MONROVIA: Against the assumption that his election as speaker of the house of representatives will be a storming block to the agenda of the incoming government, the newly elected Speaker of the 55th national legislature, Honorable Jonathan Fonati Koffa has said his immediate agenda is to work President elect Joseph Nyuma Boakai and his work to ensure it succeeds, stressing that the government is not for a particular group of people or party but “the government is for everybody.”
Speaker Koffa made the assertion yesterday, Monday, January 15, 2024, at the Capitol Building when delivered his acceptance remarks after he was declared winner of the keenly contested speakership ahead of Representative Richard Nagbe Koon, candidate of the Unity Party Alliance with 36 votes against 31 out of the 67 votes cast.
In his short, moving remark, Speaker Koffa said as a demonstration of his agenda to work with the incoming government, he honored an invitation from President elect Boakai and both of them discussed what Boakai intends to do during his tenure.
“I was fortunate about a week ago to have a close meeting with the President elect of the Republic of Liberia. While I will keep most of the conversation confidential, I would like to say the president-elect outlined two broad visions for which we in the 55th legislature are prepared to work on assiduously. I am sure a week after his inauguration, he will be home”, Speaker Koffa said.
Touching on the President elect’s agenda, Koffa said Boakai pointed out that corruption will be enemy number one which will not be a slogan but actuality and he assured Boakai that he will work with his government to ensure that the plan succeeds.
“He also expressed that the infrastructure needs of this country, especially roads, especially in my region, the Southeast, must be accelerated and to that I felt it so gratifying.
“I pledge to you, Mr. President elect of the Republic of Liberia, to use my gavel of authority in this house to continue to work with you and to move the agenda, after all we are all one government. Your government’s failure is the failure of the legislature and the failure of the legislature is the failure of the government”, Koffa said.
As a thorough and results-oriented public figure, Speaker Koffa said in order to have a clear beginning, there was a need for all unfinished businesses in 54th national legislature to be carried over in the 55th legislature “so that we can finally come to some resolution or something that was left undone, notably the issue of war and economic crime”.
“We must take up the matter, visit our people and finally come to one resolution on that question. We will be meeting with you Mr. President and we will be asking you for your indulgence as we work with you to carve a meaningful agenda for this country”, he said.
The Speaker had earlier in his remark told his colleagues that the election was over and there was an urgent need to rally around a common cause of governance for the benefit of the Liberian people. “I also want to say that this ends the last of the 2023 election process; I appeal to you my colleagues as I said time and time again that the time for politics is over. The time for governance has begun”, he said amidst cheers from his colleagues and the audience that witnessed the occasion.
“Again I am humble, again I am overwhelmed and to the extent today, if I said anything to make anyone uncomfortable, create fear or revive someone’s insecurity that was not my true intention. I spoke from my head and not from my heart. I wish that you, my fellow colleagues will forgive me and give me the opportunity as we work towards building an agenda to show our children and fellow citizens our future is built”, he said.
He thanked his family, colleagues and friends who made it to ascend to the “office of first among equals”, adding “it is bountiful mercies and blessings upon me that has taken me in a long journey of where I find myself today”.
“I will be remiss if I do not say thank you to my family and my good friends who stayed course in difficult times, in adversity, in scandal and slander, in good times and bad times to you, I am very grateful”, he said.
Speaker Koffa having been given the gavel of authority by the presiding officer Madam Mildred Siryon, then conducted the Deputy Speakership where Representative Thomas P. Fallah was elected as Deputy Speaker ahead of Representative Musa Hassan Bility of District #7, Nimba County with 42 votes to 24 out of 66 votes cast.