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The University of Liberia will defend the legacy of Dr. Sawyer

The University of Liberia (UL), one of the leading institutions where Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer skillfully and effectively shared his academic and intellectual gifts, assured his family and the public that his legacy will endure, whatever the changes in direction or challenges. at hand.

“So even though today is a sad day, it is also a joyful day because we have come to celebrate the life of a man who has fully played his part on the stage of life. He played his role so well that he impacted the lives of many of us. He showed the light for others to see and follow,” said UL President Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson.

The UL President added that the University will consult with the family of the late former professor to consider building a structure in which particular disciplines on governance and democracy will be taught in memory of the ideals that Dr. Sawyer carried, cherished and taught throughout his earthly life.

“Dr. Sawyer was a man of strong and enviable intellect, balanced temperament, compassion and humility in the service of humanity. His patriotism and love for the Republic of Liberia was unquestionable. He was a treasured gem of Liberian society,” Dr. Nelson noted. “He performed his duties as a professor and Dean very well.He left traceable footprints.He joined the University and satisfied the desired policy outcomes. in the democratization of our country. Dr. Sawyer laid the foundations and shaped the direction of the Department of Political Science at Liberia College. He trained generations of political science students and leaders. He was a political scientist par excellence .

Dr. Sawyer, born June 15, 1945, died February 16 in the United States where he went for advanced medical treatment. Dr Sawyer was a former professor of political science and dean of Liberia College, now known as the College of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Liberia from the late 1970s to the 1980s and he always provided leadership of the UL, even if on other tasks in different capacities.

He was a founding member of the Movement for Justice in Africa, a social justice organization very active in the 1970s, and recognized for having awakened the political conscience of the population. Other MOJA contemporaries included H. Boima Fahbulleh and Togba Nah Tipoteh.

He also served Liberia in many other capacities before his demise, including as interim president when warring factions controlled large swaths of territory. He helped organize many peacekeeping missions inside and outside the country, which led to some cessation of hostilities. Prior to that, Dr ran for mayor of the city in 1979.

And recently served as Chairman of the Governance Commission which was established following the 2003 Comprehensive Peace Agreement to recommend public and security sector reform policies, as well as land management in the aftermath of the civil war.

At the regional level, Dr Sawyer served as Chair of the African Peer Review Panel of Eminent Persons, the body that currently conducts the peer review of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). Founded in 2003, the APRM is a sister organization to NEPAD, an economic development program of the African Union. NEPAD considers it essential that African development and regional cooperation programs take place in the context of good economic and political governance; while the APRM is a mutually agreed programme, voluntarily adopted by African Union Member States, to promote and reinforce high standards of governance. The peer review mechanism is a self-monitoring mechanism. By the end of Dr. Sawyer’s tenure as Chairman of the Panel of Eminent Persons, 31 African countries had voluntarily become members of the APRM.

Born June 15, 1945 to Abel and Sarah Sawyer, Amos already had the convergence of their values ​​in his genes. He was named after his maternal grandfather, Amos; and given his father’s middle name, Claudius, after the Roman Emperor. Abel Sawyer, Amos’s father, was a staunch Catholic. He is the author of several scholarly works and is the recipient of the prestigious Gusi Peace Prize, awarded by the Gusi Peace Prize Foundation, based in Manila, Philippines. The Gusi Peace Prize is awarded to individuals and organizations that contribute to world peace and progress in a wide variety of fields.

One of the legacy projects he was working on until the time of his death is a series of civic books that the next generation of Liberians can use to strengthen their sense of citizenship and national leadership.

According to Dr Nelson, Dr Sawyer was an astute, dedicated and committed public servant and had an impact on his country. “Our fallen hero demonstrated professionalism, commitment, dedication and tenacity and served as a mentor to all who walked his path. He will be remembered for the way he impacted the University of Liberia and the nation as a whole,” he said.

He referred to the 1979 election for mayor of the city of Monrovia which was postponed by the then True Whig Party government due to fears that Dr Sawyer might win and change the dynamics of politics. from the one-party state governance system of the time to the multi-party system. of governance now known as democracy.

“Sensing defeat, the government of the day was forced to postpone the election indefinitely. They were afraid to ensure free and fair elections at the time,” he said.

The UL President further said in his eulogy of the former professor: “Certainly you have left your footprints in the sands of time, a footprint will be unveiled on every wall of scholars in our country and we are confident that others will aspire to follow in your footsteps. Even if it means achieving half of your achievements, we will try to do what we have to do.

Meanwhile, several colleagues of the deceased who worked with him during the war years when he was President of the Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU) and a strong supporter of pan-African liberation and justice through the Movement of Justice in Africa (MOJA), were on occasion solemnly seated and grieved at the loss of their friend, brother and leader.

Presidential Aspirant Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, former Representative Dusty Wolokolie, former Minister of Defense Brownie J. Samukai, Senator Commany Wesseh and his wife Medina Wesseh, among many other personalities including former Central Bank Governor, Dr Mills Jones, were present when the sober reflections were made. of the fallen hero.

Also speaking, former Secretary of Defense Brownie J. Samukai said Dr. Sawyer was never a dictator, but a leader who valued and used everyone’s opinion for the common good of society.

He recalled the difficult days of the early 1990s when rebel factions, primarily the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), attempted to take control of Monrovia while Sawyer was interim president, working on solutions to bring about a ceasefire, disarmament and a corridor to general and presidential elections that could usher in lasting peace and stability.

“You’ve heard of ‘black berets’. I won’t go far with this, but we had Dr. Sawyer as our leader who believed in our ability to defend Monrovia against the NPFL invasion in 1992. Imagine what Monrovia could have been now if we hadn’t put our lives in danger. line at that time,” Samukai said.

He pointed out that people today enjoy being called Representatives, Senators or President and Vice President because Dr Sawyer had strong connections and he networked with partners in the sub-region. and beyond to make the sacrifices necessary to restore peace to Liberia.

“I remember in 1994, when ECOWAS Heads of State gathered in Monrovia to see Dr Sawyer hand over power to a Council led by the late Professor David Kpomakpor as preparations were underway to carry out disarmament and then the elections that took place in 1997. The Ghanaian President at the time, Jerry Rawlings asked if Sawyer was willing to give up the power he had and the answer he got was “YES” . It took several hours for the program to begin, but no one convinced Sawyer that it was necessary to continue to hold power as head of the transitional government,” Samukai recounted.

According to him, Dr. Sawyer could have become a multimillionaire if he had wanted to but he cared little for his personal comfort, but for the well-being of the country.

“He was offered the opportunity to leave the country when there was tense fighting on all sides around Monrovia, even in the presence of the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) but he refused to leave the country. He stayed and led us all to the tables of peace at different ends and places,” he claimed.

Samukai said truly commemorating Dr. Sawyer is beyond the one-day occasion, as the life he lived contains so many accomplishments that probably cannot be contained in a single volume.

With tears in her eyes, Ms Elizabeth Selee-Mulbah, Dr Sawyer’s former deputy on the Governance Commission, reflected on her relationship with her then boss and the impact their friendship had on her life.

“He has achieved extraordinary feats. That is why the Governance Commission celebrated it yesterday and we are here today at UL and we will continue elsewhere tomorrow and until Saturday. His products, mentees will live forever with the wealth of knowledge and wisdom he shared with each of them. I am happy to have been among the beneficiaries of his selfless mentorship,” Ms. Mulbah said.

She reminded the audience, as she consoled the bereaved family, that her former boss was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth but through perseverance, hard work, determination and his, quality education, he became the celebrated hero in his lifetime, even in death.

“This ordinary man was blessed by God and he became extraordinary,” she noted. “The first time I saw him crying openly was during his farewell ceremonies when he left the Governance Commission. He apologized for the things he did not do well or the ones he didn’t do in his lifetime and that he would have liked to do. He wanted us to achieve nothing but the best.

For Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, the life that Dr. Sawyer lived speaks for him even though he is no longer alive.

“I’m not here to make a long speech today. The life my friend and brother lived testifies for him today and will testify again tomorrow,” Tipoteh said.

He consoled the bereaved family and assured them of God’s presence in their midst as they mourned the loss of a loved one.

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