-Nigeria's Imo State Unveils A Statue For Pres. Sirleaf
-Gets Chieftaincy Title: "Ada Di Oha Nma"(Daughter That is Cherished)
In Liberia, all may not be going well for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who is being vilified in many quarters and accused of playing a 'negative role' in the disputed elections, the international community is longing after her, portraying her as African political icon and celebrity.
Facing dissent at home for what her critics term 'wretched twelve years leadership,' a seemingly growing emulation for the Liberian leader abroad is being typified in Nigeria where a statue in honor was unveiled over the weekend, while a chieftaincy title was also bestowed upon her.
President Sirleaf's statue was unveiled in Owerri, the capital of Imo State in Nigeria by Governor Rochas Okorocha. End-of-office handling of the affairs of state seems to be overshadowing classifications such as Liberia's first democratically elected female leader credited largely for the stabilization of country's peace and democracy, the iron lady and the rest of the accolades.
Here in Liberia, there is no single statue being constructed in honor of the woman whose political entry and success has emboldened women and reportedly strengthened Liberia's standing on the international stage.
Construction of a statue in her honor in Tubmaburg, Bomi County, sometimes ago was cancelled with no explanation. But nevertheless the flagellation she is encountering at the hands of her own people, she is being described a pride to Africa.
In a speech, Governor Okorocha stated Mrs. Sirleaf was a pride to Africa and an inspiration to all the women in Africa and beyond, adding that her coming to the State was exciting.
Besides the statue in her honor, the Liberian leader was honored with a Chieftaincy title of "Ada Di Oha Nma" (the Daughter that is Cherished by All) of Imo State.
According to Nigerian media, the Chieftaincy title was conferred on her by the Chairman of the State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRM, Eze Samuel Ohiri at the Eze Imo Palace Owerri.
She had arrived in Owerri through the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport where she was met on arrival by the Governor and his wife, Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha.
Conferring the Chieftaincy title on Mrs. Sirleaf, Eze Ohiri said she had done Africa proud especially the women folks and deserved to be honoured. In response, the Liberian leader said she was happy to be in Imo State and noted "Africa as a Continent and the nations that constitute the region had not done badly in all considerations."
She added that with education, hardwork and unity of purpose, Africa would soon get to the Promised Land. Beyond the pomp and pageantry associated with the honors, Pres. Sirleaf was to meet with Students of Rochas Foundation College of Africa for interaction and also parley with Liberian Students in the College whose parents died of the Ebola disease.
According to report, she was to buy into the vision 2030 of the Rochas Foundation College of Africa which has been programmed to ensure that more than one million children of Africa are taken off the streets and given quality education.
The President said the erection of a statue in her honor in Imo State will inspire young girls and women in Africa to reach their potentials. Delivering a lecture on the topic "Women in Politics" at the International Convention Centre Owerri, she added that as a continent Africa has some good reasons to celebrate.
"We can achieve our dreams. We can stand tall among the many women of the world in providing the kind of exemplary leadership that will lift us up to stand, as I stand representing women," Sirleaf said.
"Women in Africa are still behind in Politics due to social, cultural, economic and political constraints that limit their political participation. And the women in Africa have to do much more to get the equality that we all seek".
"Quality education changes the attitude and mindset of people. And equality means better performance, and also means better life for everyone. Hence, we need to put more emphasis on education to enhance performance. And that is why what the Imo Governor, Rochas Okorocha is doing with his Foundation should be encouraged".
"In our political parties we need to put more emphasis on recruiting female candidates including in and outside politics. Our governments need to do more to putting female in up and down the hierarchy. We need to ensure that we as women take the advantages that we have and develop a strategy to deal with the disadvantages we face". She is the third African leader to be honored in the state after South African and Ghanaian leaders.