The political battle for the vote rich county of Nimba began on Saturday as several thousand women under the Patriotic Nimbaian Movement for Boakai (PNAMOB) stormed Ganta City to promote voter registration for the upcoming October poll and convene a stakeholders’ meeting of women’s groups.
PANIMOB is an auxiliary group of the Unity Party, of which Vice President Boakai is the standard bearer.
Dozens of women’s groups in Nimba took part in the event, described as an awareness campaign, which started with a parade through the principal streets and ending at the Ganta Sports Stadium, where an indoor program was held.
The objective of the event, according to chairlady Felecia Yormie, was to call on women and others to register and vote in the 2017 elections as the voter registration time approaches.
She explained that the only way PNAMOB can meet its goal in the October presidential and legislative elections is for all their supporters to register and turn out to vote.
Her remark was buttressed by Madam Martheline Dakosa of the National Movement of Boakai (PNAMOB), who delivered a statement from Ambassador Joseph Boakai.
She told the huge crowd of women to encourage one another to register and vote.
“As a special person, what is your role in the coming election? You are the ones who are going to make things work. Tell someone not only to register, but also tell them to vote right,” she urged.
This is one of the largest crowds to be pulled in Nimba by the ruling Unity Party since September 2011 when President Sirleaf took her last campaign tour of the county.
PANIMOB is headed by Tony Gonyor who together with several others broke away from the Liberty Party Nimba County leadership in August last year, due to alleged disagreements with Edith Gongrue Weh, an executive of the Liberty Party.
Saturday’s rally which they described as “the beginning,” is their first since breaking away from the Liberty Party.
“PANIMOB will be holding its formal launch very soon, and this gathering is just an awareness of our women’s groups,” said Dayton Sei Boe, member of the mobilization committee.
The rally was also attended by some members of the Ganta Business Community, with nearly all of them donning white T-shirts and green caps bearing the Unity Party logo.
The orator for the occasion, Unity Party Nimba chairman Pharaze L. Dekpah, also called on the citizens to register and vote, describing the occasion as a response to the call for national ownership and nation building.
He said the occasion reflected citizens’ desire and willingness to help make Liberia a better and greater place for all.
Speaking on the topic “Standing together, we can overcome,” Dekpah cautioned the crowd that there are numerous challenges ahead of the movement, including many distractions.
He did not explain the expected distractions, but he added that the biggest distraction will come when the movement or the Unity Party takes its eyes off the goal, which is to build a better Liberia.
“Our goal is to build a Liberia that works for all Liberians,” he said.
PANIMOB is gaining momentum in the county where its Senator, Prince Johnson, is highly regarded as the godfather of the county.
Nearly all the chief organizers of the rally are former members of the National Movement for Democratic Progress, Senator Johnson’s defunct party which swept Nimba County in the 2011 election.
Some critics were heard saying, “Despite all of the parade and awareness in Nimba by other political parties, the popularity of Senator Prince Johnson is still high.”