President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s fifth leg nationwide “thank you” tour to Lofa County, northern Liberia is being overshadowed by citizens’ persistent request for her to demonstrate or express crystal clear support for Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s presidential bid.
Youth, women and elder councils in Foya, Kolahun and other areas in Lofa were clear on Tuesday, 2 May in telling the President that they want her to support VP Boakai’s quest for the Presidency throughout all 15 counties here.
But President Sirleaf has tactically avoided making any direct response to the citizens’ request, ahead of official campaign period, which starts in July, rather restricting her discussion with them on her loyalty to the ruling Unity Party or UP, which Mr. Boakai heads as standard bearer.
“You know, I said in Foya today that Unity Party and Lofa County are the same because you know the father of Unity Party comes from Lofa County”, she said in Kolba City, Kolahun District.
In separate comments, youth leader Moses Saah Tartoe, Foya Market Women Spokesperson Hawa Masari, chiefs and women leaders reiterated that they want Madam Sirleaf to support Mr. Boakai’s presidential bid and ensure that he succeeds her.
In Kolba City, Old man Mohammed Fofana pleaded that Madam Sirleaf should help to push Mr. Boakai up to victory, stressing that in the continuity of her leadership, there is perfect peace.
President Sirleaf recalls that in the 2005 elections, the UP won most of the votes from Lofa County, and also won many votes in 2014, except in 2011 when it was spoiled in Lofa.
According to the President, sometimes she listens to all the cheap talks against her government, but argues that no administration has done what her administration has done.
Earlier at a town hall meeting in Foya, the President appreciated the citizens for their collective efforts in maintaining the peace for nearly 12 years, saying “it could not have been achieved by the government alone.”
Considering the road challenge that citizens face in Lofa, particularly part of the stretch between Voinjamin and Foya, districts, Madam Sirleaf says would have love to complete the road before stepping down.
But she says her government ran into some problem with the people, who did the feasibility study for the road and it was further worsened by the Ebola crisis that ravaged the entire economy in 2014.
While reassuring citizens that the whole feasibility has been done and the real pavement of the road will start after the rainy season, which coincides with elections in October, she reminded however that it will take two or three years for the project to finish.
Before going into a town hall meeting with citizens in Foya, Lofa County on Tuesday, 2 May President Sirleaf dedicated a commissioners’ compound in Foya, a market building at the border town of Sorlumba between Liberia and Guinea and visited the Foya Community Clinic.
Following the town hall meeting in Kolahun on Tuesday, the President also dedicated a bridge over the Kehai River, connecting Kolahun and Lukambeh Districts of Lofa County. The bridge is part of six bridges and 12 coverts built from a US$3m grant provided by the World Bank when Ebola ravaged Liberia and health workers had difficulties in reaching out to sick people to transport them to health facilities in the area.
President Sirleaf whose tenure expires in October, says government negotiated with the World Bank for the funding, and the bridge is a government bridge.
Lofa County Rep. Mayamu Fofana, thanked the President for the peace here, recalling that before Madam Sirleaf’s ascendency, Liberia was in chaos and Lofa was the epic center.
In a lengthy report, the County Superintendent indicated that there has been improvement in the county under the Sirleaf administration now than when she took over, citing increased number of health facilities, health workers, roads, schools and other infrastructural developments undertaken by the current administration.
By Winston W. Parley-Editing by Jonathan Browne