The momentum at which the standard bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander Cummings is moving on the campaign trail is a clear indication that excellent performance in a contest is not primarily dependent upon how long one has been contesting, but how well the contestant is prepared to face the challenge.
Some had harbored the thought that Cummings, being a newcomer to the Liberian political terrain, might be unknown and therefore not appeal to the electorates, but his late arrival seems to be the very impetus of attraction that is driving support to his base across the country. And being new to the political environment creates a much coveted advantage of a clean record, or so it seems.
In a relatively short time, Cummings has made himself known and apparently accepted, not necessarily as a possible president, to the Liberian people-many of whom seem to be bored with and cynical about the better known politicians and their old tricks of politicking that are replete with lies and deception result in unfulfilled campaign promises.
Though his platform, experience and education are appealing to many Liberians, many still feel that Cummings is actually a future president and that 2017 might have just come for him too soon.
Speaking in an exclusive interview on Friday, September 8, Cummings noted that Liberia is too far behind its neighbors. "This is the time that we get started on a robust development agenda."
The former Coca-Cola executive noted that it is no secret that Liberia is decades if not half a century behind its neighbors in the Mano River Union and ECOWAS regions in terms of infrastructure development and economy and therefore to waste an additional six years would just put the country in a more precarious position.
In a passionate appeal, Cummings told our reporters: "This is the reason Liberians must elect Cummings now and not tomorrow. We must start the robust development of our country immediately. We need to start this process right away. No time to waste and no time to wait. Let us not wait another six years," he said, adding that too many Liberians are struggling and suffering and need to be attended to."
He continued, "We don't have the luxury of waiting another six years. I may not be around and I may not run in six years," he said, noting that the idea of waiting another six years is completely unappealing, and "I think most Liberians don't feel that way. What I can say is I'm running for president in 2017 and I'm focusing on winning the elections this year."
Providing an analogy to back his argument, Cummings said, "If you have an old car that keeps breaking down, and someone offers you a new car -a new technology that is reliable, will you refuse such offer? It is definitely a resounding no. This is the same scenario with Cummings and this is what we offer our people. We are focused on 2017, and we will focus on winning in 2017. I strongly believe that we will win these elections," he said with confidence.
"It is a fact that nobody controls the future. I hope to live a long time but I may not be around." Cummings' message on the campaign trail seems to be resonating with the Liberian people across the country as he has currently put himself in a comfortable position as one of the front runners of the presidential polls.
From what is observed in the campaign process, it is clear that Mr. Cummings could a favorite underdog in the October elections. His support has apparently soared since the first presidential debate where he faced off with more entrenched counterparts - VP Boakai of Unity Party, Benoni Urey of All Liberia Party and Charles Brumskine of Liberty Party.
Analyses and opinions of individuals on the radio, social media, and political centers across the country and in the Diaspora rated Cummings as the top performer of the debate. Also, many neutrals and undecided voters tend to gravitate to Cummings as a safe choice.
"The campaign has been going very well and we are gaining more momentum since it started. We have traveled all over the place making our case to the Liberian people. We are walking through the many districts," he said.
He said the team will be in Margibi, Bong, and several other counties this week to engage the electorates about the plans of the ANC.
The source of the ANC standard bearer's optimism and confidence of winning in October is being built in recent months from his campaign tours in the Southeast, and from the fact that many of the voters are undecided, which could be in his favor.
"We are appealing to the minds and consciences of the new voters who are happy with what we've got to offer. We are confident in our campaign and the strategies we are employing in this process to win votes," he said.
He added that the ANC will surprise conventional wisdom on October 10, when the party wins the first round. Cummings said he is the best of all the candidates because he brings integrity, strong intellect and a lot of experience. "We come with a good amount of work ethics. I'm a person who focuses on results and not activities. One can be very busy but doing nothing. This is not the kind of workers we need."
So far Cummings, among many other things, has been praised for being succinct on how to get the economy running, and how the country can expand its revenue base. He emphasized expanding the national budget by cutting waste and reducing the salaries of a few elites and reducing poverty through infrastructure development, thereby creating wealth for Liberians.