A last minute attempt by Police authorities here to stop businessman turned politician Benoni Urey from using the Antoinette Tubman Stadium or ATS to launch his party’s membership drive failed Wednesday after the head of the Liberian Football Association or LFA Musa Bility refused to be pressured into withdrawing such rights just hours before Urey’s rally could kick-off.
The ATS is a public facility being managed by the Liberian football authority and can be rented out to individuals or organizations wanting to use such facility at a rental fee. Police officers were said to have been deployed around the stadium just hours before partisans of Urey party could start arriving at the ATS.
Urey, a former ally of Jailed ex-President Charles Taylor is seeking the Liberian presidency come 2017. He had booked and paid to use the facility for his party’s (All Liberian Party or ALP) membership drive days ahead. But the police had plotted to prevent Mr. Urey just hours before the event could start.
A source closed to the LFA boss said police authorities had called Bility up Tuesday night asking him to withdraw the right of Mr. Urey to use the facility but the LFA boss, who is contesting the FIFA presidency responded by saying it was a public asset and Urey’s party had paid for its usage so there was no way that he could withdraw such right.
It is not clear who gave the order to stop the ALP from using the ATS, but it could be recalled that sometime this year, the opposition Liberty Party was prevented from using the City Hall in Voinjama, Lofa County for its convention after paying an undisclosed rental fees to local authorities in that county.
It was alleged by a local county official that the order to stop the Liberty Party from using the hall came from Vice President Joseph Boakai who is struggling to win the majority support of his party officials to succeed President Ellen Johnson -Sirleaf in 2017-many in the disenchanted ruling party have viewed him as a hard commodity to market. The Liberty Party was then forced to rent the Catholic compound in Voinjama for its convention.
However, the earlier attempt to disrupt the event did not stop Mr. Urey from calling on his partisans to see the ills in the society and the continuous and repeated crimes, poor health care and messy education system.
He said Liberians have “been fooled for too long and they have abused us for too long. They have succeeded in dividing us on social lines. It is time Liberians stop the lies about each other for their personal aggrandizement and that is time Liberians unite.”
Outlining the vision of the ALP for Liberia, Mr. Urey told partisans that the ALP envisions a prosperous nation, a country of love, security, freedom of speech and human rights for all residing within the borders of Liberia.
He also outlined the strengths of Liberia in the areas of land, rivers, and forests including other natural resources but lamented Liberia’s inability to maximize its potential as its weakness.The businessman informed partisans that the ALP is prepared to take charge of Liberia and will do the right thing for the people of this country. He further told partisans that the ALP is a Godly Party and is well placed to turn Liberia into a prosperous nation when elected to state power in 2017.
He, however, thanked God first and foremost and as well cherished Liberia’s foreign friends, including the African Union, ECOWAS and the MRU, the European Union, the United Nations and the United States for standing with Liberia during her difficult past, and admitted the role of the US in particular has been outstanding, adding “indeed I can say God bless America.”
In reference to the launch and attendance Mr. Urey said “you are not here today because of Benoni Urey even though I understand the ALP is having its launch today but that you are here because of the love of the Party and the vision it has, something you yourselves has seen clearly and believe the ALP is the Party your prefer over others and it is the Party that will deliver Liberia.”
In his opening remarks, the National Chairman of ALP Mr. Emmanuel Lomax welcomed all partisans that were in attendance and as well thanked the planning committee for a job well done.He further thanked the National Executive Council and the First Partisans for the level of support he had received over the years. Mr. Lomax also thanked attendees and added “We have said it and yet we have done it. The numbers you see here today is a clear manifestation of the determination of the people and their desire for change.”
“To you or friends out there we want to inform you that the ALP is a party that respects the rule of law and therefore believes in the free movement of people, and that to hinder the movement of others is to abuse their human rights. If it wasn’t so then Monrovia would have been at a standstill today.” Mr. Lomax, however, called on critics to see for themselves the strength the ALP has shown in terms of the huge numbers it has drawn from around the country and reiterated “Today we are telling the public that the ALP is ready for State power because the launch today is a determining factor for the 2017 Presidential elections. As I said it yesterday and during some other times the ALP will become victorious come 2017,” Chairman Lomax resolved.
Meanwhile, the launch was closed with Liberia’s musical star Takun J with a live performance on stage with his latest remixed-‘The people fool us…The Government lie to us’ as the crowd went wild.
By C. Brown Dennis-Edited by Othello B. Garblah