
The President provided the assistance to the family and Fate excelled and was focused till he completed one of the nation’s most prestigious faith-based private boarding high school.
Some Liberians see Fate as President Sirleaf’s “Boy on the Rock..,” in a clearly borrowed description of a struggling child’s condition in a line from Senator Varney Sherman when he talked about “his boy on the rocks in his national oratory some 2 years ago.
Fate is a son of a fallen journalist, Mr. Bobby Tapson of the News Newspaper, a renowned journalist who worked with President Sirleaf during the early days of her political quest for the presidency in the late 1990’s.
When his father Tapson passed away in 2006, poor Fate then only eight years old at the time, was obviously devastated as he cried and clung unto the President as if she were his own grandmother.
Ahead of his departure from Liberia which is scheduled for this weekend, Fate told a NewDawn interview Thursday evening, 28 January that he was highly appreciative of President Sirleaf for the opportunity given to him to study abroad to built up his academic status.
“I’m going to attend the Military Institute of Science and Technology for a four-year study,” he said as he went on counting the President’s support he has been enjoying since she took him at the age of eight following his father journalist Tapson death after an illness.
“The president takes me as her own child; since I was eight years old, the president been paying my tuition up to the completion of my high school from Ricks Institute, one of the best schools in the Republic of Liberia,” Fate told the NewDawn newspaper Thursday.
He went on to say President Sirleaf had six students at Ricks including a friend he recommended to the president, saying she did everything for them, adding “I would like to take this time to commend the president.”
Fate also commended President Sirleaf’s sister Madam Jennie Bernard for the motivation and encouragement she has been giving him and his colleagues that are being supported by the president.
“I have never dreamed of this opportunity,” he said, adding that he is grateful to know the President of the Republic of Liberia.
He recalled how upon his father Tapson’s death, President Sirleaf and her entourage visited his home in the slum community situated in the St. Paul Bridge area. Madam Sirleaf went in my house, sat in my chair – you know I’m living in a slum community and you know what it means when president goes to your house to visit you -it’s a strange thing,” he narrated.
The late Bobby Tapson is the father of Fate Tapson who worked as reporter and rouse to editorial post at the news newspaper; and also one of few committed journalist working under Nyekeh Forkpa and his crack team at the news newspaper.
In 1997 when Mrs. Sirleaf dared to compete for the presidency among 13 presidential aspirants, journalist Tapson was almost always there with her, and the rest know and much more find out.
Fate story is arguably among several others the President have assisted quietly.
By Winston W. Parley