MONROVIA: After three days of rigorous campaign in Nimba County where he received encouraging endorsements and support from the citizens to renew his mandate for another 6 years during the ensuing October 10, 2023, President George Manneh Weah on Sunday, October 1, 2023 concluded his campaign trail in Nimba County with a strong statement made to the people that despite his willingness and decision to bring more impactful development projects to the county, the activities of “your Godfathers impeded most of what we want to do in the county.
After visiting the two major cities in the county, Ganta and Sanniquellie cities, President Weah and entourage visited other important towns where he made with the people as he expressed his disappointment with some the leaders of the county for not being truthful to the people on the floodgate of opportunities he opened for the county but were all out to “promote their selfish interest”
In the industrial city of Yekepa President Weah received probably the biggest reception on the trip to the admiration of the President himself who stated that in 2017, he did not campaign in Yekepa but ended up receiving some of the highest votes in Nimba.
Superintendent Nelson korquoi speaking after chiefs and elders and other groups have spoken thanked President for creating the enabling environment for a good working relationship to exist between the ArcellorMittal Mining Company, Liberia biggest concessionaire since the end of the civil war and the local communities as well as the benefits accrued from the company that have contributed to the development of the county.
He said the residents in the operational area of the company have been responsive to the need to keep peace and promote harmony.
“Mr. President we want to thank you for ensuring that peace reign among our people especially the relationship between the local residents and ArcellorMittal Mining company Unlike in the past where aggrieved communities resorted to violence, there has been harmonious relationship between the company and the citizens and it has to do more with your encouraging you continue to give all parties”, he said.
President Weah speaking later thanked the people of Yekepa for believing in him all the time such that when he did not campaign there in 2017 still got a huge number of votes from the entire added to the other votes in the county to become victorious. He urged them to be peaceful in seeking for redress no matter the situation just as he told the people that his persuasiveness while engaging with the company facilitated the construction of the Sanniquellie yekepa road undertaken by ArcellorMittal Company.
“When we came on board, that road was on the card but the previous administration was playing games with it. So I sent for the management when I took over and told them that they must do the road because it is the right of the people in whose communities they are operation as well as the government of Liberia.
“And guess what when they came there, they came with their lawyers, some of them were your own people but I insisted to them that it was not a crime for them to hire lawyers but it is the right of the Liberian people especially those from Nimba to enjoy from people exploiting their resources.
“That is the story behind that road but some of your Godfathers have been telling you lies because they are doing it for politics which I was not interested in but just being straight to the point that our people need that road”, President Weah said amidst cheers from the people.
President Weah also visited Karnplay, District #3 where he was well received by the citizens who had turned out in their numbers to thank him for the many development projects embarked upon in the district especially the ongoing Sanniquellie-Luquato highway which is nearly at the completion stage.
“Mr. President we are happy today to welcome you here and to thank you for many projects especially the Sanniquellie-Luquatuo road that have connected us to the neighboring Cote d’Ivoire. This road corridor has opened a lot of opportunities to our people.
“I can tell you Mr. President Karnplay will definitely be the next commercial hub in the county that may even surpass Ganta. Our people have started even constructed large stores and warehouses preparatory when this road will be 100% complete. Goods from as far as Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, among others will make their way here and this place will be beyond our imagination in term of infrastructural development”, the District Commissioner who spoke on behalf of the citizens said.
He said they are all resolved to support the President’s reelection bid to the fullest and assured him that come October 10, 2023, he will be glad for what the citizens will do at the polls.
In his response, President Weah said he was equally happy for the honor done him by the massive turnout and told the people not to thank him for the level of development he has been carrying on since he became President “because you made it possible; if you had not voted for me then, there was no way I would have done all these things”.
“When I went to you in 2017, I told you that you should elect me and in return I will connect your communities or county to neighboring country and you are today telling me that in a short time Karnplay will be transformed because of this road. Well no one should singlehandedly take the credit because it was a collective decision but it has given reason why you should reelect me as President so as to continue what I have started.
“Please let me also remind you that in any contest, you will have the serious people who talk less and do more and there are those who talk more and do less. I talk less and do more but these people who have been in power before for 12 good years are all over the place causing noise that they can rescue you but then how possible can that be? How can someone who has not rescued themselves will rescue you? Do mind them, they are lying to you”, he said, amidst cheers and shouts of battle cries.
Perhaps it was in Bahn city that President took some time to talk about an existent “Godfather who wanted everything from me to satisfy his selfish interest while the county goes through tough times. He said if he had had a good understanding with the Godfather, the pace of development in the county would have gone beyond what it is now.
He said the people do not deserve the treatment meted out by those they freely elected to be their leaders and because he was totally against someone presenting themselves to misrepresent the people for their selfish reasons, he had no alternative but to sever the relationship between him and the so-called Godfathers.
“Gone are the days when they would come to me and say anything I wanted to do for the people of Nimba. I should pass it through them. When there are vacancies for Nimba citizens, they want you to take people from there. When there is a scholarship for Nimba children, they want you to put their children on it. But since I told them that I am not going to allow it, they were vexed and said they are not going to work with me again. Well it is fine with me but I am not going to allow them to dictate to me and make opportunities that should come to the county and its people”, he said.
The President who tacitly avoided calling names of the “Godfathers” said there is now a new dawn in Nimba county since he has cut links with the “Godfathers” and looks forward to a new breed of leaders from the county who are willing to “work with me and the government to bring meaningful development for the entire county and its people.
“These new leaders that we are working with will bring significant progress to you because they are not greedy, they do not want anything for themselves. I think it was a fair decision we took to allow them to go wherever they can get people to be following them and exploiting the people as well”, the President.
The President said it baffled him for the “Godfathers” who introduced him to the people of Nimba with all the adorations showered on him to now come back to discount him and try to embarrass and blackmail him to the people. He said such behavior lack principles since it is about enriching themselves by “spoiling my name and reputation because you want power”
The Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Atty Worlea Saymah Dunah, who spoke on behalf of the government appointees from the county said the citizens are grateful to the President for the inclusive administration he has put in place since his ascendency which has seen a number of sons and daughters of the county being appointed in key government positions as well as the development strides in the county that no one will doubt. He said under Weah a new Nimba was evolving where the citizens are owning stakes in the affairs of the county especially in recent time with the “high profile appointments of young Nimbaians in positions of trust and prominence”
“Mr. President, in you the people of Nimba can entrust the destiny of this country and so our people are not making a mistake to line up behind you to ensure that your reelection on October 10, 2023 will be achieved.
We want to thank you for all the milestone developments in the county. You have brought Nimba to the forefront of your initiatives. We are happy to join the team that has been with you before our arrival and together we will ensure that your reelection comes to fruition. We look forward to working with you to provide the leadership this country deserves. The citizens are resolved to make you their choice”, Minister Dunah said.
Senatorial candidate Roland Duo who has been on the campaign trail with President since he arrived in the county reiterated his statement that Nimba is breathing a new sigh of relief as there is a strong urge from the citizens to “get rid of the Godfather syndrome in the county with the new team we are building which is evolved around the President’s reelection.
“The reelection of President Weah and also the election of a new set of leaders in the county during this general election will bring out the best for the county. Everyone will be brought on board and there will be no single person dictating how the county should proceed and we are grateful for this new direction”, he said.
Immediately after the program, President Weah and entourage continued the trail to Saclepea where a similar program was held amidst the huge turnout at the occasion.
Despite the lateness and the rain that poured down during the course of the program, President Weah in his brief remarks again thanked the people for coming out to welcome him and being able to endure the long period of waiting patiently until his arrival.
“I don’t need to repeat myself what you have done for me and my entourage. You have been patient waiting for us because you believe in our leadership that you want to reward for another 6 years. We are making history and together we will be able to take the development of the county and country to the next level”, he said.
The official program meant for Tappita upon the arrival of the President was postponed to the next day because of time factor as several other engagements by the President before getting to Tappita could not make the program to be held.
On Sunday, October 1, 2023, President Weah was woken up to a birthday treat by government officials especially those who travelled with him as well as the local county authority led Superintendent Nelson Koiquoi, partisans and supporters of CDC and a good number of citizens who had even thronged the venue of the program far ahead the official commencement.
The ceremony Tappita provided more opportunities for the women, youth and elders to play more roles where as representatives of various groups they extended birthday wishes on the 57th natal day of the President and pledged support for his reelection bid.
In a statement read on behalf of the first time voters, their spokesperson praised the President for being thoughtful enough in introducing initiatives that have been removing the financial burden off the shoulders of their poor parents, improving the quality of education and increasing the enrolment of students in public institutions of higher learning.
“Your WASSCE fee payment and free tuition fees at our public institutions of learning have been rewarding and impactful. These initiatives have been removing the financial burden off our poor parents on one hand and on the other hand, they have improved the quality of education and increased the enrolment of young Liberians in higher institutions of learning.
“Mr. President, this is unprecedented and we will proudly reward you on October 10, 2023, so be rest assured that we are with you all the way”, the spokesperson said
The youth of Tappita in their statement described President Weah as “King of Development” for his numerous contributions to the development of the country. The president was presented with a certificate of honor and a crown as testament of their conviction in his leadership ability and development orientation.
For their part, the women presented farm produce and traditional African attire as a gift on his natal day and recognition for his role in changing the face of Liberia positively as well as appointing women in key leadership positions.
Perhaps the turning point of the program was the messages of goodwill that came from a Krahn dominated community in Nimba, the Kparblee Chiefdom and the elders of Gbi-Doru, who described themselves as maternal uncles to the President.
The elders of Kparblee speaking through an interpreter appealed to the President to visit their community and dedicate a bridge constructed by President Weah as fulfilment of a request made to them.
CDC Senatorial candidate Roland Duo while speaking echoed the request of the elders and the President in appreciation of what they have done to be part of people to give him a rousing welcome in Tappita, accepted to honor their request.
At the end of the program, President Weah went out of the already fixed protocol by following the elders to the respective communities where he dedicated the “Quee Bridge” in Kparblee Chiefdom.
Upon cutting the ribbon to dedicate the bridge, the President told the people that he was excited to be with the people and urged them to continue having faith in his administration while being peaceful and law abiding. He solicited their support for his reelection bid and promised to do more for the country in his second term.