The Liberian president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, on Thursday arrived Owerri, the Imo state capital for a two-day working visit during which she is expected to be honoured by the state government.
On arrival, the Liberian leader was taken to the Eze Imo Palace, where she was conferred with a chieftaincy title by the Chairman of the State Council of Traditional Rulers, Samuel Ohiri.
Just like Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Nana Ado Akufo of Ghana, the Liberian leader was inducted in the Imo Hall of Fame, received Imo Merit Award and her statue also unveiled in her honour.
Speaking after the honour, Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf said she was excited to be in Imo, adding that with education, hardwork and unity of purpose, Africa would soon get to the promised land.
A statement by the chief press secretary to the Governor, Sam Onwuemeodo, on Tuesday said Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf’s visit is ‘principally’ to meet students of the Rochas Foundation especially Liberian students whose parents died of Ebola.
On Friday, Mrs. Sirleaf met with students of the foundation where she stressed that education is the most effective way to fight poverty in Africa. She said that if most children in the region have access to quality education, the problem of the continent would be solved.
She also applauded the foundation for its efforts in building a community for African children to thrive and giving them a platform to grow.
“I have travelled to every part of the world and I have travelled all over Africa, I have never experienced something like this. I have seen leaders of Africa build schools, roads, give scholarships, and so on, in all of these things. I have not seen any of them go beyond the ordinary by gathering indigent children of Africa from all of our countries, bring them together in our family, sharing together, I thank you. There is no other better way to fight poverty and preach unity than this”, she said.
In his speech, Governor Rochas Okorocha said the Foundation was not set up to show affluence, rather a platform to foster the kind of unity Africa yearns for.
“What I do today is not a dramatisation of affluence as I am not amongst the richest in Africa, Rochas foundation is a dramatisation of sacrifice. This may as well be the Africa we are looking for, I do know that this institution will grow beyond me and my generation. This may be the beginning of the unity we all crave for in Africa. These children now see themselves as one family”, he said.
Mrs. Sirleaf also delivered a lecture to Imo women on the “Women in Politics” at the Imo women at the Imo International Convention Centre (IICC).