It is now clear that over two million Liberians are now certified to vote in the October 10, 2017 polls, and the National Elections Commission or NEC declares official campaigning open today throughout the country.
“We admonish all political parties and their leaders to conduct their campaign in a peaceful manner,” NEC Chairman Cllr.Jerome George Korkoya said at a press conference on Friday, 28 July in Monrovia.
The NEC Boss says the declaration of the campaign is in keeping with the timeline for 2017 elections which sets commencement of political campaign date for Monday, 31 July at 12:00am and closes on Sunday, 8 October at 11:59 pm.
According to Cllr. Korkoya, the NEC and the Liberia National Police (LNP) have asked all political parties and independent candidates to submit their campaign schedule to the commission in an effort to avoid clashes during the campaign period.
He says over two million (2,183,683) Liberians are qualified to vote and decide the country’s next leadership this October. NEC Chairman Korkoya said the final listing is in compliance with Article 2.9 (K), (N) and (S) of the New Elections Laws of Liberia.
The country with a population of over 4.5 million people has two million plus qualified voters who will make a choice of picking among some 20 presidential candidates to have a successor to first African female President Mrs. Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf who has ruled in two consecutive terms.
Out of the 2,183,683 announced by the Commission, Chairman Korkoya details there are some counties that hit the top in terms of the number of registrants per county.
Montserrado which in past elections served as Sen. George Weah’s Congress Democratic Change (CDC) stronghold obtains 777,503, followed by Nimba County with 279,572, a county which has gone beyond awarding Sen. Prince Yormie Johnson two senatorial terms and gave him a voice to become a kingmaker in the 2011 presidential run-off.
The central Liberian county of Bong comes ranking third in terms of numbers in these elections, with qualified voters hitting 208,150, ahead of Lofa County, the home of Liberia’s Vice President Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai and Standard Bearer of ruling Unity Party (UP).
Margibi County where Mr. Boakai’s running mate House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay and independent presidential candidate Sen. Oscar Cooper hail from comes at fifth place with total qualified voters of 154,328.
The sixth county Grand Bassa where Liberty Party (LP) political leader Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine hails from has 145,798 registrants. According to NEC Chairman Cllr. Korkoya, male registrants constitute 1,120,950 of the total number, while female registrants constitute 1,062,733. In this year’s elections, Cllr. Korkoya says 18 – year – old registrants are 108,485, which clearly tells that first – time voters make up a significant population.
While acknowledging that in a little over ten weeks Liberia will conduct one of the most pivotal and critical elections in the country’s history, Cllr. Korkoya reminds those charged with the sacred responsibility to direct the process to take such national duty with utmost seriousness. He urges stakeholders to be determined to deliver to the best of their ability while promising the Commission’s preparedness to conduct a free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections.
Cognizant of the importance of these elections, Cllr. Korkoya recalls that when citizens complained of their names not being found on the provisional voter’s roll that was published, the Commission took a number of steps to correct the situation. In the process of making such correction, he says the commission hired a reputable data management group called Super Tech of Ghana to audit the provisional roll.
“The outcome and recommendations from that audit exercise was very helpful in arriving at the final voters roll we are about to announce”, he says. Korkoya, on behalf of his colleagues expresses his profound thanks and appreciation to the Liberian Government, the media here and international partners for their respective support aimed at ensuring peaceful elections.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley