Kakata, Margibi County - While much attention and talks are being focused on the nomination of Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay as vice running mate to the ruling Unity Party’s presidential candidate, Joseph Boakai, the political party of the Speaker is thinking even bigger, looking at the recent nomination as the beginning of big things to come.
Speaker Nuquay, who is the lawmaker of district #5 in Margibi County, beat the odds and proved bookmakers wrong with his surprise pronouncement by Vice President Boakai after many had predicted a Nimba, Grand Bassa or South eastern vice running mate.
In Speaker Nuquay, the dynamics in Liberian politics looks to be changing, his relatively young age of 48 is appealing to a large number of people within the young generation that are preaching the politics of generational change.
On a ticket with 72-year-old Boakai and 48-year-old Speaker Nuquay, the young generation believes that when the ticket is successful to take state power, it is highly likely that a 54-year old Nuquay could succeed aging VP Boakai in six years, becoming that start point of new breed of leaders.
“If the Vice President wins this election I strongly believe that Speaker Nuquay could become the next President of Liberia because the age of the vice president might not permit him to contest for two terms,” Sheick Sheriff, a resident of Gbarnga told FrontPageAfrica Thursday.
“I want to say something but I am afraid. Our longstanding desire we have had as leaders of the central region is one step closer by the nomination of our own son Speaker Nuquay.
"I will not mince my words on this. The message must go to our brothers and sisters in Liberia."
"We the Kpelle people have to make use of our population and this is the time. With Speaker Nuquay as a vice running mate to VP Boakai, I can tell you that the Kpelle are closer to the presidency” - Senator Yallah (Bong County)
According to political pundit Weah Sondah of Gbarnga, this permutation could woo a good number of young Liberians of the intellectual class to the Boakai-Nuquay pairing comparing the tender age of Speaker Nuquay with other vice running mates to other presidential candidates.
“Nuquay’s age could appeal to many young people and that might give him the advantage if he decides to contest after VP Boakai,” he added.
In Nuquay the young generation will be hopeful that it is their time to bring freshness to Liberian politics and leadership.
PUP’s political master plan
While many preaching the generational politics could be persuaded into pushing Speaker Nuquay for the needed change, his political party, the People’s Unification Party has another political master plan.
The PUP was founded in March 2013 by Speaker Nuquay and 12 other lawmakers from Bong and Margibi Counties with an aim of producing a “Kpelle President”, according to Senator Henry Yallah, a founding member of the party.
With the nomination of Nuquay, the PUP now seems to be putting in place a political master plan that will see the party take state power in 2024.
The party has now started the rallying of the support of the vote-rich central region, Bong, Nimba and Margibi counties which, according to Sen. Yallah, is a good plan for the party as people from these central region counties are spread in good numbers across the remaining counties.
The PUP has already pledged its support to the presidency of VP Boakai but officials of the party have maintained that the party has not formed a merger with the Unity Party, therefore the PUP maintains its independence as a political party with its support only targeted at electing VP Boakai to the Presidency.
How the PUP and the Unity Party will further cement their relationship after the 2017 election will be another interesting political development.
A senior official of the PUP, Senator Yallah had always expressed the hope that the Kpelle tribe, the largest in the country according to a 2008 census result, will translate its numbers into votes in future presidential elections.
Speaking Friday at the unveiling ceremony of Nuquay by Boakai in Kakata, Yallah reiterated the party’s desire of producing a president of Liberia.
He described Speaker Nuquay’s nomination as vice running mate to Boakai as the closest step the Kpelle people have towards the Liberian presidency.
“I want to say something but I am afraid. Our longstanding desire we have had as leaders of the central region is one step closer by the nomination of our own son Nuquay,” Senator Yallah added.
No mincing words
Senator Yallah said gone are the days when the Kpelle speaking people fought to produce presidents at the advantage of those from smaller tribes.
“I will not mince my words on this. The message must go to our brothers and sisters in Liberia."
"We th Kpelle people have to make use of our population and this is the time.
"With Nuquay as a vice running mate to Boakai, I can tell you that the Kpelle are closer to the presidency,” Senator Yallah added.
“We the Kpelle people have seen as political elephant meat in the country. Our votes have been loose, no boundary.
The Boakai-Nuquay ticket is beyond Margibi and Bong Counties; is beyond Speaker Nuquay. It is about you my compatriots. Let’s shine our eyes for the future.”
Nuquay applauds Yallah Boldness
Speaker Nuquay, meanwhile, lauded Senator Yallah for his bold comments and urged citizens of Margibi County to unite in ensuring that the Boakai-Nuquay ticket becomes victorious.
He said the Boakai-Nuquay ticket will lift Liberians to prosperity, adding that the ticket will build roads and ensure that the rest of the country is not cut off when rainy season comes.
“This is the ticket that will distribute electricity everywhere in this country."
"This is the ticket that will provide education and empowerment for the young people of our country. This is the ticket that will build our country,” he added.
The Speaker said the formulation of the PUP was intended to rebirth the ideology of former Bong County superintendent Gabriel William Kpolleh when he founded the defunct Liberia Unification Party.
Speaker Nuquay said though Kpolleh’s dreams of uniting the people of the central region didn’t materialize; the PUP now has the best chance to make that dream a reality.
Speaker Nuquay used the occasion to appeal to whomsoever he may have hurt to forgive him so that they can form a team that will lift Liberia.
“It is time to forgive and forget. Let’s unite for change.”
He described his selection as the best moment that should unite the people of the central region rather than creating confusion.
“There will be no reason or excuse if we don’t succeed on this mission. This is our time, this is our moment,” he added.
“This mission is our life, is about our future. Join the team and let’s make this mission a dream for everyone of us.”
Nuquay used Friday’s program to dismiss rumors that Speaker Nuquay has been an influential member of the Margibi County legislative caucus since he became representative of district #5 in 2005.
Early but Possible
The PUP’s dream of taking state power through Nuquay sounds early but looks political possible given the recent trend in Liberian politics where even members of intellectual class are preaching a new revolution of minority vs majority.
The talk of congau vs natives has resounded so well that it is pushing more endorsements of the presidential bid of Vice President Boakai coupled with the naming of a Kpelle as his running mate, the support for Boakai has swollen in recent days.