Shortly after the Montserrado County delegates of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) formally endorsed Alexander Benedict Cummings yesterday as their choice for the party’s standard bearer to contest the October polls, he told the delegates he does not want the presidency for money.
“I want to be president because I want to change this country, not that I want money to enrich myself. Every citizen will realize their potential if I am elected your president,” he told the delegates, who responded with several political slogans, suggesting that an ANC victory is a foregone conclusion.
Cummings, however, acknowledged that changing the country implies the application of a simple idea that “is not hard either, because it requires the commitment of all, irrespective of one’s status.”
He indicated that one of the biggest obstacles to changing Liberia is corruption. “We have to get rid of it,” Cummings added, to rounds of applause.
The ANC political leader told the gathering of supporters that Liberia deserve to be a better country with improved infrastructures and jobs for all.
He made the commitment when he was formally endorsed as standard bearer by the Montserrado chapter of the ANC. According to Askia Gontorwon Biago, chairman of the ANC’s Primary and Convention Committee, a similar exercise is expected to take place across the country to legalize Cummings’ leadership of the party.
Shortly after his endorsement, Cummings requested Liberians not to accept their current plight as their final destination, and promised that every Liberian will get a job to support his/her family under his administration.
He meanwhile frowned on government’s policy to import the country’s staple food, rice, and said his leadership will prioritize mechanized farming to improve agriculture throughout the country. “It is unacceptable for us to import everything we eat including our staple food,” he said.
Cummings said he wants a better education program and healthcare delivery system to discourage government officials and other well-to-do Liberians from flying abroad to seek advanced medical treatment.
He also promised stable and affordable electricity and other basic social services, including water supply to every home. “I have offered myself to work with you to make Liberia better,” he said.
As though the electorates were not aware of those they are to elect at the upcoming polls, Cummings cautioned them and other eligible Liberian voters to check the backgrounds of all the aspirants for the various posts to know their past records.
“If someone kept a promise to you in the past, his posture would suggest that the person can do it in the future,” he said.
He challenged anyone, including any of Liberia’s foreign residents, to investigate his record, adding: “Look at what he has done in and out of the country, following which people will be convinced to give him a vote and other supports in his political journey.”
Cummings put the delegates’ feet to the political fire by asking them to zealously search for votes that would ensure he is elected in October as President of Liberia.
Cummings, 61, is a free-marketer’s presidential candidate, who has the hope of transforming Liberia by taking the youth out of poverty to avoid future crises.
He is not one of Liberia’s typical career politicians, because he has served as executive vice president and chief administrative officer for the Coca Cola Company before stepping onto the country’s political arena.
One of his plans to run the country, if elected president, is through the application of non-traditional approaches in Liberia’s politics, he said.
Born in Monrovia in 1956 to an educator (who worked for the Ministry of Education before studying divinity) and a midwife, Cummings spent his early years in Point Four before studying at primary and secondary schools in Montserrado County.
Meanwhile, as a former Coca Cola executive setting his sights on the Liberian presidency, Cummings has said that the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of a National Code of Conduct does not apply to him, “because it seems as a major stumbling block to many of the more than 20 candidates running for president.” He dismissed his inclusion among those likely to be axed from the presidential race because of the Code.
“The first thing I would say is that a Code of Conduct is not anything bad to have in any organization, in any institution. They need to be very clear and simple to understand and they need to be enforced consistently.
“In this particular case, it does not apply to me. I was never in government. In this particular case, we are talking about in Liberia,” he clarified.