MONROVIA: Liberian presidential aspirant Ambassador M. Nathaniel Barnes has announced his withdrawal from the upcoming presidential election following intense careful introspection and consultations that spurred his decision to prioritize the best interest of his beloved Liberia and its beautiful, resilient people.
Disclosing his decision in the press statement issued Monday, July 10, 2023, Ambassador Barnes said the heartfelt decision was made in the best interests of the nation, adding, “I have critically scanned the political landscape, the needs of our people, and the challenges we face in maintaining stability, creating opportunities, and building prosperity in our country, and as a deeply spiritual person, I arrived at the conclusion, along with my wife, that it would not be prudent to continue this quest. Therefore, with the utmost respect for the democratic process and the will of the people, and after deliberate introspection and consultation with my campaign team, family, and advisors, I have determined that the best course of action at this time is to withdraw my attempts to participate in the race for President of Liberia.”
Ambassador Barnes went on to express profound gratitude and appreciation to his invaluable supporters, who have been an integral part of his journey thus far. “I deeply appreciate the unwavering support that I have received from my campaign volunteers, donors, and voters who believe in my vision for a brighter Liberia,” he said. “Please know that this decision was not made casually, but after prioritizing the best interest of my beloved Liberia and its beautiful, resilient citizens. Your dedication, passion, loyalty, and tireless efforts have been instrumental in propelling this campaign forward, and your commitments will forever be cherished. I pray for your continued support going forward.”
Although no longer pursuing the presidency, Barnes remains fully committed to the values and principles that have guided his ambition and has pledged to remain an active contributor to the causes and issues that matter most to the Liberian people. “My withdrawal does not mean I have given up on Liberia—I never will. While I may not occupy the highest office, I firmly believe that change begins at every level of society. This country still needs honest, humble, courageous and disciplined patriots to participate in its success. I will continue to do so as an agent of positive change, promoting the interest of the people,” he said. This means championing the crusade for more investment in Liberia resulting in employment, and creation of real and sustained wealth specifically for Liberians.
Barnes extends his well wishes to the remaining candidates as they continue their campaigns, urging them to remain focused on the needs and aspirations of the Liberian people. He also encourages voters to remain engaged and informed, emphasizing the importance of participating in the democratic process to shape the future of the nation.
“The decision to withdraw from the presidential race weighs heavily on my heart and marks a significant turning point in my political journey,” he said. “But I remain motivated and optimistic about the future. Together, as one united nation in harmony, we can overcome our present challenges and achieve a just, inclusive, and prosperous society.”
Ambassador Milton Nathaniel Barnes was born on April 6, 1954 in Monrovia, Montserrado County, Liberia to the late Justice Roland T. Barnes and Mrs. Eudora Nassau Barnes. Nat is the second of their 4 children.
Nat, as he is best known, grew up in Harper, Maryland County and Monrovia, Montserrado County, Liberia. He completed high school at the College of West Africa in 1972 and worked for a short time as a clerk at Bank of Monrovia/Citibank.
Nat traveled to the United States to pursue his college education at Rider College (now Rider University) in Lawrenceville, New Jersey earning his BSc Degree in Finance in 1978. In 1979, Barnes matriculated to Pace University in New York City where he earned an MBA in Finance and Banking. Nat returned to Liberia shortly after completing his studies and began his professional career as a manager at INTRUSCO – Insurance Company of Africa.
With the political unrest in Liberia starting in 1980, Nat and his family relocated to the United States where he began a distinguished career as a corporate executive. Nat spent fourteen years at Nortel Networks, Inc. beginning as a Financial Analyst in the company’s Treasury Department and moving up steadily through various functions within Finance, Marketing and Internal Audit.
In 1998, Nat felt the call to return to his native Liberia in order to serve in the re-building of the war-torn nation after the Civil War ended. He began as a Consultant at the Ministry of Finance. Within a year, President Charles Taylor appointed Nat as Director General of the National Social Security Corporation (NASSCORP) where he transformed the corporation into a streamlined and effective public entity. Not surprisingly, Nat was appointed as Minister of Finance, Republic of Liberia in September 1999.
As Minister of Finance, Barnes was able to implement a new national tax code with the assistance of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Fiscal Affairs Department.
About Nat Barnes
In 2005, Nathaniel Barnes founded the Liberian Destiny Party (LDP), was elected Standard Bearer of the party, and ran as a presidential candidate in the 2005 General and Presidential Elections. He placed 12th out of 22 candidates. During the Run-Off Elections in which George Weah and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf competed, Nat became the first former candidate to support Mrs. Sirleaf rallying his fellow candidates to do the same given her international stature and experience compared to that of Mr. Weah.
In 2006, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appointed Nat as Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Barnes served for 2 years in this capacity. In 2008, extremely pleased with his performance at the UN, President Sirleaf appointed Nat as Liberia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States of America. As Ambassador to the United States, Nat actively engaged the Liberian Diaspora creating the Liberian Diaspora Advisory Council to assist in implementing President Sirleaf’s “Lift Liberia” agenda. Ambassador Barnes first articulated the idea that economically the Diaspora represents Liberia’s Middle Class and, politically, the Diaspora is Liberia’s 16th county.
In 2009, Barnes received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from his alma mater, Rider University. He has travelled tirelessly across the United States as a Lecturer promoting the cause of Africa, in general, and Liberia in particular.
Back in Liberia since 2010, Nat established a private consulting firm – Aurora Solutions, Inc. He has also served regularly as a Lecturer at the Graduate Schools of the University of Liberia and African Methodist Episcopal University. Since 2002, Nat and his wife of 42 years have operated a charitable organization – Aurora Foundation of Liberia.
Milton Nathaniel Barnes is married to Dr. Dawn Cooper Barnes, university professor/administrator and professional performing artist. Dawn is the daughter of the late, Dr. H. Nehemiah Cooper and Mrs. Izetta Roberts Cooper. Nat and Dawn are the parents of six adult children and three grandchildren.