As the quest to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf intensifies come 2017 presidential and general elections, ambitious aspirants are strategizing on how to galvanize support for victory.
Some of the presidential hopefuls have begun firing up and solidifying their political support bases for the upcoming elections.
One of the craftiest of these politicians is renowned Liberian businessman, Benoni Urey, who is now soliciting support among members of his fraternity, the Freemason or Masonic craft, a secret society that was established in the country during the 1800s.
Mr. Urey said that the much anticipated new Liberia where there would be economic opportunities, social amenities for all, vibrant health and education sectors, justice, and infrastructural development, which he claimed the Unity Party led government has failed to deliver, must be brought to reality by a government led by a mason.
Mr. Urey believes the dictates of that government would emanate from the Grand Masonic Temple, popularly known as “Up the Hill,” located on West Benson Street in Monrovia.
Serving as an orator at the celebration of Saint John the Baptist Day on Wednesday in Monrovia, Mr. Urey, who is a strong ally of former President Charles Taylor, indicated that the Free Masons must produce the next president that will build a new Liberian.
“We must build a new Liberia because there is a need to improve the Masonic craft and our country,” he said.
The Feast Day was organized by 14 of the subordinate lodges of the Free Masons. Mr. Urey spoke on the theme, “The Role of the Free Mason in the New Liberia.”
“The new government that is to succeed this government in 2018 must be led by a mason. Brethren, I want to let you know that the new Liberia that we all are striving to build for our people must be led by one of our kind,” Mr. Urey declared to a standing ovation of his fellow masons, who were all splendidly outfitted in the craft attires.
He also noted that in the 2017 elections, members of the society will get involved to ensure that the right people are elected.
Mr. Urey indicated that members of the Freemason society in Liberia have been silent for too long as they watch the country go in the wrong direction, but said it is now time for them to stand up and speak out.
Their inability to speak against the ills in the society makes them equally as guilty as those who carried on vices against the state, Urey indicated.
“We have a health sector that is so bad off that many of our people die on a daily basis while we are breeding a generation of people who lack the requisite education and the system is at its lowest level ever in the history of the country,” said Urey.
“The new Liberia must have a God fearing man and the new leader must be his brothers’ keeper. He must be an upright man,” Urey said, indicating that those attributes clearly put masons at an advantage because their craft teaches them those noble principles.
Mr. Urey, who himself is a District Deputy Grand Master for Margibi County, and past Master of the St. Paul Lodge #2 was unable to enumerate some of the successes of the Masonic Craft that have had any significant social, economic, political, developmental and cultural impacts on the Liberian and people.
He however, reminded his colleagues of what he termed as the “significant roles that The Masonic craft has played in the governance and development of the state.”
He disclosed that the secret society produced five of the countries past presidents including Joseph Jenkins Roberts, Charles D. B. King, Garrison W. Gibson, William B. Coleman and William R. Tolbert who were all Grand Master, when they became president.
He indicated that masons have served and continue to serve in pivotal and most influential positions in the government including vice president, speaker, senate pro-tempore, chief justice, justices, ministers, etc.
He also indicated that many of the conflicts that have engulfed the country have been resolved at the Masonic Temple in Monrovia, thereby making it a place of “peace and harmony.”
Mr. Urey further urged his colleagues to ensure that they do all they can for their goal to take over the mantle of the country’s leadership is achieved come 2017.
In remarks, the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons, Anthony Deline, II, noted that Mr. Urey had spoken well and his brothers and sisters understood what he meant and would therefore act accordingly.
A representative of the women also pledge their full support to the suggestion of their colleagues indicating that it means well for every one of them.
Meanwhile, Mr. Urey has described the honoree, John the Baptist, as a just and upright man, adding that he was fearless, courageous, bold, sincere and magnanimous, urging his fellow masons to emulate those values.