Support for Benoni Urey's quest for the presidency has begun rising with several prominent personalities joining the struggle.
Mr. Urey, former commissioner of the Bureau of Maritime Affairs in the government of former President Charles Taylor, announced his intent to stand in the race to replace President Sirleaf after her tenure expires in 2017.
Since that pronouncement was made, there have been mixed reactions from the Liberian public. Some have expressed support for his bid, while others believe Urey is similar to his former employer, Charles Taylor, and as such electing him (Urey) would mean "a return to the regime of Charles Taylor."
The latest of Urey's supporters is constitutional lawyer, Cllr. Pearl Brown-Bull. In her assertion on a local radio talk show Wednesday, April 9, in Monrovia, Counselor Bull declared her support for Urey, stating that Urey seems to be the right person for the job.
Her statement was made in reactio to a recent war of words between Mr. Urey and a member of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s government, Press Secretary Jerolinmek Piah.
Urey had earlier criticized Madam Sirleaf for leaving the country without addressing the problem of the Ebola Virus affecting Liberia.
Reacting to said comment, Presidential Press Secretary Piah was quick to condemn Mr. Urey's accusation that she does not have the country at heart.
“Mr. Urey’s comments reflect a serious lack of governance [experience], political ineptitude and naivety on the part of a political nobody, who has allowed his quest for the presidency to render him mischievous and disingenuous," Piah said. "Mr. Urey argues that President Sirleaf has no interest in Liberia and its people simply because she departed the country to participate in the 4th EU-Africa Summit at the time an outbreak of Ebola was reported in the country.
"If this statement came from just anybody," Piah continued, we would not have been surprised at all; but coming from a man who says he has his eyes on the Presidency, we are not only surprised but ashamed of him."
Urey angrily reacted to Piah and the President: "When substantial issues are raised against the presidency, they unleash their dogs to come after you."
Based on these exchanges, Cllr. Bull asserted that the responses from the President's office are immature and unnecessary.
“Judging from comments made by these people the President has around her,” Cllr. Bull said, “Makes me strongly support Mr. Urey for the presidency.”
“I never wanted to do so before, but the people the President has around her have forced me to support Mr. Urey,” she asserted.
Cllr. Bull is a signatory to the 1986 Liberian Constitution and a former commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Though she may not be as well known or influential as many politicians in the country, such a statement from a ‘seasoned’ lawyer could serve as a political plus for Mr. Urey’s ambition for the presidency, a political analyst told the Daily Observer.