Liberia: Sen. Dillon Backpeddles on “From Saul to Paul” Comments in Support of Musa Bility Chairmanship of Liberty Party

MONROVIA – The Vice Chairman for Political Affairs of the opposition Liberty Party (LP), Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, has backpedaled over his previous comments supporting the character of renowned Liberian businessman turned politician, Musa Hassan Bility as the new Chairman of the LP, despite his alleged link to multiple financial scandals.

Senator Dillon is representing the people of Montserrado County in the 54th National Legislature on the ticket of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) alliance.

The LP is one of the political parties that make up the CPP. Other parties that form part of the CPP include: the former ruling Unity Party (UP), Alternative National Congress (ANC), and the All Liberian Party (ALP).

Bility, former President of the Liberia Football Association (LFA) was elected to steer the affairs of the opposition Liberty Party at its just ended controversial convention, held in Gbarnga, Bong County on January 23.

He and other executives of the party were elected unopposed.

Bility, who is the owner of Truth FM 96.1, Real TV and Srimex, replaces Lofa County Senator Steve Zargo who resigned from the LP barely few days to the conduct of the party’s convention.

The Liberty Party, which was once considered as a “party of integrity” in Liberia, received barrage of criticism and condemnations minutes after the election of Bility as the new Chair of the party.

Critics made specific reference to the ban placed on Bility at the time he served as executive committee member of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), and accusation linking him to the squandering of funds intended for the resettlement of scores of citizens in Nimba County following the conclusion of a land dispute in 2013, among others .

Bility was banned by football governing body Fifa for 10 years and fined him $500,000 for breaching its code of ethics.

He was found “guilty of having misappropriated Fifa funds, as well as having received benefits and found himself in situations of conflict of interest”. Fifa said it has been investigating the 52-year-old since May 2018 following a forensic audit of the LFA.

The misappropriation of Fifa funds at the time was in relation to those granted under the global body’s “11 against Ebola” campaign and as part of its Financial Assistance Programme. Liberia was one of three west African countries affected by an outbreak of Ebola between 2013 and 2016, when more than 10,000 people lost their lives.

“Saul to Paul” Comments

But in respond to those criticizing delegates at the LP recent convention for electing Bility, Senator Dillon in a post on his official facebook pageMonday; backed the newly elected LP Chairman, by stating a biblical reference with a hope that Bility is now a changed person.

 “Jehovah God used some of the worst sinners on earth to do his work on for His glory. Some of those sinners probably had no intention of changing for the better; God used them still. And they changed for the better! Yes, they changed for the better and never went back to their sinful ways”.

He continued: “We can change too and also be the reason others can change for the better! So, encourage people to change than beat them up at their attempt or opportunity to change! Let us always encourage, embrace and allow our “Sauls” to change to “Paul” for the good of our country and to the glory of God!”

The Somersault

Senator Dillon was heavily criticized by his followers and supporters for openly endorsing Bility’s chairmanship in the midst of his multiple corruption scandals.

“Shame on you ADD.. FOR THIS ENDORSEMENT….. I LOVE YOU…but please distance yourself from these so-called power grabbing corrupt politicians”, Eric Whitfield stated.

The Council of Patriots (COP), through its Secretary General, Mulbah Yorgbor, Jr also criticized the Montserrado County lawmaker for being supportive of a process that was allegedly stage managed.

“Abe Darius Dillon should have talked Martin Saye Kollah outta running for Liberty Party SG position. Kla Edward Toomey II should have gone unopposed. I’m yet to see a committed, disciplined, passionate and loyal partisan than Edward. I’m not even going to get started with his academic (both written and spoken) abilities. Also, ADD’s post congratulating Musa Bility on his victory suggests that he’s EXCITED about the result from Gbarnga”.

Yorgbor furthered: “A simple congratulations should have sufficed but to use Biblical justification for Musa and politically crucify Weah and co at every step of the way is unfair. That’s what is on my mind. I can’t hide it”.

Biting Tongue

But in reaction, Senator Dillon, on Tuesday, January 26, somersaulted by extending an apology to his supporters and critics for his “Saul to Paul” comments supporting Bility.

“In the last few days, I have come to realize that too much depends on what we say and do; too much depends on what we even fail to do or say appropriately. We can fully understand the outbursts and criticism of our “Saul to Paul” post. We admit it was ill-timed and ill-advised. No need to justify or defend! We take full responsibility and hereby express apologies especially to our supporters, as well as our critics that felt offended or “disappointed” by our post”.

“Going forward, we will be advised by the wise saying that, “Knowledge is knowing WHAT to say, but wisdom is knowing WHEN to say it. Be assured that we shall remain courageously unbending in our fight for renewal of hope for our country and people without fear or favor. We cannot afford to let down; and we dare not!! God is in control”.

Business as usual

It appears that it is becoming a “business as usual” the consistent habit of Senator Dillon to apologize to his supporters and others after knowingly taking decisions or making statements that are not being supportive of those who elected him at the National Legislature.

During the heath of political activities of the just ended senatorial elections, Senator Dillon was compelled to render an apology to an unidentified elderly woman for using disparaging and bullying comments after he was asked for assistance during his visit in the GSA Road Community, outside Monrovia.

Senator Dillon again retracted his comments and extended an apology after he threatened to stone the home and convoy of President George Manneh Weah if he is attacked by supporters while attending political rallies or events at the time.

He was severely criticized, with some of his supporters threatening to withdraw their support because his comments at the time amount to “security threat”.

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