By Papisdaff Abdullah
Liberian President George Weah has appealed to President Akufo-Addo and Ghanaians to help Liberia to progress and succeed.
“I am young, I agree, but you are my big brother, and I know that you will help Liberia to succeed,” he appealed.
The Liberian President said this known when he paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House, as part of a two-day visit to Ghana, Friday.
The purpose of the visit he said is to “renew the bonds of friendship and solidarity that there are between the Liberian and Ghanaian people.”
“Liberia came a long way, and without Ghana, we will not be standing here today. Ghana hosted us, today we can never repay, we just have to make sure that our people continue to relate cordially, and I can assure that the relationship that has existed between our governments will also be mutually beneficial,” he said.
Expressing his appreciation for the role President Akufo-Addo has played in strengthening the African Union, he noted that “when we travel to AU meetings, like we did the last time in Addis Ababa, you realize that when a big brother speaks, you look and listen to him, and you know what is to be done.”
President Weah pledged to work towards strengthening the existing relationship between Ghana and Liberia.
“Ghana is my home, and we are here not to just come sight-seeing but to reassure you that the relationship we have will be sustained and strengthened,” he said.
On his part, President Akufo-Addo referenced the longstanding, personal relationship between himself and President Weah, which predates their current respective presidencies, and described the Liberian leader “as a symbol of the progress that Liberia is making after the trauma of the civil war.”
“I have known him for some time because we share many characteristics, one of which has been persistent efforts to arrive at where we are today. I believe it was a set time as it was mine.
“One of the things that I have discovered about him is his honesty and also his commitment to the welfare of his people. That is what has brought him this far,” he said.
Commending the efforts of former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, he said, “the first female elected leader on our continent did a great deal of work in trying to consolidate the peace, after the years of the traumatic civil war.
“And one of the most important outcomes of that process of consolidation is that she was able to organise elections which allowed for the first time, I believe, in over 17 years, a peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected leader of Liberia to another.”
“That is the measure of her achievement, and it is also a measure of how far Liberia has come to put its past behind it, and, in doing so, she chose as her successor a man who is already world famous in his other life as a sportsman, and who has now become a symbol of the hopes of the majority of the people of Liberia, especially of its youth,” he stated.
President Akufo-Addo also touched on the happenings in the Region and asked for a realist view of the imminent threats and opportunities confronting the Region.
“The world is going through some difficult moments, all kinds of new arrangements are appearing, and we, here in the West African region, must continue to deepen the contacts, the links, the friendships between us in West Africa.
He said by doing this the challenges of the 21st century, rapid economic growth, inclusive economic growth that makes it possible for all our people to be part of the process of development so that we can successfully meet those challenges within the context of democratic values and democratic institutions.
So it is a particularly happy day for us in Ghana, and for me personally to be able to welcome to our country this famous man who, even before he became a president, was a household word in Africa,” President Akufo-Addo concluded.