The Vice President of the Abuja based ECOWAS court in Nigeria Justice Michael Wilkins Wright has urged Liberians throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria to foster patriotism and unity.
A dispatch from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says Justice Wright made the urge at the 2nd National Convention of the Organization of Liberian Communities in Nigeria over the weekend in the eastern Nigerian city of Onitsha, Anambra State.
Liberians from across Nigeria also used the event to observe their country’s 169th Independence Day, which was officially celebrated here on July 26.
“I come to you today merely to hold a family conversation with you and not with a speech in Greek Philosophy or in the art and mastery of great oratory rhetoric. Rather, I come with a very simple message: unity”, Justice Wright said.
The former Liberian solicitor general, who joined hundreds of his compatriots from across the Nigerian Federation in making the long travel to Eastern Nigeria further urged his compatriots abroad to govern themselves accordingly to avoid bringing dishonor or embarrassment to the Motherland.
“We must conduct ourselves in a way as to portray us as people who mean business and are serious about moving our Liberian Community in Nigeria forward”, he stated.
About 300 Liberians from various Nigerian states gathered in Onitsha and elected their first corps of officers after they had adopted a constitution.
Mr. Daoda Kanneh, based in Niger State, was elected as the association’s first National President during an electoral process spearheaded by Mr. Archie A.A. Delaney, Sr, an international Liberian electoral consultant to Nigeria’s Independent National Elections Commission (INEC).
Others elected were Mr. Garrison A.D. Thomas, National Secretary General (of Abuja), Ms. Fatu Thomas, National Vice President for Gender and Social Welfare ( Lagos State), Ms. Miatta Haggans, National Treasurer (Kaduna State), Mr. Edwin Taylor, National Public Relations Officer (Ogun State) and Pastor Derrick Chea, National Religious Officer (Plateau State), respectively.
Justice Wright admonished the elected officers not to occupy the various position just for the sake of it, saying “We must be prepared to render sacrificial services to our compatriots, and not see ourselves as lords over the very people who elected us. How we manage our offices and execute our duties and functions will be a representation and a microcosm of what we would do if we were in Liberia during this highly politically charged period.”
He appealed to Liberians in Nigeria to see the Liberian Embassy as an active partner in seeking their interest and welfare across the Federation, adding “For doing their best to protect and serve Liberians under difficult conditions, we, and I personally, congratulate the Embassy Staff, led by our illustrious Ambassador, Dr. Professor Al-Hassan Conteh.”
He also paid homage to Chief Cliff O. Nzeruem, former Liberian Honorary Consul in Lagos and now Protocol Attaché of the Liberian Embassy.
“It is my information that Chief Cliff has stood with Liberia and stood by Liberians through thick and thin when others of us were not available. I understand he played a major role in trying to get Liberians together for the welfare of all Liberians in Nigeria. Therefore, and without offending any of our sensibilities and personal egos, I want to, in this public manner, congratulate and commend Chief Cliff for his selfless, outstanding and fatherly role played in touching the lives of so many Liberians here in Nigeria”, Justice Wright noted.
At the same time, the newly elected president, Mr. Kanneh, said this is a responsibility that he does not take lightly, promising to endeavor to represent his fellow countrymen with utmost transparency and boldness.
The Onitsha Convention, is the second after the inaugural Lagos Convention held in late February this year. It brought together delegates from Kano, Kaduna, and Plateau States as well as the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) all grouped as the Northern Region. Others came from Ogun and Lagos States, grouped as the Western Region. The Eastern Region, constituting the hosts of Anambra, Enugu, Delta, Imo, Abia, Cross River and River States, also had their delegates on hand. Dispatch