‘It’s Not My Calling to Be Second Any Longer’

Former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai: “It’s not my calling to be second anymore. I have served as VP. I have served in several other capacities. It’s about time that I excel."  

...Former VP Boakai

Former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai says he has served the country in many capacities, including the Vice Presidency and now it is time for him to be considered for the number one position in the country.

Boakai said it is about time Cummings or any other person come to terms with the reality. “It’s not my calling to be second anymore. I have served as VP. I have served in several other capacities. It’s about time that I excel,” he noted.

He added: “The only level that is left for me is to be the President of this country. If Cummings doesn’t believe this, it’s his right now to believe so. He, too, has his right to say what he wants to about becoming President, though.” The former VP spoke on the State Broadcaster’s afternoon Show (Bumper Show) yesterday, following his nomination by his political party, the Unity Party, to serve as an aspirant for the standard-bearer position of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).

There are internal crises within the CPP and Alexander B. Cummings, political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), has expressed his dissatisfaction with his colleagues, including Boakai, for allegedly violating the framework document that brought them together. About the internal crisis in the CPP, Boakai said there is no law being disobeyed and Cummings should stop always running to the media to express his dissatisfaction about issues.

“There is no standing between Cummings and me. There are issues we need to discuss. There are issues that need to come to the forefront that we all should talk about,” said. “When we came together as Collaboration, we did not do so to fight each other. We came together believing that all of us could work together for the betterment of this country. And I believe that issues discussed among us should remain among us. This is so because we are not rivals.”

“The way things are going out there is not the way we had expected. We should be a team. We should discuss issues that would make us look like we are working together,” Boakai said. In reference to Cummings boycotting a meeting, Boakai said “The first agenda item for that meeting was to discuss people, including him (Cummings) that we had appointed to investigate issues surrounding the alleged altering of the framework document.

He had a disagreement that we didn’t have the authority to ask him and others to investigate, but it should have been another establishment within the CPP. We disagreed with him because we felt that we, the political leaders, were the ones who nominated those people, including him and that we were the ones who were supposed to invite them. It was at that point he walked out.”

Cummings, however, claimed there was no agenda during the meeting and he was in disagreement with the procedure used by the Unity Party to elect Boakai to aspire for the standard bearer position of the Collaboration.

Having served as VP for twelve consecutive years under the leadership of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Mr. Boakai argued that he is best suited to succeed President Weah because he understands the challenges of the country and knows how solutions can be identified and used in the interest of the country.

“I live here and I know how the country is going down every day. I only need the opportunity to serve as President and get things on course,” he stressed.

The former VP, who once served as Minister of Agriculture during the regime of the late ex-President, Samuel K. Doe, told Liberians and the world that no one should align him to a collective guilt, mainly because he served as VP and the government then failed to fight corruption and improve lots of other basic services.

He said “Being a Vice President is different from being a President. As a VP, you are only there to assist the President based on his or her orders. Nowhere in the Constitution does the VP have the right to go out and lobby for anything unless given the go ahead by his or her boss.”

Concerning his statement in 2017 in which he said the then government had lots of opportunities but squandered them, Boakai said he did not regret saying it then and he does not regret it today, either. He said a lot more should have been done to improve the living conditions of the citizens. He further justified that he was a racing car parked in a garage because he could not act outside of his scope of operations and mandate as VP.

“Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and I were good friends and we are still good friends, I believe. I can’t recall when we had conflict and could not work together. I understood her and so I worked with her accordingly. She’s a good woman and she has been good to me,” Boakai acknowledged.

About why his former boss did not support him during the 2017 Presidential election, he said, it is Madam Sirleaf who can best answer said question but he did not expect her to have done what she did by not campaigning nor supporting him. On the international public relations Sirleaf employed to make herself and the government she led look good outside, the former VP said it was a deception and it will always be a deception if any other government does it.

According to him, those on the outside are doing business and what they are interested in is money to make one who pays them look good outside. However, realistically, he added, the people governed do not benefit from the essence of electing the leader.