NIMBA ACCEPTS WEAH 2ND TERM BID -Shows Enormous Crowd Power for CDC -Vows To Vote Development, Not Tribalism

MONROVIA: During this week of September 25 to 29, President George Manneh Weah, along with his Coalition forces, is taking the bull by the horns. The Liberian traditional electoral map is replete with “adversary territories” as well as “friendly domains”, particularly speaking of the most formidable political parties. And as far as the 2023 presidential election is concerned, the north and northwestern provinces of Nimba and Lofa Counties constitute stem adversities in the way of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). Both territories are homelands of rival Unity Party. It is these two counties that the President and his campaign caravan have invaded this week, and signs abound that there was less or no resistance. In Nimba on Thursday, September 28, 2023, for instance, the citizens in their uncountable numbers rose to their feet, not only to welcome the President and entourage, but also to heap upon him endless streams of solidarity and endorsement statements, promising to give his votes the CDC has ever accrued before in the county. The Analyst reports.

Since Monday, September 25, in an unarguably daring move, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and its Standard Bearer, President George Manneh Weah, have been combing Lofa and Nimba Counties where the Standard Bearer and Vice Standard Bearer of rival Unity Party (UP) respectively hail from.

UP Standard Bearer Joseph Boakai hails from Lofa while the party’s Vice Standard Bearer Jeremiah Koung hails from Nimba County. Nimba is the second most populated counties, next to Montserrado County, and Lofa is the fourth largest county next to Bong County.

The CDC, even while in opposition from 2005, consistently lost to the Unity Party in Lofa and also in Nimba except for rising to the top in Nimba during the 2017 polls. With the UP ticket bearing the faces of progenies from both counties, many pundits had speculated that it would an uphill battle for the CDC in 2023 to get meaningful votes, but receptions of the people accorded President this week appear to suggest otherwise.

Entering both counties, the CDC stands on tangible achievements–development initiatives–that it embarked upon during its first term (2017 – 2023) for which the citizens, mainly the young people, are so elated. This is giving the impression that the ruling party could make enormous gains in its originally hostile zones.

Three days of campaign activities in Lofa, ending in the Foya hometown of 12-year Vice President and current Standard Bearer of the former ruling Unity Party, Joseph Boakai, made a remarkable political breakthrough, according to pundits, as every rally was characterized by the attendance of swarms of people and the presentation of endorsement statements pledging support for President Weah’s reelection.

One assurance about the CDC ability to turn the tide in Lofa, as often cited by pundits, is the fact that the candidate openly supported by the party in senatorial by-election a year ago won massively despite being traditional UP province.

Nimba Accepts Weah

On Thursday of the week, the people of Nimba County also defied and contradicted all odds amid speculations that the combined efforts of the “political godfathers” of county, Unity Party’s current Vice Standard Bearer Koung and Senator Prince Y. Johnson, would have thwarted and dwarfed the impact of the CDC’s presence in the county.

In their numbers rarely seen in many years, the people of Nimba gathered at the St. John River Bridge dividing Bong County and Nimba to take possession of visiting President Weah and his entourage.

Those who follow CDC campaign history were saying yesterday that the turnout of Nimbaians at the welcome ceremony was untypically hugely impressive compared to previous campaign scenes by the party in Nimba, even during the 2017 elections when the President won the county.

A throng of traditional leaders, chiefs, zoes, students, youth and motorcycle riders jammed the welcome ceremonies, and with pro-CDC songs and battle cries, waving palm branches and handkerchiefs, they ushered the President and entourage into Nimba from the border with Bong.

Along the route to the capital Ganta, fat lines of citizens stood in ovation, waving signs of welcome to the CDC electoral campaigners until they hit the humans-clogged streets and deafeningly noisy city.

Chains of Endorsement

Momentum with which the people of Nimba County greeted and welcomed President Weah and his campaign team was not just expressed in the hugeness of turnout, but also in the very assuring speeches – affirmation of his reelection – as delivered by various groups during the first rally held in Ganta City.

For the first time voters, who expressed delight about the President’s presence and interest for Nimba County, the reasons for reelecting him are unaccountable.

The spokesperson, a young girl, recounted several impactful development projects that the President’s government undertook in Nimba. She spoke of the roads paved, including Sanniquillie to Logatuoh, Ganta to Saclepea, and Nimba to Grand Gedeh County amongst others.

“Mr. President, if any county in the country decided not to vote for you, it can’t be Nimba County, because we in this county are great beneficiary of our development programs,” she said.

“The roads that you built for this county were never here in the days of our forefathers, and besides they have helped to improve our local economy, reducing transformation cost and hurdles we used to face; they facilitate the free movement of our people wanting to undertake any kind of development of their choice without much constraints.”

She also thanked the President for the free college tuition and free WASSCE policies and other education policies which she said testify to the genuineness of the president’s interest in the future of young people in the country.

The first time voters spokesperson said due to the president’s demonstrated love for the people of Nimba, particularly the students and other young people, they find him the most suited for the presidency.

Reinforcing the President’s reelection endorsement by the first time voters was the youth spokesman who assure the Liberian leader that Nimba, on October 10, will overwhelming vote for him and CDC legislative candidates in the county.

He said the youth have compared the history of Nimba as told by their parents on the one hand and the events they are witnessing in their time on the other, and have come to conclusion that of all Liberian presidents, President Weah has shown matchless interest for the county and its people.

“In 2017, we the people of Nimba County voted for you overwhelmingly on mere faith and based on mere promises you made to us, and you won the elections,” he said.

“We did not let you down. And throughout your six year tenure, you too did not let us down. Now that you have proven beyond all doubts to be the best presidential friend that Nimba has ever had, how can we let you down? Be assure again, Mr. President, we do have plenty votes here for you that will shock and paralyze your opponents”.

Women groups, chiefs, traditional leaders and other prominent citizens who spoke variously at the Ganta rally did not mince words regarding their affection for President Weah who according to them connected more towns and cities of the county with paved roads than any Liberian president before him.

The chiefs and traditional leaders told the President they are compelled by their consciences to abandon the urge and temptation of voting along ethnic lines for voting for development and progress.

Speaking through their respective spokespersons, the chief and traditional leaders, including women groups, said Nimba County will pay for the good things President Weah has done for them with ungratefulness but that they will show to the President and the world that Nimba people are not ingrates.

“The Almighty God and our forefathers will not forgive us if we turned our backs on you, Mr. President, for all that you have done for this county—many of the things being first time in our history—and entertain the temptation of voting someone only because they speak Gio or Manor.  In fact, were we to vote someone else over you, that person will not trust us. They will not carry out any development here in Nimba because they will say no matter what a president does for us, we still vote against them, we show them ingratitude.”

Harrison Yealu, an eminent person of Nimba, also assured the President that Nimba will give him high number of votes he had never before got from the county.

“Rest assure, Mr. President, that as this huge turnout is a representation of just one district, and you will see in Sanniquillie and other areas of Nimba you will stop for rallies, Nimba will give you the biggest chunk of votes ever in these elections,” he said, with cheers of endorsement from the crowds.

“You have heard it for yourself, Mr. President. The people of Nimba have spoken. The world has heard what Nimba says it will do in these elections,” Mr. Yealu said further. “The massive endorsements you have got today, from the mouths of the people, is their heart. It is not because you are the President. It is because you have done things that bring delight, comfort and joy to the hearts of people.

“Whenever we say it, we mean it literally. You and Nimba have a covenant that was sealed, tested and proven: we gave you votes, you gave us developments and appointments of the sons of Nimba. We have no reason to break the covenant now, for there are many more good things on the lineup to finish in your second term. We are under moral duty to reelect. Nimba has spoken!”

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