17 July 2017

Liberia: Good or Evil

Last week's selection of House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay, a son of Margibi County, by Vice President Joseph N. Boakai as his running mate was greeted with mix-reactions by citizens of the county, with some looking at the good or evil associated with it.

A time-choked and nerve-racking selection of Nuquay, the first son of the ideally situated county after prolonged delay, disgorged concerns in many quarters as it also came as a shock because some had believed that the Unity Party standard-bearer would have picked his running mate from Nimba after his recent four-day visit to that county.

The Margibi District #5 representative outweighed other distinguished and equally tipped individuals including ex-President Pro Tempore Ghezhongar Findley, Rep. Matenokay Tingbah of Nimba, Senator Henry Yallah of Bong County to the post.

In a Bush Chicken interview a day after the announcement, some citizens welcomed the news, while others in the county see it unfavorable due to what they consider as the poor leadership Nuquay has provided in the county.

Daniel Johnson, a resident of Harbel, said Nuquay's selection is not something to boast about, indicating that the Speaker and other lawmakers from the county were responsible for many of the problems the people of Margibi face.

He made specific reference to scholarships for students were canceled under the leadership of Nuquay as chair of the Margibi County Legislative Caucus, and that most of the projects carried out during his tenure were either abandoned or never started.

"If Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay succeeds on the ticket of the Unity Party as vice president of this country, the interest of the ordinary Liberian will be compromised due to his bad leadership style," Johnson feared.

He said he (Nuquay) and other lawmakers at the House of Representatives are responsible for the suffering of Liberians, though he has professed to be a grassroots leader.

A Margibian and civil society activist now based in the United States of America wrote on Facebook, calling on Margibians to resist the Boakai- Nuquay ticket during the presidential election.

Vandalark Patricks who suffered police brutality under this regime, said Nuquay and other majority lawmakers in the county had robbed the people of Margibi of their wealth for their personal gains.

"I am not surprised because birds of the same feather flock together," Patricks added.

He described the Unity Party vice standard bearer as another nightmare who had come in different form and must be rejected by Margibians, accusing Nuquay of using Margibi's county development funds in 2014 to support and finance the senatorial campaign of Margibi Senator Jim Tornolah.

Perhaps expected, Dekontee Sayway, head of the Brumskine Youth Movement, Margibi County, said God had ideally placed the two underperforming leaders on a ticket that would easily see them retire from the government comes October this year.

According to him, only Margibians who would support the presidential bid of the VP are those who had benefited immensely from the corrupt system of the Unity Party regime.

However, other residents in the county welcomed the decision of Boakai to have selected a son of Margibi who is respected in the county and Liberia at large.

Jasper Chea, a resident of Bondiway, Lower Margibi, said all Margibians should embrace Nuquay and Boakai for the good of the county.

Chea noted he could not wait to see Margibi, a county close to the Liberia's capital, produce her own vice president, and called on Margibians to put aside their differences and work together in the interest of development.

The same was John Tamba another resident of Margibi who frowned on Margibians that are criticizing the selection of Nuquay. He described those criticizing the selection of Nuquay as people who don't mean well in seeing the county move forward.

"The likes of Grand Bassa, Nimba, and Bong were all yearning to see a son of their soil being selected, but saw the contrary," he voiced and called on Margibians to see the Nuquay selection as an achievement for all citizens in the county and do away with the criticisms.

Others are hoping to see the sour relationship between Nuquay and Rep. Ben Fofana of Margibi's fourth district settled since they now belong to the same political party.

"If the people of the fourth district want to see development reach them, they must vote against the current lawmaker Ben Fofana," Nuquay is quoted as making the remarks.

The UP vice standard-bearer is said to have endorsed the representative bid of one Francis Cooper of the People's Unification Party, a party he helped established after severing ties with the ruling Unity Party.

Nuquay entered politics in 2005 and was elected representative of Margibi's fifth district, formerly the first district. He served as chairman of the Ways, Means, and Finance Committee for several years before becoming speaker in 2016.

He ascended to the position of speaker after former Speaker J. Alex Tyler resigned as the presiding officer of the House of Representatives to allow for investigations at the Supreme Court linking him to bribery in the Sable Mining saga.

Nuquay's acceptance to contest as vice running mate to Boakai means he will not be contesting for the third term in Margibi's fifth district. He had earlier been petitioned by his constituents to contest for the third term in the district.

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