Vice President Boakai Admonishes Lofaians to Return toTraditional Values

Sunday, 27th December 2009
Monrovia, Liberia - Liberia’s Vice President Joseph N. Boakai is admonishing citizens of Lofa County to return to the traditions of hard work, living in harmony, respect for elders and love for strangers.
He observed that the protracted civil conflict stole the county of these traditions, adding, “We have noticed that the civil crisis stole some of our harmonious values. We have become contemptuous of one another, suspicious of the other tribes, violent in resolving disagreements, unilateral in making decisions and selfish in caring for others”.
“There were no such thing as as Lorma lawmaker, Mandingo superintendent, Gbandi Commissioner, Kissi County Inspector, Mende judge and Belle land commissioner as we have now. This is not the harmony that Lofa County used to boast of, and we must bring it back,” he added.
Vice President Boakai made the call at the weekend when he delivered the keynote address at the Lofa County 2009 Home Coming held in the provincial capital Voinjama. The home coming, the first in the history of the county, brought together representatives of all the seven districts of Lofa County from all parts of the country and the Diaspora.
 The homing coming discussed cultural activities, social issues, the rule of law, leadership and economic activities with the aim of forging an agenda for developing a wholesome functioning county.
Vice President Boakai expressed regret that Lofa County, then known as the bread basket of Liberia has almost lost this accolade. “This was attained through hard work. It meant not the dependency syndrome and laziness that we are seeing today”.
Vice President Boakai said the Lofa County home coming which will be an annual affair, “should emphasize the merits of hard work, especially to our youth...and must inculcate  the return of our traditional value of respect for elders ”.
The Liberian Vice President stressed the need to return to the tradition of hard work which, he said, is not only about instilling discipline, but also building leadership qualities among the young people”. He also hoped that the home coming would “hold the promise of removing the suspicion, negative perception and attitude toward strangers and returning to our tradition of respect for them”, adding, “W e have to discourage and abandon all the divisions that weaken us. These are the traditions that bind us that we need to rekindle at this home coming”.
He however lauded the intent and purpose of the agricultural fair held in Voinjama early this year, noting that it provided optimism that Lofa County was making substantial progress in the tradition of hard work, especially in food production.
Giving a situation report at the opening of the home coming, the Superintendent of Lofa County, Mr.Galakpai Kortimai commended the vision of the organizers of the Home Coming, and pledged his full support for the program, which he hoped would put the county on the path of development and unity.
Mr. Kortimai informed the gathering that the 2006, 2007 and 2008 county development funds were used to construct administrative buildings in Salayea and Foya, a guest house in Sarmadu, Quardu Gboni District, a commissioner’s compound in Vezala and a district hall in Kolahun, as well as a guest house in Vahun.
Mr. Kortimai said due to the deplorable condition of roads in the county, county officials have earmarked the 2009 county development fund for the purchase equipment to recondition and construct roads in the county.
He said during the year, his office initiated a conference that would further bring together the Mano River Union countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and enhance and sustain security in this sub-region.
Mr.Kortimai said during the first meeting held in Guinea for three days, participants took an oath to protect their common borders.
Mr Kortimai said in the resolution signed at the end of the conference, the parties agreed not to go back to their ugly past, and to climax the conference in Liberia, with the presidents of Liberia and Sierra Leone and the head of state of Guinea in attendance. He said the conference would be climaxed with the planting of a of a ‘Peace Tree’ by the three heads of state.
The Lofa County Superintendent however pointed out that tribalism and the non-cooperative attitude of legislators in the county were hampering efforts to chart the development of the county. He said apart from meetings on the utilization of the county development fund, it was difficult to get legislators to attend meetings to chart the development of the county , and hoped legislators would in future take interest in the implementation of programs that would move the county forward.
“Tribalism is still being practiced in Lofa County. There is need to stop this because the only way the country can move forward is for us to speak as Lofa citizens, and not as Kissis, Lormas, Mendes,  Gbandis, Mandigoes or Kpelles,”Mr. Kortimai said.