Today, I write with profound appreciation, admiration, and utmost respect to commend and pay homage to an extraordinary individual who has exemplified the true essence of democracy and the power of accepting the will of the people.
It is with great honor that I take this moment to recognize and celebrate His Excellency George Weah, a man whose journey from the football field to the presidency has filled us with immense pride as Africans and shattered the misconceptions that democracy cannot thrive in our remarkable continent.
George Weah, a name that resounds with triumph, resilience, and an unwavering spirit. From the humble streets of Monrovia to the grandest stadiums across the globe, he captured our hearts with his exceptional talent, his grace, and his unwavering determination. However, today’s occasion is not solely to commemorate his remarkable achievements as a renowned footballer but also to acknowledge his courage in accepting defeat and embracing the collective will of the people.
In a world where political contests often sow seeds of bitterness and division, George Weah has emerged as a shining example of statesmanship, humility, and reverence for the democratic process. His momentous concession speech was not merely a personal triumph; it was a defining moment for Liberia, for Africa, and for democracy itself. Through his actions, he has unequivocally demonstrated that democracy can thrive and prosper on our continent, dispelling the notion that it is incompatible with our values and aspirations.
Let us also recall that George Weah is not the first African leader to exhibit such grace and humility in the face of defeat. Allow me, once again, to express my admiration for His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, who, in 2015, accepted the people’s verdict and conceded defeat to His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari. These acts of statesmanship by leaders like George Weah and Goodluck Jonathan serve as testament to the fortitude and resilience of democracy in our continent.
Today, it is imperative that we recognize the urgent need to fortify and nurture democracy in Africa. Democracy is not a luxury; it is a fundamental right that should be accessible to all. It is a powerful force that empowers citizens to shape their destinies, voice their concerns, and hold their leaders accountable. Through democracy, we can ensure transparent governance, safeguard human rights, and foster inclusive development.
To strengthen democracy in Africa, we must focus on three crucial pillars: participation, accountability, and inclusivity. We must empower our citizens, particularly the youth, by providing them with education, knowledge, and skills that enable active engagement in the democratic process.
We must foster a culture of transparency and accountability, where leaders adhere to the highest ethical standards and the rule of law prevails. Additionally, we must champion inclusivity, ensuring that the voices of marginalized communities, women, and minorities are heard and respected.
Education, awareness, and civic engagement are pivotal components of a flourishing democracy. We must invest in quality education, equipping our citizens with the tools to critically analyze information, think independently, and actively participate in decision-making processes. We must cultivate an environment where the media is free, independent, and responsible, serving as a reliable watchdog to hold those in power accountable.
Furthermore, it is imperative that we establish robust and independent institutions that safeguard democracy, including an impartial judiciary, a resilient electoral system, and oversight bodies that combat corruption and ensure transparency. We must foster a culture of political tolerance, where divergent opinions are respected, and constructive dialogue is encouraged. Only through these collective efforts can we strengthen the democratic fabric of our nations and secure a brighter future for all Africans.
George Weah’s legacy will forever be etched in the annals of African history. His journey from a football superstar to the presidency of Liberia has inspired generations, shattered stereotypes, and proven that democracy is not merely an abstract ideal but a tangible reality that can uplift our nations. His extraordinary act of embracing defeat with grace and humility has set an example that must be emulated by leaders across the continent and around the world.
As I take this opportunity to bid farewell to a leader, a legend, and a true champion of democracy, it is incumbent upon us to carry forward the torch of his legacy. Let us honor George Weah’s courage, resilience, and unwavering belief in the will of the people.
Together, let us work tirelessly to strengthen and nurture democracy in Africa, ensuring that it remains a beacon of hope, progress, and prosperity for generations to come.
I extend my heartfelt gratitude to you, George Weah, for your remarkable contributions to our nation and to the cause of democracy in Africa. May your journey continue to inspire us all to strive for a better future, where the democratic ideals you epitomize will flourish and guide us towards a united and prosperous Africa.
May you find fulfillment and joy in the next chapter of your life. May God bless you, my friend, and may God bless Africa.
Dated 18th November, 2023
Dr Olukayode Ajulo, OON, FCIArb. UK
Chairman, Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission For Africa EMA