18 June 2014

Liberia: Count Him Out - Neyor Bows Out of Montserrado Senatorial Race

Monrovia — Dr. Christopher Neyor, one of several figures eyeing the coveted Montserrado County Senatorial elections in Liberia has pulled out of the race. In a press statement Wednesday, Neyor, whose open letter to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf this week triggered a wave of controversy, insinuated that he was giving up a small battle in order to win the bigger war.

"I have stated all along my consultation and fact-finding trails around Montserrado County that my intent to contest the Senate seat for the county in the 2014 Special Senatorial election was not about a selfish desire just to be Senator, but rather a response to the cry of the youth, women, elders and other citizens across the county for better representation of their hopes and aspirations in the Liberian Senate."

Neyor said while he believes there are few hardworking officials with integrity in the government, the leadership of Liberia has been marred with extreme nepotism and corruption concealed in deception of the highest magnitude.

Said Neyor: "One cannot be serious about effecting change in Liberia without pointing out and exposing the ills of the country, ills that have been hindrance to our economic and social development for decades. The country is rich in natural resources, yet abject poverty remains unabated and is more pronounced in the slums of Montserrado County, where children and the skill-less and jobless live in appalling conditions without any benefit from the resources that belong to all citizens. Other counties do not fare much better either."

Neyor, who had in recent days been petitioned to contest the Senatorial race, which is expected to field the likes of football legend George Weah, Joyce Musu Freeman and Liberty Party's Benjamin Sanvee, suggested that instead of honestly endeavoring to formulate appropriate and measured response to the plight and cry of the people, the current leadership in Liberia has been engaged in lies, manipulation and uncontrollable corruption eating away at the core of the nation.

"These old ills now exhibited to new levels, if not contained, have the propensity to drive us into chaos again. When a citizen dares to point out these malaises, they use ill-begotten money and surrogates to destroy the messenger disregarding the message."

Added Neyor: "Because this campaign to change the course of our country for the better is not about a position or me, I am withdrawing from the Montserrado County Senatorial race effective immediately. I will spearhead a Coalition of the Conscious for a new Liberia to demand an immediate change to the body politic."

Neyor apologized to his supporters for his exit: "To my many supporters across Montserrado County, I know you will be disappointed by this decision to withdraw from a race we were going to win. Rest assured this is the beginning of us working together for the betterment of our country. There are better days ahead for Montserrado County and Liberia."

Neyor triggered controversy this week when he accused Sirleaf of masterminding a plot to destroy his quest for the Montserrado Senatorial race. "Your threat to destroy me comes at a time when there are media reports of your son, Robert frantically trying to buy off all the Montserrado County's Senatorial candidates and promising cash for others to abandon their political parties to support his candidacy for Montserrado."

"Your threats with Robert's millions. Despite these threats, I will remain a formidable candidate for the senate race. I take your statement as a serious threat to my person because in our part of the world when a President with all the power of the State wants to destroy a citizen, the order is usually followed to the letter."

Neyor alludes to several ways he says, could be used to ruin him, declaring: "Destroying a citizen can take many forms, including made up accidents, poison, fabrication of stories that attacks one's integrity or loyalty to the State (sedition, terrorism, etc.) or any combination of these plus more. I know you and your son are capable of this because we have gone down that road before when including when he tried to frame me as anti-American and had me under 24hr surveillance when I was removed from NOCAL. Madame President, you swore in your oath of office as our President to uphold the constitution, which guarantees the protection of life, liberty and property of every citizen."

On Wednesday, Neyor, followed up his open letter with another response to an interview the President reportedly gave to the Daily Observer newspaper in which she described Neyor as a man possessing a troubled mind.

Says Neyor: "It is sad that the President characterize me as having a troubled mind to write her the Open Letter. I recalled the President's only defense to Leymah Gbowee's remarks about her poor governance and inability to reconcile the country was that Ms Gbowee was young; she had a young mind. The attack dogs followed this and I know it won't be any different with me."

Neyor went on to unleash several documents he says are aimed at rebuffing the president's response to his open letter. "It was not my intention to follow the Open Letter with the release of several documents I have as advised by elders of our country, but when the President in response to what I stated in the letter makes untrue assertions in her usual "deceptive" attempts to refute all the truths I stated in the letter, I will be forced to release those documents so that the public can be the better judge."

Added Neyor: "She stated that at no time I brought to her attention the issue of anyone bribing me. Well, I stated in the open letter that the President ridiculed me in the Cabinet room in a meeting attended by Justice Minister and her Legal Adviser plus others that I thought I was the only perfect person in the government who will not take bribes. Those officials in that meeting are still around and are honorable to confirm when necessary. How would the President make such derogatory remark when I have not brought to her an attempt of bribery?"

Neyor then released a communication he says he submitted to the president regarding the alleged bribery attempt.

"Madame President, we are in an election year and the democracy you have spearheaded in our country has now produced a much more open society where transactions like this one are subject to public and international scrutiny ... My conscience is clear in laying out to you what is at stake, Madame President. "

"The easy way out would have been accepting the two million dollars or so bribe Broadway and their creditors tempted me with several times to allow them find a farm-in partner rather than divest. I could have had a couple of million dollars, but the country and people would have lost over $30 million dollars of immediate revenue through the creative process I devised. Moreover, Broadway and an incompetent and equally corrupt partner could have been around the block for many more years."

It is unclear whether Neyor's exit from the race is tied to criticisms from some of his critics who questioned the timing of his open letter to the president on the eve of a Senatorial election amid concerns that his move may have been part of a politically-motivated ploy to give him an edge in the race. What is certain, political observers say, is that the Montserrado Race remains CDC's George Weah's to lose. Voter turnout and the impact of the incumbent, Freeman and the youthful Sanvee as well as the potential entry of Robert Sirleaf, who is yet to declare his intentions, are also factors which could decide the outcome of what is building up to be one of the more anticipated races in the Mid Term elections.

Sirleaf, considered a wild card says he will not be pressured into making his intentions known. "Although Mr. Robert Sirleaf possesses the same right as any other, he has not made such a decision. No one will either compel him to or intimidate him from doing so," Sirleaf's office said in a statement this week.

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