Liberia: Embrace Responsible Leadership, Patriotism

McGill tells graduates

The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel F. McGill says responsible leadership and patriotism are two cardinal ingredients for national service.

Addressing the 2021-2022 graduating class of the Dolokelen Gboveh High School in Gbarnga, Bong County last week, Minister McGill defined responsible leadership as a leadership that is responsible to the needs of the people, the community and the nation, adding that it is people -centered.

He says the interest of the people must be at the heart of a responsible leader, and he or she must lead by example.

Quoting an American Author Robert Greenleaf, he says the leader must be a servant of the people and in order to serve responsibly, there are guiding principles that should be followed, such as listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, and commitment to people’s growth.

“Listen to your people. Be sensitive to their needs. Heal divisions. Be constantly aware of the needs of your people. Put yourself in the shoes of people. Do not be quick to judge others. You do not know their circumstances. You do not know what your classmates are going through. You do not know their home condition. Use kind words to persuade people to see your point of view. Conceive good ideas. Have foresight to understand the circumstances of people you disagree with. Lead your people. Be always committed to the growth of people,” he explains.

The Dolokelen Gboveh High School is the only public high school in Gbarnga, Bong County.

Quoting also from the book, Long Walk to Freedom by late freedom fighter and former South African President Nelson Mandela, Minister McGill continues that ‘a leader… is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the nimblest go out ahead, where upon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.’

He further quotes President Mandela as reminding that ‘It is so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.’

“Liberia needs peacemakers and builders, not people who misuse their talent by trying to bring others down. Thus, the politics of division and hatred is not a good trait for national leadership or student leadership. Liberia must be united in purpose under responsible leadership. And thank God, Liberia is under the responsible leadership of President Dr. George Manneh Weah”, he points out.

On the second guiding principle patriotism, he tells the graduates that love for country is the foundation that all Liberians must build upon, quoting a renowned professor of philosophy Stephen Nathanson as categorizing patriotism into four main parts:

1) a special affection towards one’s country;

2) defining himself or herself through his or her country;

3) being interested in the country’s welfare; and

4) sacrificing for the sake of the country’s welfare.

“How do you show love for country? Your country must come first in all you do. What this means is that in order for you to love your country, you must love your family and your friends. Love means respect and show kindness. A patriot is not selfish. He or she puts the needs of his country above [self] but more importantly supports the development of the country by being a responsible citizen. What are the characteristics of being a responsible citizen? Obey the laws of the Republic of Liberia, respect your family and listen to the instruction of your teachers and professors. Do not follow the crowd. Be your own man or woman. Listen to your conscience”, Minister McGill urges.

He maintains that Liberia needs patriots in order for the country to attain greatness, prosperity and a strong democracy, saying “We need all to support our country’s development agenda. How can we do that? By using our God given talents to work in the interest of our country.”

He stresses that patriotism will require students to learn and acquire more skills, support community development, engage with positive people who are working in the interest of the people, and avoid being misled by empty rhetoric from failed politicians, who have no examples of success.

“For if these politicians were patriotic, Liberia would be a much better country. They would have done more to improve the standards of living of Liberians than the state we find ourselves. They do not have the answers. They had their time to perform and they did so poorly”, he argues.

However, he notes that patriotism does not mean that Liberians should pretend that Liberia has all of a sudden transformed into a land of milk and honey.

“We must do more to uplift our people. But we must do so with love for each other, no matter our personal politics or the party we support. We are Liberians first. Our party affiliation should not identify us as individuals. We must be identified with this glorious land of liberty. We must do all we can to ensure that we live together in peace and harmony. Demonstrate the willingness to sacrifice for our country. Support the efforts of our government to build a truly great nation”, McGill rallies .