Though many would term VP Boakai’s decision to name a running mate as a process long overdue, few had the slightest thought that his running mate would come from the Liberian Legislature.
Taking his time, Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, who is also the president of the Liberian Senate (Upper House of Chamber or House of Elders,) picked the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Lower House Chamber), Emmanuel Nuquay as his running mate for the ensuing Presidential and Representative elections.
This comes after months of soul searching for the most suitable running mate for the Unity Party standard bearer. This reality not just dawned on many UP partisans, but also Liberians across the divide—many of whom have been anxious to see who the VP could eventually choose as his Chief Lieutenant.
Officially announcing his running mate at the headquarters of the Unity Party (UP) in Congo-Town yesterday, VP Boakai said, “I have selected James Emmanuel Nuquay to work with me to the end. This is someone who is a true son and from Margibi County and serves as the current speaker of the House of Representatives.”
The VP said the decision to finally settle on Nuquay took him such a long time with consultations across the country because he wanted that person to be someone who shares his political, economic and social ideologies as well as conforms to the agenda of the UP.
“After months of consultations and deep reflection I’m pleased to announce and present my running mate to you the Liberian people. I have come to this very critical decision after consulting with Liberians in the country and abroad to be very sure that whoever emerged as vice standard bearer must be someone who shares our vision and want to see a better Liberia,” he said.
“The person we have chosen is someone who has the fear of God coupled with the requisite skills and experience to serve the Liberian people in the honorable position of Vice President of Liberia who is a true son Sein Town, Deningta Clan, Borlorla Township, Kakata chiefdom, Margibi county will help drive our vision for this country,” VP Boakai stated.
In acceptance, Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay lauded the VP for choosing him as his running mate which he described as a blessing from God that was destined to be.
“Today is indeed a great day that has been destined by God and least anticipated,” Nuquay said. “This is the will of God and I am humbled and happy to work along with the VP for the betterment of our country Liberia,” he said. He explained that in 2015 he had good times and problems and was a “Mr. nobody’ until recently I was elected Speaker on a white ballot and now as running mate…” terming his fortune as a privilege and a huge transition for him. He told his supporters that he is aware that the world is watching what a Kpelle man from Kakata Chiefdom brings to the table, but with God above he said he would produce quality services to the country.
No doubt, Liberians are looking to see whether the VP’s decision yesterday will affect his mass support across the country—especially among supporters of those whose names also emerged during the evaluation process. This pronouncement from the UP candidate, no doubt, has also provided for debate as to whether the VP has made an ideal choice
UP Chairman, Wilmot Paye noted that Vice President Boakai finally made up his mind to name his running mate when he visited Nimba County recently. Chairman Paye said UP has chosen an enterprising and dynamic young man, a man of a humble beginning who has demonstrated and shared his vision to love and build Liberia.
Speaker Nuquay promised to be a loyal follower and supporter to VP Boakai “As we walk the journey to think, love and build Liberia.”
“I’m aware that the world is watching what a Kpelle man from Kakata Chiefdom brings to the table but with God above, quality and service to the country,” the Speaker said. He also lauded President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for laying the platform for young people to shine.
“I owe this to President Sirleaf for her work. We are here to work with you to keep our country at peace,” he said.
He noted that he has worked diligently to build the lives of the Liberian people. “I want you to be assured of my commitment to partner with you to the end.”
Showcasing his Biblical prowess while quoting few scriptures, Speaker Nuquay said this is the ticket that would prosper, give future for a better Liberia. “I accept to be your able lieutenant to the end.”
Speaker Nuquay is the founder of the People’s Unification Party, (PUP). Almost all the founding members of PUP were members of the National Legislature—, especially in the Lower House.
The new vice standard bearer, who hails from Margibi County, was a member of the ruling party—winning two successive elections in 2005 and 2011 on the party’s seat until he resigned in 2015 and subsequently formed the PUP.
From a critical perspective, the selection of Speaker Nuquay also brings into question the level of preparation that the ruling party has for this imminent transition—raising the question as to whether there is no one qualified within the Party to be named running mate, but settling on someone who earlier abandoned the Party and didn’t return. There was also no collaboration between the UP and PUP that could have warranted Nuquay’s selection.
The Boakai-Nuquay ticket was predicted on April 3, by the Public Affairs Chief of the Lower House, Isaac G. Redd, who indicated that there would be a political marriage between UP & PUP. He put it more assuredly in a social media post, “UP+PUP=President and Vice President.”