Liberia: Pres. Weah Withdraws NEC Nominee, Looks for Possible Replacement as Prominent Names Under Consideration


MONROVIA – Without waiting on the Senate’s decision on the confirmation hearing of Cllr. A. Ndubusi Nwabudike who found himself wanting in his attempt to prove his nationality as Liberian and show himself worthy of heading Liberia’s National Election Commission (NEC) President George Weah has recalled the nomination as FrontPageAfrica gathered, the President is already reading through the microscope for a better suitor for the integrity post.

Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]

Cllr. Nwabudike did not go through confirmation hearing when he served as Chairman of the Governance Commissioner; he sailed through the Senate with ease when he was appointed by President Weah to serve as Chairman of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) but with elections coming up in October and the subsequent 2023 presidential and general elections, major stakeholders and the public have their eyes fixed on who takes charge of the NEC.

FrontPageAfrica has received hints on some of the names before the President for consideration. Information gathered revealed that President Weah is already in consultation with some of the individuals recommended to him for possible consideration as Chairman of the National Elections Commission. They include:

Cllr. Negbalee Warner

Cllr. Negbalee Warner, a seasoned lawyer with over 20 years of experience served as the Dean of the Louis Arthur School of Law from 2016 to present.

Prior to his appointment, Counselor Warner served as Assistant Professor of Law at the Law School, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2000.

A number of key positions and consultancies followed: Assistant Counsel and Executive Director of Banking Supervision of the Central Bank of Liberia; First head of the Secretariat of the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) and, in that capacity, led the drafting of the LEITI Act; Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Justice; Consulted widely for public and private institutions, including the World Bank Group, UN Agencies, and the Carter Center and Founding Partner, Heritage Partners and Associates Law Firm. 

Counselor Warner is a member of the Liberian National Bar Association, the New York Bar Association, Board of Examiner of the Supreme Court Bar, Republic of Liberia, among others.

Ivah Tukpah

Isaac Vah Tukpah, Jr., also known as I. Vah, is the Chairman Emeritus of the Congress for Democratic Change USA branch, also known as CDC-USA.  He has been a member of the CDC since November 2009 and has served as Financial Secretary, Deputy Chairman for Operations and Deputy Chairman for Administration.

Professionally, he is a Senior Project/Program Manager with extensive experience in Healthcare Information Technology and Finance. He has a strong background in program & project management, risk analysis and management, performance analysis, healthcare financial planning and analysis, and strategic planning. 

He is currently the CEO of a Liberian owned firm called Sustainable Development International, Incorporated (SDII).  SDII focuses on bringing holistic development to Liberia through the use of renewable energy, water management, and agriculture with strong focus on the triple bottom line.  SDII triple bottom line focuses on sustainable economic empowerment, social equity, and environmental protection.

He is also the Chairman for Liberian Emergency and Disaster Relief Fund (LEADER Fund).  The LEADER Fund was established in August 2008 to assist Liberians who were primarily affected by disaster situations, specifically flooding during the monsoon-like rainy season and sea erosion.  Since that time, the LEADER Fund has evolved into an organization focused on supporting and enhancing the development of Liberia and assisting Liberians in dire emergency situations. 

Over the last 32 years, Isaac has poised as an advocate for fairness, justice, and equality.  From his days as a student leader at Cuttington where he served as president of the Sports Association in his junior year and as the Student Representative in his senior year, he has embodied the qualities of leadership and advocacy.  He is credited for consistently advocating with Congress for peace in Liberia, organized demonstrations against former Presidents Samuel Doe, Charles Taylor, warring factions, and Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf with regards to corruption and misrule.  He has worked with various organizations including the Liberian Community Association of the Greater Washington Metropolitan area, ULAA, Liberians United for Peace and Development, and the Coalition of Concerned Liberians.  He has also worked with several non-profit organizations to provide assistance for Liberians.

He has, however, been in Weah’s doghouse since the CDC won the presidency over an unexplained beef. Many have raised issues over why Tukpah has not played a more prominent role in the administration.

J. Tiah Nagbe

J. Tiah Nagbe is the current Executive Director of the National Identification Registry. His public service experience includes former Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs for Research and Development Planning and former Elections Commissioner. An economist by profession, he holds a Bachelors degree in Economics from the University of Liberia and a Master of Science degree in Finance from Northeastern University in Boston, USA.

Nagbe served on the Independent Elections Commission of Liberia (IECOM) in 1997 as a representative of the student and youth community, having played an important role in the peace process. His work on the commission was praised for his outstanding performance. He was partly credited for the design of a special electoral system that modified the Proportional Representation system to produce a constituency legislature.

Since leaving the commission 23 years ago, he has supported the development of Liberia “s electoral system, including publishing several articles on elections. For example, in 2011 he authored an article that helped to safe one of the four ballot measures. This is why Liberia’s Legislative elections are decided by simple majority, requiring no run-offs and saving huge sums of money.

Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull

Liberian/American trained lawyer with 39 years of legal practice and experience as a litigator, negotiator, advocate and consultant. Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull is also an expert in Women and Human Rights Advocating with Peace Building and Conflict Resolution Training.

Being a signatory to the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, elected by Montserrado County, with in-depth knowledge of research covering Constitutions of many countries.  She has represented international, national and indigent clients, opposition parties and political prisoners in the courts and administrative agencies of Liberia. 

While in exile in the United States of America, Cllr. Bull practiced as an Immigration specialist in the States of Maryland and Virginia.

She has investigated, recommended disbarment, suspensions, fines and reprimands for Judges, Magistrates and Lawyers in Liberia while serving on the Judiciary Inquiry Commission and the Grievance and Ethics Committee of the Supreme Court of Liberia, for unprofessional and unethical transgression in their duties, functions and practice of Law in Liberia. 

She has extensive experience speaking to national and international audiences on Human Rights, The Liberian Civil War, The Rule of Law, Social Justice, Transitional Justice Mechanisms, Women issues, among other topics.

Cllr. Bull served as a Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) but abstained from being a signatory to the recommendations having had a descending opinion on the recommendations.

In recent years, Cllr. Bull has served in several situation rooms and international observer for the elections that brought Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio to power.

She served as an international observer for the 2005 elections.

Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa

Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa represents Grand Kru County District 2 in the House of Representatives and Chairs the House Committee on Judiciary. He previously served as Minister of State without Portfolio and Chairman of the Global Witness Task Force during the administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

He holds Bachelors Degree in Urban Planning from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, a Master of Public Administration degree from the North Carolina State University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law and valedictorian of the Supreme Court Bar class of 2015.

Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe

Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe heads the Liberia National Bar Association. He’s known amongst his peers at the ‘No Nonsense Man’. He has been at the forefront of the struggle for justice in Liberia for the past two decades.

Cllr. Gongloe resigned his post as Labor Minister under Sirleaf’s regime during her first term over administrative differences. He had prior served as Solicitor-General during the same regime.

He is on record for condemning the government and the Supreme Court for the impeachment proceedings against former Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh whom he believes who politically removed from the Supreme Court’s Bench.

As a graduate of the University of Liberia’s Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, Gongloe was a lawyer and managing director of a law firm in Monrovia from 1994 until 2002. During this time, he defended the rights of the poor, indigent clients, and government critics illegally detained or charged with politically-motivated crimes.

His clients included independent journalists, pro-democracy advocates and human rights defenders. Prior to 1994, Gongloe held the position of executive assistant to the President of the Interim Government of Liberia. In this capacity he provided legal advice and assistance to the Interim President and participated in many of the peace conferences organized by ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) as a member of the Interim Government’s delegation. Following the end of the civil war in 1997, Gongloe emerged as one of Liberia ‘s preeminent human rights lawyers. An unwavering critic of the abuses of the Liberian government under Charles Taylor, on April 24, 2002, Gongloe was arrested without charge by the police and severely beaten. Among many other awards, Gongloe was honored as a 2003 Human Rights Watch Defender.