Once again, the people of Liberia, this time citizens of Gbarpolu County, have put before the President they elected overwhelmingly in 2017 yet another a barrage of requests and challenges denying them happiness in their own land. Since President George Manneh Weah embarked upon his first tour of the countryside, and besides experiencing firsthand situations in the hinterland, the populace continues to confront him with an endless streams of development needs which have plagued them since independence. And the President is not shying away from the heat. Despite all the has done in just three years, he thinks the people’s clamor for development and their pressure on Government to deliver is justified. But, as he puts it, the people’s deputies—lawmakers—have a fair share of the responsibility since the right to allot resources is constitutionally bequeathed to them. At a town meeting in Bopolu, Gbarpolu County, the president says there is no time to make excuses and that all who have fiduciary responsibility must rise up to the occasion and change Liberia unending specter of underdevelopment. The Analyst reports.
Gbarpolu County in Western Liberia has played its part—and in no small measure—in President George M. Weah’s nationwide tours, not only putting up one of the most memorable welcome and reception ceremonies and hospitality, but also drawing the President and his government’s attention to their socioeconomic plights.
Color and Pomp
Observers believe the county, where the President’s Chief of Office Staff Nathaniel McGill and others hill, nearly dwarfed and towered over many other counties that the President has visited so far in terms of huge reception and colorful ceremonies put up.
As early as 6 am, citizens and residents from all walks of life, including women groups, traditional rulers led Chief Zanzan Kawor, youths, market women, students, motorbike riders, etc, broke into songs, dancing and chanting praises as they lined up from the bridge along the way leading to the entrance of the Capital City, Bopolu.
Also on hand to receive the President were State for Presidential Affairs Minister Nathaniel Farlo McGill, former Senator Armah Jallah, other members of the county’s legislative caucus, the Superintendent Keyah Saah and other local leaders who had joined the mammoth crowd to line the streets along the way entering Bopolu.
According to some sources, one of the main reasons why the citizens came out so massively to welcome the President was to express appreciation for the appointment of one of the illustrious sons from the county, Mr. Nathaniel Falo McGill. It was also stated that it was more so because after President Weah’s election, development initiatives carried out in Gbarpolu County are visible and stunning.
Youth wing and other partisans of the CDC paraded the streets of Bopolu singing, dancing and chanting political slogans hailing the President and his many achievements since he became president.
The long wait by citizens and residents of the county came to an end when the presidential convoy arrived at the bridge for the brief welcome ceremony and the people went into wild jubilation, especially when President disembarked from his vehicle along with his wife, Mrs. Clar Marie Weah, waving to the people.
Chief Zanzan Kawor, Chairman of the traditional council of Liberia, led an array of dignitaries to officially receive the President and party. He presented the traditional kola nut, white chicken as a symbol of peace and clear heart.
The President and party then proceeded to the venue of the 100 housing units built for the people under the presidential housing project.
The entourage later on moved to the town hall where an elaborate welcome ceremony was held at which time the people of Gbarpolu expressed thanks and appreciation through various groups to the president for initiating impactful development projects for the county and appointing worthy sons and daughters of the county, prominent among them being Mr. Nathaniel Falo McGill, the Minister of state for Presidential Affairs.
Citizens Make Requests
Speaking for the youth, Mr. Jango Kanneh thanked President Weah for the payment of the WASSCE fees for 9th and 12th graders and free education in public institutions as well as the assistance given to the county health team.
He appealed to the president for the construction of a vocational training center and a youth recreation center.
He also praised the president for changing the development landscape in the county which is being spearheaded by Mr. Nathaniel McGill and other sons and daughters in the government.
“The situation in the county today Mr. President has changed from Blue to Green because of the presence of Mr. Nathaniel F. McGill and others from the county and we are happy for it”, Mr. Kanneh said.
Madam Mary Gayflor, leader of the women group commended the President for the visit and also thanked him for the love he has for the people of Gbarpolu County for the development he has undertaken and also with the appointment of notable citizens to key positions of trust in government. She vowed on behalf the women of Gbarpolu to campaign and vote for President Weah in 2023.
The head of the Market/Business community speaking later, thanked the president for his visit and for giving them the hardworking local authority, especially the appointment of Mr. Zinnah Momo, City mayor of Bopolu whom they described as very energetic and passionate for his job.
They also commended the president for the 100 housing units constructed for the people.
She also made an appeal for the president to build a market structure for them. Like the previous speaker, she too on behalf of the marketers and business community promised that her group will campaign and vote for the president massively in 2023.
Taking the turn for the traditional council, Paramount John Reeves welcomed the president warmly as well as thanked him for his commitment to develop the county.
He used the occasion to acquaint the President with the challenges being faced by the chiefs in the county among which are that most of the chiefs in the county are not on government payroll and lack of mobility for them to move around. He also told the president of the deplorable road condition between Bopolu and Bella Yella District.
He also asked the president that with the hospital project fast going on, there was a need for some young people from the county to be sent abroad to learn and return home to take care of the facility.
Mr. J. Keyah Saah, the Superintendent of the county, who before speaking had sought the blessings of the Paramount Ruler in the county who goes with the title “Dakpanah”, speaking on behalf of the local authority and people of the county showered praises on the president for his insightful leadership and development drives for the county and the appointment of prominent citizens from the county. He mentioned specifically of the peace that is reigning in the country, the ongoing construction of the 100 bed hospital and the 100 housing units for the county as testimony of the visionary leadership of the president.
No time for Excuses
President Weah, responding to the many speeches made, said he was grateful to the people of Gbarpolu for the overwhelming welcome accorded him and his entourage as well as thanking them for the support they gave him during the 2017 presidential election that brought him to power.
“I want to thank you for the support you gave me in 2017. There were all sorts of things they said about me; that I am not educated, that I will take the country backward if I became president; all sorts of negative things but you still stood by me and today I am your president. I will not disappoint you; this government is your government,” Mr. Weah said amid thunderous cheers from the people.
He also said among other things that people should not lavish praises on him for Minister McGill because according to him, Mr. McGill worked and merit the job he was given.
Announcing a couple of development projects his administration has done in Gbarpolu, and those in the offing very soon, including electrifying main streets, building a 100 bed health facility, constructing paved roads, amongst others, the President said he was elected to serve Liberians and that there was no time to make excuses.
“During the 2017 elections, many people came to you and each of us said we would be the best leader if elected,” the President said. “Best leader means we would improve your living condition, ensure national security and peace. Today, having been elected, and despite the difficulties of the day, I will work for you and will not make excuses.”
But the President was quick to state that the citizens of Gbarpolu and by extension Liberia should not forget that other elected leaders do also have responsibility to improve the lives of the people.
“Liberians have to know that they elected others who had equally promised they would better the citizens’ lives if elected. And some these people were elected on the basis of the promises they make. You must hold them responsible to deliver on their promises.”
The President continued: “Your lawmakers in particular are also best suited to solve some of the problems and challenges you are talking about. These are the people that the Constitution gave powers to allot national resources. The allot money for development. So, if you say you want good roads, you want clinics, drugs and more teachers and school materials, these are the people that give us the money. And you must hold them responsible to deliver. Don’t let them give excuses; for you did not elect them to ignore your problems and look up to others to do what they are supposed to do.”