The Monrovia City Hall could not contain the hundreds of supporters who gathered to witness what could be described as the return of the prodigal son, former Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, to the ruling Unity Party.
It is now official that Ngafuan has abandoned his political quest for the Presidency and made a U-turn to pledge his support to the presidential bid of the UP standard bearer, Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai.
The return of Ngafuan, announced at the well-organized political event hosted by the Friends of Augustine Ngafuan (FAN), appeared to be a big boost for the VP who also turned out with his huge fan base of the intelligentsia and student community.
“In a speech I delivered last year at the launch of the Bong County Chapter of FAN, I said that my intention to pursue the presidency of Liberia was informed by the fact that I believed that I possessed the competence, the character, the commitment, the experience and the patriotism that are needed in the leaders of the land if our country would develop and prosper,” Ngafuan declared in his address to the huge crowd.
He stated that he wanted to work to ensure that the interests of Liberians are placed above self-interest and cautioned that this attitude should not be regarded as old-fashion or an act of stupidity.
“But as I proclaimed my interest to vie for the presidency, I was also unequivocal in stating in the same speech that ours is not one of unbridled and selfish ambition. The only ambition that we are not prepared to compromise is the ambition of the Liberian people for development, for prosperity, for peace, for unity and reconciliation,” Ngafuan said.
Ngafuan also stressed that as the elections approach, like-minded and well-intentioned Liberians, no matter their political, ethnic, religious affiliation; no matter their economic or social status, must find a way to align or re-align stating that he finally decided to do the latter.
In light of this resolve, Ngafuan said, “We have been having some deep and long conversations and interactions with some of our other compatriots who also seek to lead the country. Our aim has not only been to gauge their competence but to also get a firm appreciation of their heart for the country and its people.
“One thing I can say unequivocally is that despite the fact that everyone pursuing the presidency has some limitations in one respect or another, everyone pursuing the presidency with whom I have interacted or assessed thus far has something positive to offer.
“We have been holding deep conversations on the future of this country with VP Boakai. Over this period of assessment, we are left with the solid impression and conclusion that VP Boakai deeply shares our vision to bring honest and transformative leadership to our dear country.”
He added that the VP has demonstrated that he has a consuming passion and heart for Liberia as well as the capacity and willingness to take good advice so long as it advances the national interest and promotes development, unity, reconciliation, and peace.
“Our interactions and close assessment of Vice President Boakai has also left us with the impression that he possesses the good sense to continue and consolidate on the positives of the past twelve years and also the courage and strength to effect changes and reform where and when necessary,” he said.
He lauded the VP, extending “profuse thanks to our illustrious Vice President and Standard Bearer of the Unity Party (UP).”
Ngafuan, who comes from very humble beginnings as a boy who toted and peddled bunches of plantain in Logan Town and Gardnersville communities, reached the pinnacle of Liberian diplomacy and economic leadership also toting his country’s load at the IMF, World Bank, Paris Club, ECOWAS, AU, and the UN.
He noted that his life has been led by the dictates of Biblical principles and morality.
Accepting Ngafuan’s resounding endorsement, Vice President Boakai said, “There have been many endorsements in recent times, but most of them were were done in studios. This endorsement is one that everyone is part of because Ngafuan is talking about Liberians and their future.
“We are here today to witness the son of the soil who has served his country, respects the rule of law, who is on record to have been the only person to obey the Code of Conduct, saying if the Code of Conduct is what it is, then I am willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to honor it,” the VP acclaimed his younger kinsman.
The VP let it be known that when he wins in October, all cabinet ministers will have to seek medical attention in the country and their children will attend schools in Liberia, mainly public schools.
He continued, “I have inherited all of what Ngafuan has put in my account and I know that more will come into it. It’s an honor (to have you) join me, not just for me, my family, and friends but for Liberia. I want to say think Liberia, and believe that we can go beyond party lines and bring the Liberian people together.”
VP Boakai said “we need a Liberia where reconciliation will be shown by everyone connecting the southeast, north, and west as well as opening up opportunities for young people in agriculture so that they can display their talents.
“You have served your country and have subordinated your interest to that of your country’s interest. We want to appreciate you and promise to work together for the future of Liberia. Your future is still ahead of you. This decision makes you more permanent in the future of this country’s affairs,” the VP concluded.
The chairman of FAN, Ernest G. Smith, noted that their political leader was returning with all that he had in his arsenal to ensure that the VP is victorious at the polls in October.
“We all know that the return of Ngafuan is a boost to the bid of the VP and we are proud to be a part of this history making. We have come with our expertise to work toward this project.”
Smith said the VP is the most viable candidate to replace President Sirleaf, adding, “This is why there was not much hesitation when we decided to come Boakai’s way. He is the most qualified and experienced and possesses many qualities that a good leader should have.”