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Editorial – Please Explain, Madam President

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In continuation of its attempts to keep the general Liberian public abreast of unfolding issues/developments about and affecting our country for their perusal and understanding, the New Dawn, on Friday, August 13, 2010, lifted a front page story explaining the alleged role of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in the departure and arrest of Former Liberian President Charles Taylor in Liberia in 2006.

The story attributed to a former Nigerian Presidential spokesman and Minister, under the headline: Ellen Bribed To Betray Taylor, accused President Sirleaf of accepting money from the George Bush administration to request from the Obassanjo administration in Nigeria the return of former President Taylor.

Of course, the underlining objective was to arrest the former Liberian Head of State for trial by the Special Court for Sierra Leone sitting in The Hague, and that came to pass.

“When the Americans approached her and told her that if she’s not prepared to request for Taylor formally, they would not give her money, she said fine, I need the money; she took the money, and she asked us to hand Taylor over.” Chief Femi Fani-Kayode noted.

Chief Fani-Kayode said that Nigeria, ECOWAS and the African Union were asked by the Americans to assure the former Liberian President that once he left power and his country peacefully and did not interfere with the election process (2005) back home while in exile in Nigeria, the United States and ICC would not pursue him, and that Nigeria would not be pressurized to hand him over to anybody. That was the deal, he said, that was reached between the Americans, his country and President Sirleaf.

According to the former Federal Minister of Couture and Tourism and Aviation, it was clear that the American government and even the Nigerian government were interested in Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf becoming the President of Liberia.

“There was clear understanding on that before she could even become President that look, if you become president, you should deal with the Taylor issue as something you need to handle with enormous care because you would not have been President had it not been the fact that this man stepped down,” He said.

Upon assuming the Liberian Presidency, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf could not keep the deal, but chose to brush aside Obassanjo and Nigeria, as well as said farewell to ECOWAS and the AU, and became the “darling girl” of former President Bush and the Americans.

“Not only that she betrayed Charles Taylor; what she did was that she betrayed the African Union; she betrayed the Nigerian government; she betrayed all of our friends in Africa, that’s what she did,” the Nigerian “kitchen cabinet member emphasized .

He further disclosed in another interview with journalists in Cameroon that after this, there was a long stalemate and eventually, the whole matter turned a little nasty and became the subject of a loud and acrimonious spat between the government of Nigeria and the administration of President George W. Bush.

He indicated that Nigeria was quite strong then because virtually, the whole of Africa was fully behind us with, of course, the exception of President Johnson-Sirlief, who in his humble opinion, was nothing, but an ingrate and an American puppet.

“The old man fought the matter out long and hard, and I assure you that he did his very best. When the pressure got too much and President Johnson-Sirlief made a final and public demand for Taylor to be returned to Liberia by Nigeria, Obasanjo ordered that he should be dropped at some border post and allowed to go wherever he wanted, rather than for us to formally hand him over to anyone,” the Nigerian former minister admitted.

We at the New Dawn-Liberia believe strongly that the foregoing are allegations too grave for conspicuous silence on the part of our President.

As many Liberians would, we too, think that with such revelations, there is an urgent need for President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to adequately explain her side-we mean, her own role in the arrangements for her predecessor’s resignation, and department from the Liberian Presidency, as well as his arrest in Nigeria and subsequent repatriation to Liberia for further arrest by top Liberian security brass, including defense Minister Brownie Samukai and those of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Madam President must not explain as she did when she appeared on February 12, 2009 before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, wherein she only admitted to contributing to the defunct National Patriotic front of Liberia on humanitarian grounds, as if that rebel organization was an NGO.

We think the people of Liberia deserve nothing, but the truth from the President, so as to clear the air and lay this thing to rest.

Please, please, Madam President, explain.

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