Liberia: Veteran Journalist, Jonathan Paye-Layleh Educates People in Nimba the Importance of the Upcoming Population Census

Mr. Paye-Layleh (wearing a facemask) pose for photos with citizens of Nyenkpalla after the town hall meeting

MONROVIA – The veteran Liberian journalist, Jonathan Paye-Layleh, has begun a personal campaign to educate people in his native Nimba County about the essence of the upcoming National Housing and Population Census.

The Liberian government has announced that the much-delayed census will now happen in 2022, a year to the next presidential and general elections.

The first leg of the journalist’s trip took him on December 5 to the largely Kpelleh-speaking towns of Sokopa, Gelepa, Tinyi (Tinsue) and Nyenkpalla in  Mein-Boyee Clan, Meinpea-Mah District, where he received a warm reception. Those are the first towns along the St. John River, just on entering Nimba County from Bong.

In town hall meetings Mr. Paye-Layleh told citizens  that a census is constitutional in Liberia and should actually be held every ten years; he emphasized that the outcomes lead to several benefits including helping with regional development planning.

“Census results back citizens in their demands on national government to deliver and it enables national authorities too to know what is needed where,” Mr. Paye-Layleh told citizens who listened keenly.

“It also helps with the fair distribution and adjustments of electoral districts because the constitution orders that,” he said, “and so I’m glad that the young and  old  have all come out to  listen and participate in these discussions.”

Mr. Paye-Layleh is known to come from the background of journalism; but his university achievements are also in the areas of leadership and governance, international relations, global security, peace and conflict resolution, violence prevention, general sociology, community development and public administration.

The census awareness initiative will take the veteran journalist to other places in the  county; but he says the use of community radio stations will be the best and easiest channel to get the message across the vast county.

Mr. Paye-Layleh, in his discussion in each town, reminded citizens that Nimba County can make recommendations to the central government for improved and additional services based on the results of the census.

“Perhaps based on an increased population as a result of our counting, we could ask that a university be built in faraway places like Tappita to benefit people from surrounding chiefdoms, clans and towns,” he said.

On his tour, Mr. Paye-Layleh donated sport items to young people  and badly needed instructional materials to schools in the towns and presented mattresses to some old vulnerable persons as an expression of his desire to be of help to them when resources are available in the future.

The chiefs and representatives of different groups in the towns thanked the journalist for the awareness visit and in every town presented him with kola nuts in appreciation.

The 58-year media practitioner, who hails from Zao Township in Lao Chiefdom, used the tour to also encourage citizens to continue the Covid-19 preventive measures because the pandemic is still around with a new variant reported.

It can be recalled that when the Corona Virus disease broke out in Liberia in 2020, Mr. Paye-Layleh placed a   faucet buckets and other preventive materials in every town in the administrative districts of Meinpea-Mah, Lee-Wehpea and  Wee-Gbehyi.

Hospitals and radio stations in Ganta and Sanniquellie also benefited from the journalist’s gesture.