-Benoni Urey on PYJ Terms
The merger of the Movement of Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) of Senator Prince Y. Johnson, the All Liberian Party (ALP) of Benoni Urey, and the Liberian National Union (LINU) of Nathaniel Blama, is right on course, according to Mr. Urey.
The merger was consummated a fortnight ago, but minutes after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Senator Johnson said in an interview that there was no reason why he should not head the coalition.
“I must go first. Mr. Urey has no political experience, so I can’t go under him. I have contested elections. I contested the senatorial elections twice and won,” Sen. Johnson contended.
“I came third in the presidential elections in 2011. I am a member of the ECOWAS Parliament. How can I go second to Urey?” he persisted.
But businessman Urey, at a recent press conference held at the ALP headquarters, appeared confident that Senator Johnson’s comments would not jeopardize the ongoing merger talks among the three parties.
“He is not wrong to say he wants to head the merger. Any one of us would have said the same. It is his right to want to, it is my right, and it is also Blama’s right. So I don’t know why people are taking his comments out of context,” Urey said.
All the leaders of the collaborating political parties are ambitious politicians who in one way or another want to help build the country, “so it is no crime if someone wants to head the merger,” Urey observed.
The Declaration of Intent (DOI) for a merger was signed by the leaders of the three parties on April 21 at the MDR headquarters in Congo Town, outside Monrovia. A critical aspect of the agreement, however, is who will head the coalition – Urey, Johnson, or Blama?
But two days before signing the DOI, Sen. Johnson told the media that he had no idea of any plans to merge with the ALP as he, being a ‘native,’ could not subject himself to a ‘non-native’ like Urey.
“I’ve been receiving calls that I have agreed to go under Benoni Urey to be his running mate. For God’s sake, I am one of the key indigenous sons and continue to preach indigenous leadership as opposed to minority leadership. For one hundred and some years, we have always cooperated with them.
“They are in leadership and they’re always taking country boys to be VP to them.
“But I think it is about time we compromise, that we politically reconcile so that they can be seen under a country boy. Then I would know that Liberia is moving in the right trajectory,” said PYJ.
Meanwhile, the tripartite agreement was sealed with a common understanding that the Joint Technical Committee would work out modalities required for holding a national convention to nominate the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the coalition.
The coalition needs to meet the certification of the National Elections Commission, and the Joint Technical Committee is yet to commence its work.
Meanwhile, the provocative outburst by the Nimba lawmaker might have, in essence, struck the final nail to the coffin of this controversial merger, but in the words of Urey, who appears to be the financier of the pact, “The deal is still alive and strong.”