The naming of House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay as a running mate to Vice President Joseph Boakai in the upcoming presidential election has brought out mixed reactions, especially in Nimba County where Boakai received the highest reception in recent days.
Our Nimba County correspondent, Ishmael Menkor in a telephone conversation following the pronouncement said a lot of callers on a community radio program in Ganta expressed disappointment in VP Boakai for not naming any of their kinsmen as a running mate to him. Menkor said there were still others who called and dissented with their kinsmen, arguing that it is not a matter of must that Vice President comes from Nimba.
Prior to the pronouncement, Nimba County Senator, Prince Johnson who pledged his support to the candidacy of Boakai for the presidency withdrew his support on ground that VP Boakai was not in the mood to select a son of Nimba as a running mate. Plea to have vice running mate from Nimba was put forward during one of Boakai’s numerous visits to the county. Nimbaians said they were in full support of VP Boakai, but the support can only be fulfilled when he takes a son of the county as his running mate.
A son of Nimba, Enoch Dogolea, served as Vice President in the Taylor Administration. Besides, the Supreme Court of Liberia has been presided over by two Chief Justices from Nimba; the first being the late Chief Justice Emmanuel Gbalazeh and the current one, Francis Korkpor. At the time of the True Whig Party rule, where many Liberians were marginalized, the late Jackson Fiah Doe was among the very few in the Tolbert Administration to serve at the Ministry of Education.
Still in the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration, a lot of them occupy key positions including ministries and agencies. What more could this county want with all the major development projects it has received in this very administration? Should voting a leader to conduct activities of this impoverished country be on the basis of offer to a county?
Since Nimba has shown politicians that it is greedy for power, politicians have begun making choices there. Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine of the Liberty Party was the first to quickly haul Harrison Karnwea to serve as his vice running mate without thought of the Code of Conduct. Following that, McDonald Wento of the United People’s Party (UPP) picked up Rev. John Bleah of the United Liberia Inland Church to serve as his running mate and less than a week ago, Benoni Urey of the All Liberian Party (ALP) selected Alexander Duopue as a running mate to him. Politicians have now studied and known that this is the only way to get votes from Nimba.
As history would tell, the mindset of people of Nimba to occupy key positions in government was also demonstrated in 2011 during the presidential election. The majority of them, without thought of Liberia being the common denominator for all Liberians, overwhelmingly voted their kinsman, Senator Prince Johnson, regardless of his war-time stigma that diverted from him much support from the rest of Liberians and the international community. It can also be recalled that in 2005 when the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) signed the mineral development agreement with Mittal Steel (now ArcelorMittal), former Superintendent Harrison Karnwea went touring the county to explain the deal. In Saclepea some demanded that all top positions of the company be given people of Nimba because they own the mountains. In a harsh response, Karnwea said, “This is not about Nimba County alone but the whole of Liberia. I cannot guarantee that anyone from Nimba will hold high position with the company; if you want to occupy high positions, qualify yourselves.”
Why mention all these instances? These serve as basis to register our disdain for power greed demonstrated only by a good number of people from Nimba, as well as some other Liberians. Electing public officials must be based on relevant qualification, integrity, sincerity and good moral standing void of questionable record. Instead, people of Nimba are expressing disappointment in the selection of Emmanuel Nuquay to serve as a running mate to Joseph Boakai because he is not from Nimba. If there were any reason not to accept Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay to run alongside Boakai, it should be based on his character and on the Constitution which provides that “The President and Vice President should not come from the same county.” The president and vice president are for the entire country and not positions to be considered as a county’s hegemony.
The Daily Observer advises that as Liberians go to election to have a new leadership to succeed this administration, we must put aside tribal and sectional differences to search out for the best and patriotic candidates who have love for this country and are willing to transform it for the good of all. We can all recall the tribal dynasty of the late president Samuel K. Doe, who established for his native county, Grand Gedeh, a hegemony where, if one did not speak Krahn, his/her safety was uncertain. Let us think about our history and set a better standard for this election to elect people based on their competence, morality and past records.