15 February 2013

Liberia: Nimba Wants to Produce Next President

If the world should seize to exist today, only Maryland, Grand Gedeh, Montserrado as well as "Bomi" Counties will go down in history as the only ones whose sons and daughter made it to the presidency of Africa's oldest independent nation. But as eternity continues to depict the course of human existence, other counties are pushing hard to be counted and, moreover, enjoy the pleasantry of such honor. One of the counties banging on heaven doors is Nimba, the largest and the most populated as it stands. As Mark Newa of our staff finds out, the people of the county, ahead of the 2017 presidential race, are mounting serious hunt for a candidate who will rise to the occasion.

Perhaps not contended with the record of having largest population, credentials of having more educated people than any other county and having good and expanded cities and towns, or producing a transitional president in person of Moses Blah, the county of Nimba is determined to march the records of counties whose sons and daughters made it to the presidency of the country.

If reports gathered by this paper worth any iota of believability, then Nimba is well advanced in identifying one its best brains, best trained and experienced and respected sons to take up the challenge of running for the presidency in the pending historic 2017 general and presidential elections in which there would be no incumbent candidate, as the president leader is, by the constitution, ineligible to run.

According to the report, several lawmakers of the county including a former minister of education are discussing and figuring out who the next possible presidential candidate would be.

In the 2005 and 2011 presidential races, Nimba produced two presidential candidates, but none of them came close to crossing the Rubicon.

Former Education Minister Joseph Korto did not make it to the top in 2005 so also was Senator Prince Jobnson in 2011.

Despite his failure to prove himself worthy of the trust of the people of Liberia in 2011, Senator Johnson, according to the report, is among individuals opting for the presidency along with District#9 Representative R. Miantonakay Tingban and Joseph Korto.

Series of meetings have been taking place but with no noticeable breakthrough due to other intricacies, in that the concerned individuals are not coming on term with who to push forth.

It is gathered that due to pressure or political wrangling from within the county, former candidate Korto had to call a quit, thereby the leaving the race between two contenders, both of whom are lawmakers.

Most of the meetings during which interested individuals failed to reach consensus, the report says, were held in several parts of the country including Nimba, Monrovia and outside of Liberia.

"Dr. Korto found it difficult to convince his fellow kinsmen in his quest to take the helm of power in 2017. His failure leaves room for the two contending lawmakers who presumably are rubbing shoulders as to who wins the confidence of the people," the report said.

There is a growing contention between the two contenders and their supporters.

As it stands, one of them in person of Rep. Tingban, as a way of winning the hearts of the people of the county, is spreading development programs to other parts of the county.

The reports have it that some citizens of the county are of the opinion that Rep. Tingban who ran as independent in the 2011 elections for the House is likely a choice for the locals because of his personal relationship with the people, especially in the provision of scholarships to students and the rehabilitation of feeder roads in other parts of the county at his own volition.

With Senator Johnson chances, there are questions that beg answers, considering his recent open endorsement of the disbursement of more than US$2 million by the CBL to village savings and loan and associations; micro finance institutions and credit unions, (a CBL loan extension program).

At the time, he said governor Mills Jones' intervention in the rural economy could be an opportunity for him work his way through to become the next President of Liberia in 2017.

"I do want not be political here, but I want to say that the action of the Executive Governor of the CBL to disburse money to the private sector shows can surely put one on the map especially in the race to become a President", Senator Johnson said then.

However, pundits say Dr. Korto's decision to back off from the race and Senator Johnson's recent statement of recognizing and encouraging Dr. Jones speak volumes for Rep. Tingban, as he will likely be in the race as presidential candidate from the county in 2017.

Pundits also argued that Dr. Korto's latest decision to back off from the race as possible presidential candidate is a clear manifestation that his dream of becoming president of Liberia is highly unlikely.

Whatever the outcome, it is glaringly clear that the county of Nimba is dogged to produce Liberia's next president after Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

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