Buchanan — Liberia’s largest youth grouping, the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) has elected its first female president, Ms. Banica Stephanie Elliot in its 48 years of existence.
Ms. Elliot was elected in a landslide victory at FLY’s 7th general assembly convened in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County was held under the theme ‘Enforcing the Youth Agenda continuing the Journey in Unity’ with over 300 Youth delegates from different youth institutions from across the 15 counties of Liberia.
Ms. Elliot contested against the former president of the University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU), Flomo Mau Maiwo and won with the vote margin of 214 to 16.
Prior to her election, she initially served FLY as its 2nd Vice President. She is a graduate of the University of Liberia and the Bluecrest University College Liberia, bagging a Bachelor’s of Science degree in both Economics and Information Technology with distinction (CUM LADE).
She is a Fellow of the Young Political Leadership School of Africa and has indulged her career with acclaims of professional certificates in organizational development, program planning, advocacy, diplomacy, among others. Internationally, she is associated with the Folke Bernadotte Academy (Sweden); Diplomacy at the International Diplomacy Conference (Ghana); UN Climate Change COP 26, Glasgow, United Kingdom; Fellow, Getting Ready to Lead (United States of America – National Democratic Institute (NDI), among others.
Ms. Elliot raised to prominence on the specific leadership goals that “Aims to rebrand the Federation as an accountable institution and leverage on potential resources and partnership that promotes the space for active youth engagements, welfare, programs and policy development and stands as A Voice for All despite affiliation and associations.”
During the campaign, she decried the lack of innovation of the institution to cater to youth issues; the absence of traditional programs that address youth issues, inactivity of youth structures across the counties, youth policy issues; the absence of branding or institutional image; the lack of staff capacity development and low budgetary support among other.
She vowed to address these challenges and prioritize youth empowerment and employability, youth program and innovations, advocacy and youth policy enhancement, accountability and rebranding, gender and social inclusion and partnership, cohesion, and capacity building.
She pledged that her leadership would fight to close the gap, fast-track youth access to opportunities, enhance hard skills and personal realization by way of establishing a vibrant platform.
In addition, she said her administration will establish a ‘National Startup Fund competition for young people wishing to launch their own ventures; National Youth Agriculture Farms’ in two counties, the formulation of the FLY Annual Youth Development and Icon Awards that evaluate and recognizes youth efforts and the implementation of the National Youth Policy Dialogue amongst others.
Other elected include Mr. Jeremiah Wilson, Vice President for National Affairs, Abdullah O. Bility, Vice President for International Affairs, Emmanuel Varney Tamba, Coordinator, Region One; Benetta Kollie, Coordinator, Region Two, and Maxlord Hinson, Coordinator, Region Three and Ernest Duku Jallah, Secretary General (Head of Secretariat), among others.
The Federation of Liberian Youth is an umbrella organization of Youth and students in Liberia. It is clothed with the responsibility of coordinating and organizing the activities of the youthful population of Liberia. Since its enactment into law by an Act of the National Legislation in January 1974, FLY has been a broad based democratic pluralistic, non-governmental and non-partisan Youth organization that advocates for and enhance the development of Liberian Youths.
Meanwhile, the election of the Ms. Elliot and her team brings to an end to leadership crisis that has engulfed FLY following the suspension of its President Amos William for “deliberately pursuing actions which contravene the constitution of the group.”
Former FLY’s president Augustine S.M. Tamba was installed as interim president and led the organization for five months.