While in some democracies loyalty centers around colors representing dogmatic leaning, as it would be said in the United States about ‘Blue States’ or ‘Red States’, Liberia and Africa in general demonstrate political loyalties by individual’s names—politicians who show much commitment to and affection for the people of a region or province. Not all politicians in Liberia are dogmatic symbol of their people, as some fear their people or are just simply mean to remain regularly engaged with the people and attract their admiration and approval. Those who brave the storm, who eschew fear of being bewitched by their own people or who overcome stinginess to share their fortunes with the people are hailed and celebrated as heroes and saviors. Until things possibly change in the future, that is for now how Liberia’s politics looks like wherein altruistic figures take the political center stage, and every county now has its most celebrated politician. In the Western parts of the country, specifically the province of Gbarpolu, the current Chief of Office Staff to the President of Liberia stands out prominently as father-figure and benevolent icon to whom the masses there aggravate. And Nathaniel Farlo McGill proves his magnetic prowess, attracting a huge avalanche of locals who on Thursday, March 25, 2021, swarmed President Weah’s convoy as the President and entourage entered, in triumphant style, Bopolu City, Capital of Gbarpolu County. The Analyst reports.
All through President Weah’s countryside tours which have now hit eight counties so far—Bong, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Maryland and Grand Kru, Bomi and Gbarpolu—interesting sideline features emerge which only those who remain sober over the euphoria of clamorous welcome ceremonies would take note of: some of the President’s appointees nearly stole the show by the way locals in some counties celebrate their sons and daughters in Government.
In the case of county of Gbarpolu, Nathaniel McGill who serves as Minister for State for Presidential Affairs nearly stole the show, as various segments of the local population lavished praises on President Weah, not only for including him into his government, but also for approving Minister McGill’s caring outreach to the county and its people.
It is not known when the former National Chairman of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) began to touch many lives in Gbarpolu, but common choruses of favorable acknowledgement of Minister McGill’s father-figure role in the county is so widespread that one thinks he has been caring for the people for over three decades.
Not only did young people, elders, women and chiefs carried banners congratulating President Weah for having McGill as his Chief of Office Staff, they repeatedly told various versions of testimonies on how Gbarpolu would be in its worst state had it not been for McGill’s developmental interventions and demonstrated love for the people and the province with the backing of the President.
Brandishing with a huge banner bearing the image of the Minister for State for Presidential Affairs, a band of youth stampeded around the city of Bopolu amid a cloud of dust, singing, “Had it not been for you, where would Gbarpolu be today! You build our roads. You lay out our city. You send sons and daughters of Gbarpolu away to learn. We are beneficiaries of 100-bedroom hospital. Everything good we know come from you. Thank God for President Weah for making you who you are. You remain in our hearts forever!”
Even during a town hall meeting at which time the citizens and President Weah interacted, not a single speaker ended their statement without recognizing the invaluable role that Minister McGill is playing in touching lives and putting Gbarpolu on the map of minimum transformation amongst other provinces in the county.
The citizens particularly sounded so fondly about McGill and his works in the county. Nearly every statement made, whether it was the chiefs, or local government officials or women of the county or the youth, or the physically challenged, had some affectionate mention of some sort of assistance or intervention made by the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in improving the life or condition of someone or some group.
Bopolu city was not the only place Minister McGill was adoringly mentioned in speeches. Earlier, at welcome ceremonies in Sawmill town, the first town of Gbarpolu from Bomi County, throngs of guests, including the President, were greeted with endless outpour of sentiments from the people about Mr. McGill’s impactful role in the county.
And also in Gbarma, the second largest city of the county, where the President held his first town hall meeting with the people of Gbarpolu, youth, elders, women and local leaders were commonly expressive and unanimous in their adoration and praises for the Minister of State.
As the presidential entourage bumped into crowds of citizens of Bopolu on the outskirt of the city, one observer noted: “One of the surprises of this presidential tour is here unfolding in Gbarpolu. This county is unarguably one of the least populated counties in Liberia. How come we see all these locals as if people were imported from neighboring countries. I didn’t expect this turnout of citizens we have seen in Sawmill, in Gbarma and now in Bopolu. But I won’t be surprised that with what seems to be competition amongst the counties to showcase the largest hospitality for the President, McGill and all he continues to do for the county must be the linchpin in attracting all these people to make his boss man, the President, proud and glad.”
McGill did not make any statement at the town hall meeting. As he was mentioned and recognized by speaker after speaker, he simply smiled broadly, and at times took up and stoop in appreciation and with humility.
As was the case with other impact-making presidential appointees in other counties, as was the case with Chief of Protocol Finda Bondoo in River Gee and others in other counties, so was Nathaniel Farlo McGill in Gbarpolu.
In each of those cases, the President had a way of narrating the historicity of his relationship with that staff or appointee of his on the spotlight.
Acknowledging McGill’s popularity amongst the people of Gbarpolu, the President said during remarks at a town hall meeting in Bopolu City Thursday: “I am not surprised to hear all these good things about McGill. As I often tell those who follow me, ‘learn from my relationship with people. Be humble. Be sincerely.’ The likes of McGill are reaping the fruit of their labor. He’s CDC’s winning National Chairman. I can remember when we came during the campaign in this county, everyone was tired and about 2am or 3am, I told McGill it was not possible to reach Bopolu. But he spoke English that I had not never heard. He said, ‘Mr. Weah, if we don’t reach over there, it will be a huge political blow’. The point is, McGill was always in the trenches, in battle readiness, during those days of struggle. And more besides, he’s serving well. I therefore regard him a brother, a faithful servant. He’s a good man.”