MONROVIA: Despite his present status as the President-Elect of Liberia, on whose shoulders the responsibility of an entire country will fall in few weeks, the human side of Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai, former Vice President of Liberia came out yesterday, Thursday, November 30, 2023 when he celebrated his 79th birth anniversary amid pomp and pageantry befitting a very important personality, saying in almost tears, “I didn’t dream of where I am today”.
In his special remark which was a response to all the goodwill messages and gifts he received from far and near, President elect Boakai mounted the podium when he was called upon and seeing the multiple of people who had come to honor him on his natal day, had a lot of people holding back their tears when he mentioned about his upbringing.
“These are things that normally bring tears in my eyes. I grew up not celebrating my birthday, not receiving any gift, not getting what young kids get to make them happy; I had a mother who was not able to support me and I had to support myself to school by working to do so”, he said.
He said he has survived on the grace of God all these years and will continue to be grateful to God first and second those who have helped him to be where he is today but that “I do think I deserve all these honors and the kind of celebration that are definitely things I never dreamt of, not even where I found myself today”.
He said he has great faith in the country and that has propelled and guided his public life dating back to decades. He said there are a lot that still need to be corrected as a behavior pattern of the people and “that affects almost everything that happens in the country, normally it has negative results”
“There is a short supply for the love of the country and until Liberians imbibed that spirit of loving the country, there is nothing anyone can do to bring meaningful achievement in the country”, he said.
He spoke briefly but highly of his wife, Kartumu, who, according to him has been married to him for the past 51 years, blessed with four children, “someone I have trust in and together we have built a unique family that has the fear of God and that has been the source of our happiness”
He said he has developed over the years the ethic of hard work, honesty and commitment to whatever he ventures into and “I have been able to take some of these traits to public life”
He thanked the Liberian people for giving him the mandate to lead them during the just concluded general elections, saying “it is the greatest honor I will be given by my fellow compatriots and this is something I am going to wish away like that”.
“I look forward to working with every Liberian so that together we will fulfil the promise of rescuing this country from what it has been plunged into over the years and get what our people deserve from the labor they put in the exercise”, he said.
The President elect, who was dressed in a complete white suit, told the audience that Liberia is open to do business with friendly nations, most of whom have been traditional partners over the years. He stressed the urgency of restoring Liberia’s lost glory internationally, “and I am sure that once we begin to do the right thing, people will begin to respect us again”
In her welcome remark, Mrs. Kartumu Boakai, the incoming first lady in a prepared text read at the program, in similar vein praised Mr. Boakai for being “a wonderful father, husband, teacher and trusted friend over the years” and said she found herself very lucky to have such “a gentle family man in my life’.
She said through the belief in “God that we serve, we have been able to live a very peaceful life”. She urged Liberians to rally around her husband during his administration so that his plan for the country will be fruitful.
Vice President elect, Senator Jeremiah Kpan Koung who said he was delighted to attend the birthday program thanked God for blessing Mr. Boakai and his family over the years as well as asking for more blessings ahead as the President elect leads the country in the next 6 years.
Several gifts from political associates, friends and well-wishers were presented to Mr. Boakai while a birthday song was sung for his delight and comfort.
The program was attended by very important persons including members of the diplomatic corps, government officials, leaders of political parties, business leaders, traditional rulers, market women, youth groups among others,
JNB Launches Clean Up Initiative
Meanwhile, as part of the birthday celebration, President elect Joseph Nyuma Boakai yesterday, Thursday, November 30, 2023 kicked off the celebration with the launching of the JNB-JKK Clean Up Initiative, a collaborative effort of volunteers and auxiliaries who were in the vanguard for his electoral triumph, saying the exercise is a sign of better days ahead as citizens will be “self-motivated to do greater things for the country”
Speaking to the large gathering mostly made up of young people have turned out prepared to carry on the cleaning up exercise at his residence, President elect Boakai said he was very excited that young people from diverse background could be “self-driven and motivated to engage in a national cause for our country and its people”, and said there is a sigh of relief in the air since the end of the elections as Liberians are confident that the government they voted for will work for them.
“I am excited to see these vibrant young men and women coming together to do this for their country. I did not doubt your ability to do this and beyond this because I saw the passion and the dedication you exhibited during this general election.
“But that is not the beginning. The beginning started in the nights when you protected the votes to defend your destiny. I can tell you that with all your disappointments on corruption, nepotism and ineptitude, they will be no more, we are here to build a new and great country”, President elect Boakai said.
While being emphatic that he was confident that the initiative embarked upon by the young people would come to fruition “ because when Liberians put their mind to anything they can do better, he told the huge crowd amid cheers that “this a new beginning for the many good things that will still happen in this country.
“It will be a country that will be united, will be reconciled, will begin to work again where everyone will see themselves as proud citizens.
“It is going to be a new day how we work together, how we unite together, and I can assure you that Liberia is on the move for better days”, he said.
The President elect vowed that the will radical approach to address the awful ways Liberians treat or relate to each other because “we cannot have a country where people, especially our leaders just insult their fellow citizens without any remorse of conscience”
“Gone are the days where someone will just insult people, we have to have a sense of decency with how we relate to one another, how to do things in honesty and with integrity, let us build a nation together. This is not about UP, this is not about CDC it is for all of us”, he said.
He promised that greater efforts will be made to restore the dignity of the country which according to him has been eroded over the years and “we have to ensure that when you show your passport anywhere, people will say yes, you are truly a Liberian”.
He saluted the resilience of Liberians to take their destiny in their own hands and despite all the challenges experience during the just concluded election, they still insisted that their votes counted
“You have spoken to the world the way the election went but you may not know. The challenges we faced were enormous and that is why we stepped forward to rescue this country. We promised to rescue you and not to subject you to something else, it is to free you from bad governance and give you hope for a decent and dignified living.
“There will be jobs for you, your rights will be protected, the young people will go to school and find something useful for themselves at the end of their studies, we promise good governance and rule of law under our constitution”, President elect said.
Madam MacDella Cooper, political leader of the Movement for One Liberia(MOL), one of the political parties within the Unity Party Alliance, who introduced the President elect, said the young people should be thankful for the favorable elections result that brought forward President elect Boakai because “this is a new leadership we have in town, a leadership with a vision, a vision of the Liberian people, a vision of the country, a vision of a new generation, of an unborn generation, we have a leader that Liberia has been waiting for over the years, a leader who will launch our country to prominence and renewal”.
She described Boakai as “the father of all who will do for all people regardless of where they come from”. She said the clean-up initiative will go a long way in galvanizing the young people to work for the country and that “our father is willing and ready to lead us to the Promised Land”.
A representative of the group said the organizers were fired up by the enthusiasm most of those who are driving the process got during the course of the election and fortunately “what we fought for came to pass with our father emerging victorious at the polls”
He said every material, equipment or tools mobilized were from volunteerism as almost “everyone we spoke to were willing to be part of this clean up exercise which is a key component of the President elect’s agenda on clean environment and the need to promote a good healthy lifestyle.
He said he was optimistic that the exercise will be completed before the inauguration day and beyond that the initiative was also launched to encourage communities to be in the vanguard to keep their environment clean.
At the end of the short indoor program, President elect Boakai led the crowd outside to formally launch the clean- up campaign using a shovel to upload dirt into a wheelbarrow positioned at the spot for the president to commence the exercise.