(A call to the Pro-Poor government from the Liberia Information and Technology Student Union on the Nation’s 172nd Independence Anniversary)
Today we commemorate our 172nd Birthday as an independent nation. On this day, we need to remember always, that our independence was bought at a great price. The Founding Fathers of this nation gave their lives for our liberty. We thank our Founding Fathers and as a digital advocacy student-based movement, we pledge to protect the heritage and the liberty for which they sacrificed so dearly; more importantly, we commit to working hard, together and in unity, to build a prosperous and peaceful nation through technology.
On the eve of the independence celebrations, some of our compatriots have even questioned the value of holding the independence ceremonies when the majority of Liberians remain jobless and when our economy is challenged. Those calling for cancellation appear to have reasonable arguments. If we condemn ourselves to a repetition of the historical tragedies that have afflicted us: we would have betrayed the drive, ambition, and sacrifice that our founding founders bequeathed to us 172 years ago. There is still hope for Liberia since technology is yet to be taken seriously in Liberia.
Fellow Liberians, Today we also celebrate a re-birth of the nation; a shift from the old to the new. Today, we celebrate what our founding fathers imagined and created, but we also celebrate the generational transition from their generation to ours. For a long time now, many in our political arena have believed that politics matters more than economic development. Which have drawn Liberians into squabbles? For 172 years, we have squabbled over politics for politics’ sake and squandered economic opportunities that would have made a difference in the lives of our people.
To be clear, there is abundant evidence that focusing on digital economic development transforms nations. If we want Liberia to become a developed nation, Technology is the answer in this information age. No country can get develop without technology. Over the one hundred and seventy years, we have seen countries that focused on development through technology, and nothing but development through technology, leap from poverty to prosperity. Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa are a shining example. They focused on using technology to build their economy and Liberia is no exception.
We are 172 years today, we are very old as a nation in backwardness, and it is time to reflect on where we are as a nation? Where do we want to get to as a nation? When do we want to get there? And what do we need to do in order to get there? One of the things we need to do in order to get there as a nation is to prioritize technology in this digital revolution. Technology can solve the 172 years problem of our nation. Technology can solve the messy education system in Liberia by expanding the internet to bring E-education to every nook and corner of Liberia. Technology can help to bring quality healthcare to every Liberians, at a reasonable cost.
It can enable Mobile health clinics, rural doctors who can consult super specialists sitting thousands of kilometers away using modern communication methods including video conferencing in Liberia. The ability of these super specialists to review electronic data x-rays and other medical tests online and be able to provide directions to patients in rural Liberia can be achieved by the power of technology. Many people still do not have access at all to electricity in 172 years as a nation.
This needs to be solved. Being a tropical country harnessing, solar energy is one of the solutions but investments need to be made in technologies. Also, safe nuclear power plants must be built. Liberia has an energy crisis and only quick implementation of the latest technology in solar and nuclear energy would solve this problem and remove the stunted growth that we see in many parts of Liberia. Our nation has good soil, with proper implementation of technology there can be a green revolution in Liberia, Some of the ideas include more accurate prediction of weather, less dependency on rain, construction of dams to control the flow of water, advanced fertilizers, and manure, new system for lending finance to farmers through technology. Moreover, Technology can ensure Safety & Security and a corruption-free Liberia.
This is one of the most important issues because without security everything else becomes secondary. E-governance can be implemented so that we can control if not eradicate corruption and lay down a more transparent legal system. Our founding fathers knew that we would never be totally free unless we were also prosperous. As an optimist ICT student movement, we have seen the future, and it is at hand.
The pursuit of politics for politics’ sake is the past; the pursuit of political leadership for digital economic liberation is the future in this digital revolution. And it up to us, as Liberians, to deliver it. The future is now. It is about a healthy nation, built on equal opportunity for all, dignity for all, and the pursuit of material prosperity for all and technology is the driving force.
As a radical digital Advocacy student-based movement, we are hopeful and prayed for the fact that the Pro-Poor government understands the importance of Technology and implement its plans to produce results in Liberia. The ideas are there, there is a vibe of optimism around the country but most importantly if the implementation and execution of ICT for development fall in place we can come out successful and Liberia will be a developed country in the next 10 years through Technology.
Finally, there will be a 5th, 6th and even 10th President of Liberia but there will not be a second, third or fourth Liberia. Leaders come and go, but Liberia remains. Our duties are clear as students for digital Liberia: we must preserve that nationhood, and we must achieve freedom and prosperity. If we do, then we will have proved ourselves rightful heirs of the nation God has given us. Verily, Technology can solve the 172 years problem of Liberia.
On behalf of the gallant ICT students of Liberia, we say happy 172st Independence Day!
God Bless Liberia.
God Bless the Liberia Information Technology Student Union.
We think of the future and hope for the progress.
Long live the digital fighting spirit of the Liberia Information Technology Student Union.