Liberia Honours Jonathan
SAN FRANCISCO, July 21, (THEWILL) - President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was Thursday in Monrovia honoured by the government and people of Liberia with that country's highest national award. Conferring the award of "Grand Cordon in the Most Venerable Order of the Pioneers of the Republic of Liberia," President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said it was in appreciation of the outstanding and selfless contributions of the leaders and people of Nigeria to the restoration of peace and continued development of Liberia.
"Nigeria was with us in our difficult days even before the United Nations and your people died for us and today we have peace and can set development goals," the Liberian President said shortly before the investiture. President Sirleaf, who commended the leadership qualities of President Jonathan in the West African sub-region in particular as ECOWAS Chairman and the African continent in general, also lauded the current transformation agenda of the Jonathan Administration.
In his acceptance speech, President Jonathan said "this exalted honour bestowed on me and by extension, my country Nigeria, signifies the abiding closeness and friendship existing between our two countries."
The President noted that the award clearly demonstrated the desire of Nigeria and Liberia to "collaborate and continue to work towards deepening those ties that happily bind us together," stressing that "our common efforts and sacrifices are borne out of deep commitment to peace and security not only of our sub-region but Africa and the rest of the world."
President Jonathan assured the Liberian people that "just like we stood with you during your trying period, so shall we continue to abide with you at this time of peace-building, national reconciliation, post conflict reconstruction and democratic governance."
Nigeria currently has over 1,500 troops participating in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), while a Nigerian general has been in charge of training the Liberian army for the past four years. The bestowal of the honour on President Jonathan was the commencement of the week-long activities leading to the celebration of the 164th Independence Anniversary of the Republic of Liberia on July 26, 2011.