When William Richard Tolbert Jr., ascended to the Presidency as Liberia’s 20th President due to the sudden demise of the late William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman, the 19th president of Liberia, in 1971, Liberia was just breaking away from its dark past and graduating as a nation-state among nations of the world. Eight (8) years later, in 1979, President Tolbert True Whig’s government was confronted with a fearless political dilemma, the rice riot, through the organized political mechanism of The Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) under the late Gabriel Baccus Matthews as chair.
PAL planted a political seed that led to the death of some Liberians during the 1979 Rice Riot, finally setting the stage for active political activities in Liberia. This combination spilled over to the 1980 senseless bloody military takeover that also led to the death of hundreds of Liberians, including the assignation of Liberia’s 20th President.
PAL created all those political momentums to educate the illiterate masses on their rights. Where is PAL today? PAL finally ended up in political drainage after they set the stage for the demise of many Liberians. PAL no longer exists in practice or political theory. Some of PAL’s political fathers, like Dr. Fabullah, are still around. Can they account for the innocent blood back in those days?
The rise and fall of PAL are synonymous with Senator Darius Dallion of Montserrado County, who once took Liberia by storm and professed to be the light in the darkness. Sen. AB Darius Dillon went on a political spree to disclose so many inner-working dark activities of the Liberian Senate, including revealing their take-home pay.
Dillion was vocal. He was down to earth. He was moving everywhere, shaking hands, dancing, and sympathizing with the downtrodden in society. He referred to him as a champion of the poor. He vowed to expose those working against the poor people’s interests. He turned down incentives. He demonized his colleagues; He was indeed the modern Daniel Trump of Liberia.
He was taken on issues, challenging the status code and bringing much more hiding to light as the light in the darkness. He was the modern democratic face of Liberia. The one-million-dollar question is why the anti-man became pure in his political nature and activities. He drew to himself followers who believe in accountability and transparency. AB Dillion was not simply the voice of truth; he was living it and preaching it in every part of his constituency in Montserrado County.
Today, Sen. AB Dillon has gone quiet. His extraordinary footprints as Liberia’s modern Messiah among the poor and the oppressed are far from reality. The man who visited deprived communities and gave poor people hope and confidence is no longer that same person. Many are beginning to wonder about what politicians say they are. They come as sheep in wolf’s clothing and, later on, take on their actual wolf clothing and abandon their once beloved sheep clothing they once used to attract followers to themselves.
Politics is a hazardous variety in society. If Sen Dillion, who once referred to himself as the light in the dark and today the same light, has devoured him, it is something to think about truth. Like the rest, he rode a tinted SUV. He now lived above the poverty line. The fence he erected around his home in Garnerville indicates that he was using the poor people to ascend to power.
The wall alone can erect five two bedrooms for impoverished people who are his neighbors. Liberians he once sat with, joked with, ate with, laughed with, and shared jokes with are no longer peers in earnest. Today he rode a very tinted SUV and passed by the people who made him what he is today. Like PAL, he encourages many young people to follow him.
Today their peers have rejected some of those very young people. Sen. AB Dillion should be a Senator of principle to continue what he started. To remain very outspoken. To stand up for the poor people he once stood for.