Liberia: Don't Confirm Them

Liberian parliamentary building

Opposition political parties here have unanimously cautioned the Liberian Senate not to confirm the newly nominated Commissioners of the National Elections Commissions (NEC), following public outcry over the nomination of self-proclaimed naturalized Liberian Cllr. Ndubuisi Nwabudike, and Tech savvy Floyd Sayor.

In separate presentations, the opposition leaders argue the nomination by President George Weah is an affront to the Liberian people and governance of the state.They unanimously agreed the NEC chairman-designate, Cllr. Ndubuisi Nwabudike, Commissioners-designate Floyd Sayor, Davidetta Lasanna, and Josephine Kou Gaye should not be confirmed by the senate for lack of integrity and identity crisis.

Cllr. Nwabudike, a Nigerian-born self-proclaimed naturalized Liberian told Senators on Capitol Hill Monday during confirmation hearing that he naturalized as a Liberian in 1982 at the age of 16, arguing that he was accompanied by an adult.

However, Chapter 21 of the Aliens and Nationality Law of Liberia states that a naturalization applicant must be at least 21 years of age at the time of the petition.

This process requires a two-step approach - that is, first making a declaration of intent to naturalize before a Circuit Court, followed by the actual petition for naturalization which must be filed between the second and third anniversary dates of the declaration of intent.

But legal experts say the argument that Cllr. Nwabudike claims he was admitted to the Liberia National Bar by the Supreme Court and therefore, that validates his Liberian citizenship does not hold water simply because the Supreme Court is not in the business of investigating claims and it is not the branch of government that awards citizenship.

His citizenship has drawn widespread opposition among ordinary Liberians and politicians, raising integrity and credibility questions about his preferment by the President to head Liberia's electoral commission.

President Weah on March 21, nominated to the NEC, Cllr. Nwabudike as Chairman, Madam Davidetta Browne Lansanah Co-Chairman, Cllr. Ernestine Morgan-Awar, Commissioner; Mr. Floyd Sayor Commissioner; Barsee Kpankpa Commissioner, and Madam Josephine Kou Gaye Commissioner, respectively.But the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Tuesday described the move by the opposition parties as dangerous.

The CDC also frown at the decision by the senate's committee on election to solicit opinions from leaders of political parties on the confirmation hearing of the newly nominated chairman and commissioners of the NEC saying it is a dangerous precedent for the democratic space of Liberia.

Speaking at the called meeting by the committee Tuesday, March 31, in the Joint Chambers of the Capitol, CDC Chairman MulbahMorlu said it is wrong footing for national leaders especially, senators who are regarded as elders of the land to ask political parties' views on nominees, adding it is first of its kind and should not be encouraged by legislators.

According to Chairman Morlu, the CDC is not interested in who heads the National Elections Commission or who's nominated as commissioners because it s a grassroots-based political party popular with the Liberian people.He hopes the decision of senators at the close of the hearing would not be based on sentiment and falsehood created by leaders of opposition political parties.

According to Morlu, opposition political party like the Liberty Party is known for taking every little issue to the Supreme Court, noting that because the opposition leaders have no facts in their presentation, so they are using political tricks to mislead the Liberian people.

"The united choragus (song) from the opposition is a clear manifestation that argument is based on falsehood, sentiments and only intended to play on the minds of the elders of our land. It is my view that the senate remains honorable and does the right," he cautions.

Political parties present at the meeting include; the former ruling Unity Party represented by Mr. Worlea Saywah Dunah, Alternative National Congress represented by its national secretary general Aloysius Toe; the Liberty Party by its secretary general Jacob Smith, the True Whig Party led by Chairman Reginald Goodridge, and the CDC by Chairman Morlu.

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