When we refuse to build a nation of leaders with vision and integrity, we have no choice but to accept a generation of liabilities.
When I saw what youth in Ghana and Kenya are doing in terms of pursuing productive ventures while I was there about a week ago, I was overwhelmed with fear and uneasiness for youth in Liberia.
The future of Liberia is uncertain. Our nation is trekking on a journey to nowhere.
Unfortunately, nothing genuine is being done to find concrete solution to this predictable and perilous end. We could encounter severe consequences and painfully pay for our silence if we continue to ignore prevailing realities.
Looking across the landscape, I see a misguided and idled generation whose future is predominantly knotted to alcohol abuse, drug addiction, shisha smoking, prostitution, gambling, beaching, begging and a very low appetite for education, innovation and excellence.
Permit me to unknot and unpack some scaring realities and hard facts about our nation and this generation of Liberian youth which may interest you:
- The number of night clubs and entertainment centers are far more than the number of academic institutions in Liberia.
- The number of ghettos and liquor shops are far more than the number of vocational schools and polytechnics.
- The number of gambling booths and gambling machines in street corners are far more than the number of public libraries and reading rooms. In fact, Liberia has no public library up-to-date.
- The number of motels and beaches are fast increasing than the number of innovation labs, career and youth centers.
- There are far more shisha smokers, gamblers, alcoholics, drug addicts and video clubbers than entrepreneurs, motivational speakers and academicians.
- The zogos (youth at risk), car loaders and push-push riders are far more than our craftsmen and those with vocational skills.
- A huge portion of our high school graduates are turning into motorbike riders, watchmen, container off-loaders, store boys, sand miners, street sweepers, peddlers, gold diggers, car washers and rock crushers.
- Our high school students have created a special day for enjoyment and partying (Super Friday) while debate, quizzing, spelling competition, press club and the pursuit of academic excellence are being sidelined and abandoned. In fact, Fridays and Sundays in Liberia have become de facto holidays where alcohol, shisha, cigarettes and drugs are profusely consumed across the nation most especially on these days.
- Liberian children below 18 years are found in night clubs and at motels while school going kids spend much of their time witnessing football matches, spending time at play stations and studying football history instead of their lessons.
- The volume of alcohol consumed from Friday through Sunday is fast exceeding the volume of petro sold for commuting during this same period. And this is contributing to increasing accident cases and deaths.
- This generation does not only lack self-discipline, self-esteem, self-determination, self-confidence, integrity and patriotism, but it also lacks the needed opportunities and mentorship to realize its full potential.
Almost everyone including those in authority is ignoring these entrenched realities in our time, but we could pay for our silence tomorrow if nothing is done now to address these heightening socio-economic challenges. There is a compelling need for Liberia to undergo soul cleansing, mental amelioration, moral transmutation, social reconfiguration, economic resuscitation and deep reflection.
The urgency to remedy these sickening realities and mounting social disorders confronting Liberia is a matter of national emergency. We can and must find solution together if we truly believe in a NEW LIBERIA. We can change this tragic paradigm together and build a new nation that cherishes the values and tenets of integrity, honesty, hard work, excellence and merit.
Let us start this campaign now throughout our nation before it gets too late to save future generations and our nation from fatal collapse.
Martin K. N. Kollie, Contributing Writer