The political leader of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), Nimba County Senator Prince Yormie Johnson (PYJ), has said his party will not attend any convention under the newly formed coalition with the All Liberian Party (ALP) and Liberia National Union (LINU), until the necessary required modalities are worked out to determine who heads the coalition as standard bearer.
“I cannot go under Brother Urey (Benoni Urey); he is a good man, but politically, I have been tested and proven, and my principle must stand. My character and integrity will be at stake if I ever went under him,” said PYJ in an ELBC Radio interview in Monrovia yesterday evening.
He maintained that going to a convention with the ALP leader will be unnecessary, “because he has money, and he would use his money to influence or coerce anybody to go to convention and defeat me. The New Elections Law says when you are with a party and form a coalition, and are beaten, you cannot go independent. So I am smart, and very brilliant. Everything will be settled out here before the next course of action.”
Senator Johnson said the technical team of the coalition will first be put together with the task to determine who gets to be standard bearer.
He added, “Because you may have the money, but you may not have the people.”
Johnson recalled how other politicians such as former contestants including Varney G. Sherman (2005), Clemenceau Urey (2009) and Robert Sirleaf (2014), were all recently defeated by their respective opponents, “because they lacked the numbers with all their money.”
Meanwhile, PYJ urged his fellow presidential aspirants to be moderate when dealing with national issues or any individual, warning that the period for castigating others is over and that it is about time to reconstruct the country.
“That cannot happen when we don’t reconcile. Let bygones be bygones for us to move forward and build a vibrant Liberia,” he added.
He disclosed that he has intelligence that the likes of LINU leader Augustine Blama will likely be compromised, even if he goes to convention with equal number of delegates, “so I am not going to a convention believing that it is going to be free and fair, because they will want to knock me out anyway. For that I maintain my posture.”
PYJ emphasized that a ticket with Urey as a running mate is not a bad idea; and that he is confident of winning one round. “If he comes second to me, we would have to put down the garment of pride and put on the garment of humility; but if they don’t agree, we will still maintain our friendship and brotherhood,” he added.
Asked if his current stance means the coalition is finished, Senator Johnson said: “I told them before, but they were hasty with this thing, the facilitators were hurrying up…you know ‘hurry, hurry burst trousers.’ I told them that we need to get certain things straight down because I don’t want to affix my signature to this document and back off at a later date, because you cannot tell me to go under Brother Urey and I say yes.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Johnson has denied what he described as ‘Facebook stories’ that he has received US$150,000 as an inducement to be Mr. Urey’s vice, adding, “God forbid! Senator Johnson is a reputable man.”