Thomas Doe Nah: Prolificity Humanified

A Eulogy by Samuel D. Tweah, Jr.

Thomas Doe Nah was among the finest in his generation. The creative and innovative spark ran through his arteries like blood, enabling him to distill complex challenges through fresh and fertile lenses scarcely imagined by compatriots. He could illuminate the quotidian, setting it in stark relief and forcing others to gasp in awe that what was otherwise perceived as ordinary held the potential to goad or to inspire into action or toward greatness. He applied these gifts and skills throughout his life and career in myriad ways: as a sports enthusiast and sportswriter in the late eighties; as a University of Liberia (UL) student political leader quietly weaponizing innovation and creativity to nearly disrupt the dominance of the Student Unification Party (SUP); as a banker, abstracting from routine banking processes and procedures to develop new approaches that assured greater results; as a social advocate defining the fight against corruption as the crux of Liberia’s national development challenge long before anti-corruption policy in Liberia was vogue; as a technologist using modern technology and its adaptations to variously simplify, elucidate, motivate, inspire and organize; and even as a family man leveraging his enthusiasm as a morbid fan of Arsenal F.C. and his footballing knowledge to personally drive his two sons Denny and Kenny to the echelons of Liberian football. Thomas Doe Nah brought his varied range of skills, expertise, experiences and his super-human motivation to bear in his first call to public duty as Commissioner General (CG) of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), where he took domestic revenue to its highest nominal level since the country’s founding.

Now lies Thomas Doe Nah beyond the Elysian realms of life, leaving us mortals the business of conjuring up reminiscences and remembrances of his short but wonderful and impactful life. We are all broken by his loss and join the family, friends and the nation in this difficult moment of grief. His life continues in the lives he touched in countless ways, in the memories he stirred within so many people, in the laughs he evoked via boundless, unrestrained, sometimes ironic humor. No more shall we behold that receding façade of quietude he presented, only to be elegantly belied by the illuminating, transformative consequences of his actions. Ron Chernow, the prolific biographer, in Washington: a Life, captures the first American president George Washington describing himself thus: “With me it has always been a maxim rather to allow my designs appear by my works than by my expressions.” Thomas Doe Nah might have said the same thing about himself, except that he never said it; those of us who shared intimate spaces with him only observed it. He was intimately private yet more public in the same vein, a duality he nursed strategically to achieve his aims. He impacted a generation- family, friends, students, professionals, politicians, clerics, organizations and Governments through the sheer reach of his amiable personality and by dint of his versatile, creative organizational genius. He now resides at the interface of memory and history, and history will undoubtedly do more than its fair share of justice to his pursuits and accomplishments and even more so to his moral failings as a human being.

May his blessed soul rest in peaceful repose perpetually and may God grant us the strength to carry on where he has left off!

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