-UP’s Boakai Names Speaker Nuquay as Vice Standard Bearer
It wasn’t much of a surprise, as the prospect of Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay, being named running mate to Unity Party (UP) standard Bearer Joseph N. Boakai, had floated the airwaves among the names of other members of the House of Representatives for nearly a week. And though they tried to keep suspense alive up to the moment of the announcement at the UP headquarters yesterday evening, everyone knew it would have seemed rather off, if Mr. Boakai were to passe over the Speaker of the House of Representatives for an underling representative as running mate.
That would have been Boakai’s sole prerogative and no one would change it but him.
However, VP Boakai’s introduction of Nuquay as his running mate seemed to be driving home the message, first of all, that the VP knows VP potential when he sees it. That Nuquay, currently the Speaker, would be the one to succeed Boakai as Vice President and President of the Senate, is a solid endorsement of Nuquay’s ability to navigate the Capitol terrain, where he would sit — if they win the October polls — as president of the Senate. And by this, in the same stroke VP Boakai also showed that he observed and respected the constitutional line of succession as stated in Article 64 of the Constitution — that the Speaker should be next in succession after the Vice President.
If the Boakai-Nuquay ticket wins, the Speaker will also be first person to have headed both the Lower House and the Upper House — as President of the Liberian Senate.
The all-legislative ticket of the UP was once predicted by former Speaker Edwin Snowe that the President and probably — the Vice President — would be “technically” members of the Legislature.
Snowe’s prediction was publicized when he expressed his intend to join the ruling Unity Party – after winning his second term as an independent candidate in the Montserrado County District #6.
The UP’s Vice Standard Bearer, Speaker Nuquay, is 48 years of age. Arguably the little known, J. Emmanuel Nuquay surfaced in Liberian politics when he won Margibi County District # 5 Representative, on the ticket of the UP.
From 2006 to 2007, the Speaker served as Co-chairman on the House’s Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning, and from May 2007 up to 2014, he served as Chairman on the House’s Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning.
The Speaker lost the Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning position when internal political wrangling engulfed the House of Representatives. A year later, he resigned from the UP and co-founded the People’s Unification Party (PUP). There is no record to suggest that he re-joined the UP to name Vice Standard Bearer of the UP.
After about two years of internal wrangling, the then Speaker J. Alex Tyler was dethroned overwhelmingly and Nuquay elected Speaker on white ballot — a first in recent years — on October 5, 2016.
According to political pundits, Speaker Nuquay is the first Speaker from Margibi County and would be the first Vice President from Margibi County.
Meanwhile, it means the Speaker wouldn’t run as a Representative again, leaving his District to be contested by newcomers after serving 12 years as a Legislator.
His tenure as Speaker will end on Janaury 16, 2018.
The exclusion of the Speaker from contesting as Representative has summed the number of Representatives who would not be contesting in the October 10 Legislative elections to eight; and means the race of who to replace Speaker Nuquay will be tough and stiff.