Gbarnga, Bong County – Standard bearer of the ruling Unity Party, Vice President Joseph Boakai is becoming the new political sensation as the country counts less than 150 days to elections.
Vice President Boakai over the past few weeks has been amassing support from various sectors
Last Thursday, 19 senators pledged their support to his candidacy, noting in a signed resolution that their decision was based on his experience in public service and his maturity in handling matters, especially when it comes to conflict resolution and reconciliation.
Vice President Boakai’s candidacy which was said to be suffering setbacks as a consequence of the failures of the Unity Party to meet the aspirations of citizens after 11-year rule – with many campaigning against continuity – has begun gaining momentum.
The UP standard bearer stormed vote-rich Bong County with a special petitioning ceremony over the weekend.
The petition ceremony was organized by a grand coalition of some political actors and prominent citizens in the county.
The coalition, according to the head of the steering committee, Senator Henry Yallah, is so grand that they have planned to recruit most of the prominent politicians in the county, irrespective of political affiliation.
The so-called grand coalition has succeeded in pulling over former Senator Franklin Siakor who ran as vice standard bearer to Liberty Party’s Charles Brumskine in the 2011general and Presidential elections.
Vice President Boakai and his entourage arrived in Bong via Nyanforla – the border town between Bong and Margibi Counties.
A large crowd of supporters accompanied Vice President Boakai and his entourage to Yellequelleh where he met with chiefs and elders of the county.
Vice President Boakai’s convoy arrived in Bong 10:45 A.M. it took him and his team about three hours to reach Gbarnga where the main event was held.
The jubilant crowd walked before the convoy from Baltimore Boulevard where he had gone to meet members of the Bong County Chapter of the National Movement to Support Vice President Boakai (NAMBO), down to the Presidential place then to the stadium.
Addressing the crowd, Senator Yallah said the massive crowd was indicative of Vice President Boakai’s acceptance by the people of Bong County.
He described Vice President Boakai as the man of the people who Liberians can look up to develop the country.
Senator Yallah thanked the people of Bong County for the amazing show of support given to the vice President on his arrival.
He described the October elections as the “elections of their own”, urging the people of Bong to “unite for one goal”.
“Don’t allow anyone to disenfranchise you because of this. Remain resolute, and I believe that the support you have shown today by this crowd will translate to votes in October, and we will win,” he said.
In an endorsement read by Senator Yallah on behalf of citizens said the citizens said their decision was the result of the leadership quality of Vice President Boakai over the years.
According to Yallah, the people of the county said they were supporting the vice President's candidacy because of his quest to support quality education, the rebuilding of farm-to-market road and unite Liberians.
Bong County residents, through a petition, said they were glad to be supporting a man who has served the country for more than 30 years in different places with honesty, dedication and integrity.
Meanwhile, a visibly elated Prince Moye (Bong, District 2) in Bong, urged his supporters to join other members of the county in making Vice President Boakai the next President of Liberia.
“I can see that for the first time in a while people of Bong are together and resolute on one common agenda, irrespective of tribe or religion, and that is ‘Agenda Make Vice President Boakai President’. Our charge towards victory will start from now,” he said.
Accepting the petition, Vice President Boakai appreciated the support given to his candidacy by the people of Bong.
He said the relationship between Bong and Lofa Counties goes beyond politics. "Put politics aside, we have a longstanding relationship as a people and I think it’s about time we demonstrate that relationship to the fullest," he said.
Vice President Boakai said he was pleased that the people of Bong were willing to respond to the request of their traditional uncle in Lofa County. He said he was glad that the petition was coming from "reliable people" in whom he had always trusted.
"When the people of Bong County speak, it is real. I trust this petition wholeheartedly," he said.
He then urged the people of the county to demonstrate their commitment for his Presidential ambition by coming out on Election Day to ensure he wins one round to avoid expenses in the runoff.
Bong County is politically fractured, evidenced by the selection of Jeremiah Sulunteh as running mate to Alexander B. Cummings of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) and Senator Jewel Howard Taylor as running mate to George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). The pair is prominent citizens of the county.