Why Did Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay Lose Margibi County to CDC


Cinta Clan, Margibi County – When Vice President Joseph Boakai announced the Speaker of the House of Representatives Emmanuel Nuquay as his running mate on the ticket of the Unity Party (UP), the ticket was applauded by many with quick political analysis pointing to Lofa and Margibi Counties as the two strongholds of the UP heading to the October 10 presidential and legislative elections. 

Report by Selma Lomax, [email protected] 

With the history of high performance of UP in the Margibi County, no one fathomed the party winning by less than 70% in the worst case scenario. 

Political analysts had it that at least 80 to 85% of votes from the county could swing in favor of the UP due to the naming of Speaker Nuquay as vice standard bearer. 

With all the political predictions that Speaker Nuquay’s selection was expected to bring from the county, the final result by the National Elections Commission (NEC) from the county are showing the contrary. 

The Coalition for Democratic Change won Margibi County with 47, 212 votes which amounted to 43.6 per cent followed by Vice President Boakai with 29,149 votes which accounts for 26.9 per cent. 

It is a result that somewhat paints a dark image for Nuquay’s selection.

The Speaker has exerted political relevance in Margibi County throughout his 12 years as lawmaker. 

From forming his own political party in the People’s Unification Party (PUP) to bringing people of unknown relevance to the limelight of politics in the county, Nuquay built for himself a political fame over the years. 

In 2011, while seeking re-election, Nuquay campaigned throughout District #3 in the county to ensure that his friend, Stephen Kafi, who worked for the National Achieves and Records Margibi County chapter prior to the election, emerged the winner of a contest of over seven candidates. 

Through the efforts of Nuquay, Kafi successfully won the representative seat of District #3. 

Three years later, Speaker Nuquay led the campaign three months to the 2014 senatorial elections that saw the election of Jim Tornolah as senator of the county. 

Before his election, Tornolah was not well known in the county like other contenders for the position but the influence of Nuquay led to his election. 

Nuquay’s success in getting Tornolah elected as senator was at the expense of other past political heavyweights in the county including the likes of former Senators Clarice A. Jah and Roland Kaine. 

Brumskine, Weah once Beaten by Nuquay 

During the 2014 special senatorial election, Cllr. Charles Brumskine, standard bearer of Liberty Party, vigorously campaigned for incumbent Senator Jah of the Liberty party, but she was still defeated. 

Also, George Weah, standard bearer of the CDC, campaigned for the CDC candidate and University of Liberia Professor, Ansu Dao Sonii, whom many believed was the forerunner after he earlier contested the 2011 elections and performed well but felt short of victory with Oscar Cooper, who Nuquay supported, emerging as winner. 

Sonii contested the 2011 senatorial election and managed second spot to Copper. Sonii won 18,715 votes representing 23.5% falling behind Cooper’s 36,138 votes or 45.3%. 

All eyes were on Sonii to take the seat but out of a total of 25,869 votes cast for the special senatorial election, newcomer Tornonlah won 7,893 votes representing 30.5% followed by Sonii of the CDC who obtained 6,640 votes accounting for 25.7%. 

Nuquay’s influence led to political newcomer, Tornonlah from PUP defeating Jah of the Liberty Party, Sonii of the CDC and other contenders. 

Such political feat, according to Nuquay, distinguished him as the “face” of Margibi County politics and ensured that the PUP had a grip on the county. 

What has gone wrong for Nuquay? 

It has become mindboggling how a man who once produced a senator and got overwhelmingly elected by a complex House of Representatives as Speaker has now failed to win a single county for his party. 

Observers of politics in the county are pointing out that Nuquay should blame himself for whatever negative results against the UP in Margibi County. 

Some say he created a lot of enemies for himself. His long standing feud with the electoral District #4 lawmaker Ben Fofana is seen as a major factor for the poor performance of the party in the county and what is now seen as his political downfall. 

Although Rep. Fofana had contested as a candidate of the UP, he reportedly canvassed against the party because Nuquay was reportedly bankrolling the Chairman of the PUP in District #4, Francis Cooper, to unseat him (Fofana). 

There were signs of things to come for the party in the county, but didn’t apparently didn’t take notice. 

During the unveiling program Nuquay as running to Boakai at a program held in Kakata, supporters of Fofana and Nuquay threw jibes at each other and they visibly jeered when he and the Boakai were parading the streets of Kakata. 

Supporters of Fofana threatened to not support the party because of Nuquay’s selection as running mate. 

FrontPageAfrica gathered that efforts exerted by some religious leaders of the county to reconcile the Fofana and Nuquay to save the image of the party ahead of the election proved futile. 

Many had expected Nuquay to pressure Cooper to back off from the race for the sake of the party but he didn’t. 

Fofana is the only incumbent from Margibi poised to get re-elected after four others were given the boot.

Also, Nuquay’s failure to produce votes for the UP in the county is tied to his rift with an influential youth of Weala town, Margibi County, Clarence Gahr. 

Gahr, succeeded Nuquay as the Accountant of the Salala Rubber Corporation. 

Nuquay stands accused of plotting the removal of Gahr from the employ of the company since Gahr declared in 2010 to contest against him during his Nuquay’s legislative ambition. 

Though Nuquay refuted the claims as “lie”, Gahr’s departure from the company earned him consolation from citizens when he declared to contest against Nuquay.

One thing that also played in Gahr’s favor was the growing agitations from citizens that one group of people should not enjoy power for 18 years. 

Sad for Nuquay is the fact that he couldn’t influence the election of his anointed candidate Charlie. Gahr’s overwhelmingly influence over Charlie as Nuquay’s successor speaks to the fact that citizens were tired with how Nuquay is running the politics of the county. 

What’s the way out? 

Nuquay established many frontlines for himself and it is left to see how he will mend fence to secure his future. 

With runoff election certain, things might get worse for the UP should all newly elected lawmakers decide to campaign against the party. 

Margibi County is a crucial county in terms of votes and the in the case of a runoff, the UP will certainly need the votes in the county to cement its place during the process. 

Even though FrontPageAfrica has gathered that Fofana and Nuquay have settled their differences but whether it can make impact in Margibi ahead of the election remains to be seen.