By P. Ernest Parker
Despite being the underdog, Joseph Boakai won the second round of the Liberian presidential elections in a stunning turn of events. Boakai faced a formidable challenge in going up against a well-funded incumbent, George Weah, with a cash-strapped campaign and a strategy that excluded the Southeast region. Against all odds, the young man from Wasonga won the election and became Liberia's new President.
Boakai’s unexpected second-place finish in the first round of elections sent political pundits and observers into a frenzy as they attempted to decipher the electorate’s psychology, motivation, and reasoning for voting for Boakai. The doubts about his ability to finish first only added to the intrigue surrounding his campaign.
The drama following the first round was nothing short of thrilling. Boakai and his team sought support from various parties, including the CPP, ALCOP, LPP, ALP, and others, to bolster their second-round arsenal. The alliance of the CDC, CPP, and ALP, in particular, heightened competition, while a smear campaign led by Henry Costa exacerbated an already difficult situation.
However, Boakai’s strategy team deserves credit for recalibrating their approach in the second round. They quickly formed powerful coalitions and launched an aggressive door-to-door campaign, effectively connecting with voters on a more personal level. This strategic pivot was critical to Boakai's victory, demonstrating the team's adaptability and resilience.
However, Boakai’s journey does not end there. He faces the monumental task of uniting a divided country as the new president-elect. Despite his narrow victory margin of only 1.7%, Boakai must recognize that this does not represent a clear majority in absolute terms. If left unaddressed, the country's divisions threaten to undermine development efforts and impede the passage of his legislative agenda.
However, Boakai has extensive government experience, making him well-suited to lead the unification efforts. By leveraging his expertise, he has a unique opportunity to transform Liberia into an agricultural powerhouse. Boakai can transform Liberia into an agro-based economy by leveraging his knowledge and expertise in this area, reducing its reliance on the extractive industry. This shift would result in more sustainable economic growth, create job opportunities, and improve the nation's food security.
When we think back on Boakai’s triumphant trilogy, we can't help but notice the tremendous efforts made by Boakai and his team. They have successfully navigated the political landscape and emerged victorious despite financial constraints, strategic challenges, and tough competition. Their perseverance, determination, and grit are admirable.
As a leadership expert, I want to emphasize the significance of integrity and ethics in the president-elect's endeavors. Authentic leadership entails meeting goals and objectives and upholding the highest moral standards. You will not only earn the respect of your fellow citizens by acting with integrity and making decisions based on ethical principles, but you will also set a positive example for future generations of Liberian leaders. Furthermore, it is critical to remember that leadership is about who you are as a person rather than what you do as President. Your actions and decision-making should reflect your character, values, and beliefs. Empathy, compassion, and humility will make you a more relatable and trustworthy leader and foster a sense of connection and unity among the Liberians.
To truly transform Liberia, you must demonstrate to the citizens that you genuinely care about their well-being. Making promises and enacting policies is not enough; you must actively engage with the people, listen to their concerns, and take concrete steps to improve their lives. By prioritizing the Liberian people's well-being and making it a central focus of your presidency, you will earn their trust and support, resulting in a more inclusive and prosperous nation.
Now, as Liberia’s new President, Joseph Nyumah Boakai, we wish him and his team the best of luck. The road ahead may be difficult, but with the right strategy, determination, and a focus on uniting the country, Boakai has the potential to lead Liberia to a brighter and more prosperous future. The stage has been set, the opportunity has presented itself, and the hopes of a nation to transform Liberia through the AREST for Liberia initiative now rest on Boakai's shoulders.
P. Ernest Parker, Jr., is a CPA with an MBA/MS in general and strategic management from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He is pursuing a doctorate at Regent University in strategic leadership and provides consultation on diverse financial management and technical accounting policy issues. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Editor’s note: The view and opinion expressed in this publication are solely the author's and do not reflect the official position or stance of the Daily Observer newspaper.