President George Weah and delegation were accorded what may turn out to be the most celebratory, massively received visit in Bong and Nimba Counties on first leg of his first tour of the country. Though the two receptions were clamorous, many pundits following the President’s first official tour of the countryside contend that Nimba stands out most prominently in its expression of receptive emotions for the visit compared with Bong. As the President says goodbye to the Central and Northern regions of the country, the pendulum turns to the Southeast. But the stampede of celebration in villages, towns and citizens of Bong and Nimba will long tickle the memory of the President and the entire country. The Analyst reports.
Today, February 19, the President of Liberia departs Tappita, Nimba County for Grand Gedeh County, River Gee, Maryland and Grand Kru counties.
In terms of reception, many on the trip or following it from the traditional and social media are asking if the home region of the President, South East, will match the incredible, earthshattering momentum that swept across the lands of the Kpellehs and the Gios and Manons as the President and entourage cruised through.
The presidential convoy on the trip was in its full length entering Bong County. This was so because the road from Monrovia to Bong is good to travel and many supporters and officials added to the presidential escort with their presence. Second, the first agriculture fair was being held on the first date, attracting national and international stakeholders who appeared embedded into the convoy.
This caused the President to shuttle between GARI on the outskirt of the capital Gbarnga, where the agriculture far was being conducted and the Capital City itself.
Three days in Bong was characterized by a lot of crowded schedules and fanfare, and one reason is that the energy level of the guests was high.
The President delivered speeches at the fair, talked to farmers one on one and had the time to interact with stakeholders even on the fringes of the agriculture conference.
On the Bong county main highway from Monrovia, the President made multiple stoppages and interacted with students, old folks and other residents along the route.
Before arriving in Gbarnga City, he and delegation detoured into Salayea and the next day, having slept in the city, he embarked on the difficult journey to Kokoya.
Town hall meetings being an outstanding citizens’ engagement strategy of the trip, the President faced up with local citizens, who voiced their feelings about governance, made recommendations and celebrated the visit.
The laundry list of problems and requests from the Kpelle people was long, and the President handled substantially the bulk of the pleas if not all.
The only request the President rejected almost instantly was that which came from the youth community of Kokoya who wanted the President to use his constitutional powers to free their colleagues imprisoned after a riot that destroyed poverty.
The next schedule was a huge town hall meeting, where women and other residents from all walks of life gathered to interact with the president.
They citizens raised their voices during the tete-a-tete with President Weah, speakers representing various demographic blocks.
When he had parked all the requests of the citizens and had provided ready answers for the solutions if not all, the entourage took their plight into the North of Liberia—Nimba. Entering Ganta city was an exceptionally electrifying experience.
The energy level was still seemingly high and the President and delegation were darting themselves here and here, inspecting infrastructures under construction, breaking grounds for new ones and dedicating others.
The next day, he appeared on talk show to talk governance with local journalists and in no time the Liberian President was on the sports pitch for a town hall meeting. Again, the citizens of another county engaged with President with issues that matter to them.
High volumes of pro-Weah and pro-CDC music vibrated all over Ganta, and as the long caravan arrived in the political capital Sanniquillie, louder and riotous celebrations greeted the President.
The convoy sped through Sanniquillie to Karnplay and LAMCO and other important, and populous towns where the President interacted with the citizens of Karplay, who handed him a long list of development requests. He also had a word with LAMCO and warned the company on its excessive labor abuses and some appreciable development initiatives.
By the time President and delegation returned to the capital city of Nimba, the streets were jam parked awaiting him for a town hall meeting. The citizens—women and chiefs, youth and physically impaired—had been waiting for more than eight nor more hours inside the administrative building to commence the town hall.
By 7pm, the town hall meeting started. Like their counterparts in other areas visited, residents of sanniquillie had their own version of problems, requests and demands. The list was long, as each demographic group provided their own unique problems to be solved by the president.
Throngs of people watched from huge speakers put to strategic spots for the hearing of those who could not enter the administrative building.
As if the drive of the exceptionally long convoy through Bong and first few places of Nimba, had not shown enough celebrations and display of emotions for the presence of their president in the vicinities, the people of the county matched forward in huge turnout along the route of Sanniquillie, first back to Ganta and then to Bahn, Saclepea and other major towns.
Even when night had fallen, the citizens were still waiting and watching at odd hours to see the passing of President Weah in their villages and towns.
Children, women, the elder and young people in every community along the route to Tappita turned out to see the President and entourage pass.
Before finally concluding the trip in Bong and Nimba, the President visited a community no Liberian president ever visited—Duwro and Gbei.
It is said the President as provided over three thousand farmland by the citizens of Nimba, particularly those from the area which is believed to be the second home of the President’s mother.
Before news time late last evening, it was said the president was holding a town hall meeting for citizens of Tappita.
As the President cut ribbons of new dedicated projects, the also broke grounds for other projects. He is appealing in stadiums of local radio stations, holding talk shows, making stops and taking to villages and town.
Today, February 19, the President and his delegation are expected to depart the forested city of Tappita for Grand Gedeh where a mammoth welcome is planned.