With the ascendency of Deputy House Speaker Prince Moye to the Senate Seat for Bong County, The Analyst has gotten veritable feelers from Capitol Hill that there is an ongoing jockeying to launch Nimba County District #9 Representative Johnson N. Gwaikolo into the vacant Deputy Speaker position of the House of Representatives, based on what insiders told this paper are his solid public service records.
Our sources have hinted that Representative Gwaikolo is being being highly sought after because of the attractive private and public service track records that he would bring to the service of the office if he were giving the chance to serve as Deputy Speaker of Liberia.
Within the private sector, Gwaikolo served in various capacities prior to his election as Representative for District #9, Nimba County. He worked with the United Methodist University, rising from Vice President for Business and Finance (2012-2014) to President (2015-2017).
As President, Prof. Gwaikolo who was the Chief Executive Officer for the University, with overall financial responsibilities to manage the university, provided leadership and oversight for all aspects of the university, including academics, finance, planning, student affairs, enrollment, advancement, athletics, and other key areas.
Representative Gwaikolo worked closely with the Board of Directors to ensure that the strategic direction and policies of the university were aligned with its mission. Under his leadership, the United Methodist University established the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to govern research activities at the University.
Concerning his public service and/or general government experience, Rep. Gwaikolo served in several government responsibilities, ranging from Executive Director of the National Investment Commission (1999) to Deputy Minister for Administration at several ministries, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (twice) (1997-1999; 2007-2009), Ministry of Labor (2000-2003), and Ministry of Public Works (2009-2011).
While serving in those positions, he was responsible for the daily operations of the Ministries. He supervised the Divisions of Finance, Human Resource, Security, General Services, and other related divisions; while ensuring that other programs of these Ministries were successfully implemented. He also supervised the preparation of annual reports and annual budgets.
In addition, the Nimba County Representative served as Deputy Minister for Revenues (1995-1997) at the Ministry of Finance during which he directly supervised and directed the generation and collection of revenues for the Government.
Gwaikolo ensured compliance of the business community with relevant provisions of the Revenue and Finance Laws, and designed ways by which to make compliance easy and reactivated revenue collectorates outside of Monrovia, e.g. Buchanan, Tubmanburg, after the civil war.
As Deputy Minister, he also participated in ECOWAS conferences regarding regional trade cooperation among ECOWAS countries.
Regarding his Legislative experience, Gwaikolo was a member of the Interim Legislative Assembly (1991-1992) which later evolved into the Transitional Legislative Assembly (1993-1994) before joining the Executive Branch of Government.
Prof. Gwaikolo served as Presiding Officer of the Legislative Assembly at which time he provided Administrative direction to the Legislative Body until a Speaker was designated by the appropriate Party. Under his leadership, the structure of the Legislature was organized to reflect the unicameral nature of the Legislature.
While at the Legislature, Gwaikolo also diligently served as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, providing oversight responsibilities for agencies implementing the foreign policy of Liberia.
Gwaikolo headed delegations that represented Liberia at several Inter-Parliamentary conferences, including the Union Conferences in Chile, Cameroon, Denmark, Sweden, France, India and Italy. He also served as Chairman, Ways, Means and Finance with oversight for Government’s fiscal agents.
As Chair, he directed and supervised approval of the National Budget as well as mobilized resources for the work of the National Legislature.
Hon. Gwaikolo is now back at the Liberian Legislature where he represents District #9, Nimba County. He is Co-Chair of the Nimba County Legislative Caucus, Chairman, Committee on Education and Public Administration, House of Representatives, and Co-Chair, Committee on Public Works.
The astute lawmaker, administrator and academician has an Associate of Arts degree in Accounting from North Hennepin Community College in Minnesota (1982); Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Augsburg College (1984); Master of Arts in Leadership from Augsburg College (2005); completed doctoral candidacy (EdD(abd)) in Educational Leadership at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska (2017).