It appears President Ellen Johnson is gradually being convinced that her Vice President has all it takes to be a good successor; that is, if he is endorsed by the Liberian people at the upcoming polls in October. The President will have to accept her VP has shown signs of true leadership--tenacity, strength and maturity to act on his own. The UP standard bearer and the standard bearer emeritus appeared to be in one accord when they showed smiles at the Unity Party headquarters in Congo Town where issues that seemed to have overwhelmed the party of late appeared to have dissipated.
Many critics believe that the President considers her chief lieutenant, who has been by her side for the past eleven years, as a weakling, but recent developments appear to speak otherwise.
The personal endeavor of Vice President Joseph Boakai to purchase 22 brand new pickups for use by the Unity Party, coupled with the mature manner in which he has handled the internal conflict that has rocked UP in recent times, showed that the VP has the strength, character and fortitude to lead the party.
The President, from her facial and bodily expressions, showed that she was convinced because her statement at the dedication of the vehicles and other logistics at the party's headquarters showed that she is fully supportive of VP Boakai.
Much has been in the news of late that the ruling Unity Party is unable to compete with other parties on the financial and logistical fronts--which was further exacerbated by an alleged rift that many believed was tearing the party apart.
But an all-smiles Ellen lauded the VP for keeping the party tight and functional inspite of the internal problems over the last few months. The purchase of the fleet of vehicles, which the President admitted is the VP's own initiative, is a great boost for the party.
She lauded the Vice President for his tireless efforts in making the party's dreams become reality through his sacrifices.
"I want to commend the personal strength of the standard bearer for his work. All of what he has done in terms of the vehicles and other works were done by him... I never supported the process but I remain committed to the party," she said.
She said that detractors who are spreading negative news about her and the Vice President in terms of her support to the party should remember, "The Bible says by one's fruits he or she is known. I think we all are beginning to know who our standard bearer is by his fruits," she said. "I think that everyone in the country would see and support Boakai by his fruits."
The President indicated that whatever has happened within the party is now behind them and encouraged all partisans to come together, because the party, she said, has transformed the country.
With the purchase of the vehicles and his handling of the exoduses of top UP stalwarts, VP Boakai has proven that he is the man the President has been waiting to see, one that she can entrust with the leadership of the country. The President said it is now time to work and ensure that the VP has an overwhelming victory at the October polls. "I want to call on all partisans of this great party that it is time for us to work and improve on all of the good works we have done," she said. "The UP has done a great work for this country."
All speakers at the event alluded to the fact that there was a rift within the party but it did not degenerate into a crisis because of the mature manner in which the UP conducted its activities. "We are not at war, though there have been some differences but we have never been at war," the VP said.
He called on partisans to always show respect to all officials of the party despite internal differences. "This is why the UP is the best in this country--the mature manner in which we handle our differences," he said.
He urged partisans and all Liberians to treat President Sirleaf with respect, because the Unity Party will not encourage any division, as that will not bode well for the betterment of the country.
The VP said that the 22 vehicles "is just the beginning of more to come to adequately empower the party for the October polls."
The commissioning ceremony was attended by top officials of the party, including Chairman, Wilmot Paye; Secretary General, Lenn Eugene Nagbe; and many others. Many UP partisans also stormed the grounds of the headquarters to witness the occasion.