Nimba County District #9 Representative Matinokay Tingba has clarified that his support and subsequent campaigning for Joseph Boakai’s presidential bid is not intended to position him to run as vice presidential candidate to the UP standard bearer, as is being speculated in political circles.
Speaking to a group of Nimba students at the University of Liberia recently, Rep. Tingba said among the presidential hopefuls, he sees Boakai as the best and most experienced candidate exhibiting “a high level of integrity, humility and sincerity” to lead Liberia after the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration.
His support for Boakai is primarily for the sake of Liberia, and not to be used as a bargaining chip to get the vice presidential position, insisted Rep. Tingba.
He emphasized that it is not about which region or group of people a president is from, but rather about who has the leadership ability and charisma, adding that “the fact that Ambassador Boakai possesses the charisma and leadership traits to take Liberia forward and not behind, it is expedient to support him and let all other Liberians know that this is the way.”
Rep. Tingba said a big event is being planned in his home county of Nimba where a certification ceremony will take place to publicly affirm their support for Boakai.
“This will be the biggest certification ceremony you will ever witness in your life in this Republic, and there Nimba and Lofa will establish a tie to support each other in times of election in this country,” Rep. Tingba assured.
Although he claims his intention for supporting VP Boakai is not to seek the vice presidential position, the Nimba lawmaker, however, branded the position as “gravy” that no one can forsake if it comes his or her way.
Since Vice President Joseph Boakai declared his ambition in 2015 for the 2017 presidency, Representative Tingba and others started the National Movement for Boakai (NAMBO) in 2016, and there was speculation that he (Tingba) would aspire to be on the ticket with Boakai as his vice president.
It may be recalled that in 2015 former Nimba County Development Superintendent Teko Yorlay and Tingba engaged in a war of words in which Yorlay described Tingba as “a vice presidential candidate without a presidential candidate.”
At the time Yorlay had been relieved of his position as Assistant Superintendent for Development and taken on a new job at the Ministry of Youth & Sports, and Representative Tingba had earlier remarked that “the virus that was in the county was being removed,” which sparked the strong reaction from Mr. Yorlay.
Meanwhile, the vice president position on the Unity Party ticket is still empty, raising a lot of speculations. One name that has recently surfaced is former Finance Minister Dr. Antoinette Saryeh.
Amid the speculations, some political commentators have said that Dr. Saryeh, though a qualified financial expert with vast international experience, is not politically popular in Liberia and may not be able to pull in the needed support for victory at the 2017 polls. All in all, the vice presidential position on the Unity Party ticket still remains open after three of the contesting parties, including the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Liberty Party (LP) and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) have filled their VP slots with candidates.