Good evening. It is just absurd the wonderful things that are going on right now, the songs, the dancing, the expressions, the reactions of the crowd. Pastor Chris, I want to thank you for the invitation to this exceptional event on this exception day. And thank you for the bountiful courtesies that my associates and I have received since we arrived.

By this invitation, I was able to visit my brother and mentor, former President Olusegun Obasanjo. To many of us, he is one of the great leaders who started the process of democracy that continues to rule till today.

As another year comes to an end, may we all pause for sober reflections to relieve our successes, failures, our progress, our challenges as individuals, groups, organisations, entities, institutions and churches.

For many, it has been a great year with opportunities fulfilled. For others, there may have been difficulties and disappointments but through it all, God’s promises have been real. He did not promise that there will always be sunshine, He did not promise that there would be a dark cloud, but what he did promised was that for every sun, there would be a rain, for every joy, there may be sorrow, for every peace there may be pain but we all know that behind every cloud, there is a rainbow. And so through it all we are here to be a part of this event.


We can now focus on these young leaders. Because of them tonight, we are blessed. And as we look forward to the coming year, where there are uncertainties, complexities; (uncertainties because we do not know where our democracy is heading, complexities because we see climate change and all that that brings), isolationism, the retreat from all those values that our fathers knew but we all know that we can stand in the faith of our fathers, our forefathers and our forefathers.

We can stand on them as we walk boldly into the future, relying on their faith, knowing that without commitments to ourselves, we can’t have what we looked for in this life.

We know that as we stand, we can look at what someone like Pastor Chris has done. How does one person, one man of God be able to change so many lives, it can only be because of the spirit of caring and sharing, the spirit that is imparted in someone who feels that life is not complete until that life is changing the lives of others.

Pastor Chris, I want to praise God for you. I want to praise you for all that you have done. As I looked at all of the accolations that you have received from all over the world, that can only come from a true believe in someone who deserves so much.

I had the opportunity of meeting yesterday with the 2018 award winners of the Future Africa Leaders Award. What a wonderful experience. I was questioned by them on the details of the policy path that I pursued to achieve Liberia’s progress and debt relief. I tried to tell them what it took to bring a team of young people like themselves together, perhaps at a higher professional level and to see what they were able to do, but with my guidance. And they were able to do just that.

I was asked about the measures and approaches required to bring more equity and participation of women and youths, and I could say to them, why much has been done, in all our countries today at least 65% of our population are youth, yes we have come a long way and we have a much longer way to go.

I could say to them about women and the fact that there too our work is incomplete. We have to continue to ensure that gender equity becomes a part of the value system of every country in the world.


I was asked about why it has taken us so long, for Africa, to move away from the trappings of colonialism, why have we not been able to achieve this economic transformation that we all talk about? And they drove me in there. They asked me as an African leader to account, to speak up, to say to them, what are we waiting for?

I said to them in our interaction, one so intensed, as they quest me and challenge me and questioned me, I said to them, we have come a long way and Africa indeed has made progress.

Today, despite all of the changes that we now see and we go into the new year, not knowing what we would face, today we can say that Africa has taken charge of it’s own destiny. Why others may say that we need to move at a faster pace, yes, we do need to move at a faster pace but I say to the young people, that is why you are now the future of Africa. It is you that we now look to. To take the responsibility. It is you that we can now say, that we can look forward through all the instruments we have for you to be the major players the major stakeholders the major participants to achieve our Africa 20 …..


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