-Who becomes the next Senate Pro-tempore?
On paper, there are three Senators of different professional backgrounds competing to head the Senate Pro-tempore seat, made vacant on December 20, 2014 by Senator Gbehzongar Finley, who lost his seat during the Special Senatorial Election.
But in reality, it is a two house race between a disowned Unity Party Senator, an established Businessman, Oscar Cooper, of Margibi County and legal mind, Cllr. Joseph Nagbe of Sinoe County.
As the schedule for the election this Thursday, February 12, 2015 draws closer, so is the behind the scene horse-trading and marriages of conveniences taking place.
Amid the unfolding, the ruling UP, which is the only party with a majority in the Senate, boasting of 8 senators, remained adamant to dumb their own – Sen. Oscar Cooper.
As early as last week, some members of the UP, angered by the insistence of their standard bearer to push them towards Cllr. Nagbe of the Alliance for Peace and Democracy or APD against the party’s interest – Sen. Cooper, many had vowed to prove to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf that they are men and women bent on building institutions and therefore, would have gone against her interest to rally around Sen. Cooper, instead.
However, things took a dramatic turn on Thursday, January 29, 2015, when news of UP Chairman Varney Sherman, allegedly pledging his support to Businessman and Attorney Armah Jallah of the National Patriotic Party or NPP of jailed ex-President Charles Taylor broke out.
Insiders say Sen. Cooper had enjoyed the confidence of UP Senators prior to this news except for new comer Sen. Milton Teahjay, whose interest has and continue to be Sen. Nagbe.
Sen. Teahjay’s loyalty to Sen. Nagbe is understandable in that both men are from the same county, while at the same time it was Sen. Nagbe, who represented Teahjay’s interest during his fallout with members of the House of Representatives as then Superintendent of Sinoe.
Members of the House of Representatives had taken a vote of no confidence against then Superintendent Teahjay and had imprisoned him at the South Beach prison.
However, developments over the weekend look to be turning things in Sen. Nagbe’s corner. Over the weekend following intense negotiations, characterized by horse-trading and marriages of conveniences, Sen. Nagbe released the names of members of his campaign team, comprising of 8 Senators – just the same number of UP Senators in the Senate.
Those on Sen. Nagbe’s campaign team are: Senator Daniel Naathen of Gbapolu County, a former UP Senator reelected on the ticket of the Alternative National Congress or ANC as chairman; Sen. Jewel Howard Taylor of NPP, Bong County, Co-chair; Sen. J. Milton Teahjay, of UP Sinoe, Secretary and spokesperson, and Sen. Francis S. Paye of River Gee County, strategist.
Others are Sen. Albert Chie of Grand Gedeh, Strategist; new comer, Independent Sen. Gbleh-bo Brown of Maryland County, strategist; G. Alphonso Gaye, UP Grand Gedeh County, strategist and Sen. Commany Wesseh of UP, River Gee County, Advisor.
By Othello B. Garblah