Liberia: Sen. Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence Urges Colleagues to Scrap Cllr. Nwabudike’s Confirmation As NEC Chairman

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Capitol Hill, Monrovia – Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, Liberty Party Political leader – who is also Grand Bassa County Senator – has urged her colleagues to reject the nomination of Cllr. Ndubusi Nwabudike as Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC).

In a strong worded statement to the Liberian Senate, Karngar-Lawrence argued that the Dual Citizenship Proposition recently passed by the Legislature and signed by President George Weah for referendum, the President and the Legislature agreed that a Liberian born to both or one parent with citizenship of another country will be given dual citizenship but will not be appointed to certain government positions.

This is because, being a citizen of two countries, such persons will also be beholding to dual allegiances, she said.

“Today, the President, who placed this proposed amendment before us, has nominated for our consent, an individual with obvious dual allegiances, a Nigerian-born citizen who has naturalized as a Liberian, to head the National Elections Commission of Liberia, a position of trust and magnitude that a natural-born Liberian, under the Weah Amendment would not be permitted to occupy because of dual allegiances,” the opposition Liberty Party leader wrote.

The Grand Bassa County Senator is the latest high profile politician to voice her opposition to President Weah’s appointment of Cllr. Nwabudike. She joins several other lawmakers and civil society groups including her colleagues, Senators Darius Dillon (LP, Montserrado County) and Senator Sando Johnson (NPP, Bomi County).

The pair had earlier vowed to vote against Nwabudike’s confirmation.

Also, speaking on a local radio station on Wednesday, March 25, Rep. Jay Nagbe Sloh (CDC, District #2, Sinoe County), called on President Weah to reconsider his decision and withdraw the nomination.

Liberia’s largest civil society grouping that oversees electoral matters in the country, the Election Coordinating Committee (ECC), in a major press conference on Tuesday also rejected the President’s decision and called on him to rescind it.  

Cllr. Nwabudike, a naturalized Liberian of Nigerian descent had earlier served as the Chairman of the Governance Commission (GC) and now heads the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).

However, the Liberty Party Political leader said it was not expedient to confer more rights and privileges to a naturalized Liberian and deny such rights and privileges to natural-born citizens.

“Is this natural-born Nigerian/naturalized Liberian’s obvious dual allegiance any less than the dual allegiance of natural-born Liberians? How can we claim to trust the commitment to our country of a naturalized Liberian over a natural-born Liberian?

“Why should we confer more rights and privileges to naturalized Liberians and deny such rights and privileges to natural-born Liberians? If dual allegiance is bad for natural-born Liberians, how can it be good for naturalized Liberians?”

Senator Karnga-Lawrence then questioned the “special skills or unique competence” of the NEC nominee that a natural-born Liberian doesn’t have, adding “this nomination should be withdrawn or otherwise rejected by the Liberian Senate.”

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