Nimba County Senior Senator Prince Yormie Johnson, has denied reports that he has pledged support for the presidential bids of former bank governor Dr. Mills Jones and Vice President Joseph Boakai, respectively.
Earlier reports from Nimba had disclosed that Senator Johnson was in talks with both men for possible collaboration, ahead of 2017, particularly after he accompanied Movement for Economic Empowerment political leader Dr. Mills Jones to Ganta City few months ago.
He had earlier told State broadcaster or the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) in Paynesville outside of Monrovia that he prefers Vice President Boakai among the many aspirants for the Presidency in 2017. According to him, he and his supporters will not pledge allegiance to a young, immature and unqualified candidate for the nation’s highest seat, in apparent reference to Congress for Democratic Change political leader, George Weah. He said after protracted period of bitter civil wars coupled with serious difficulties being faced by majority of the Liberian people; it would be unthinkable for Liberians to even think about a young president, especially, one who lacks leadership ability.
“That is a nice question; who I will support for the presidency? I too am in the race; if not given the opportunity, I prefer Vice President Joe Boakai. The Vice President has the leadership qualifications. I think he has served this country so well. I and my supporters will not follow any young, immature, inexperienced and lack of education person for the presidency. Liberians have suffered so long and if, I’m not given the opportunity to serve my people at the level of the presidency, Vice President Boakai, who is also President of the Liberian Senate, should take the stage,” he had said, bragging that the Liberian Senate is endowed with qualified and committed leaders, who can lead the country to higher heights.
But speaking to our Nimba County correspondent over the weekend, Senator Johnson said at no time did he agree to become running mate to Vice President Boakai or political bedfellow to Dr. Jones. Instead, he said time has come for him to organize his own party to contest for the Presidency in 2017, vowing to this time around win in the first round.
He disclosed name of the proposed party as Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction. He founded the National Union for Democratic Progress or NUDP in 2011 and contested for the Presidency, coming third in the first round, and effectively became the kingmaker in the runoff, throwing his weight behind President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, whom he described as “lesser of two evils” against Cllr. Winston A. Tubman of George Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change.
PYJ has contested and won the senatorial seat in his votes-rich Nimba County. However, he was subsequently thrown out of the NUDP after being accused of receiving money from President Sirleaf without reporting it the party leadership, a claim the senator has denied.
Senator Johnson said he has realized the cause for his defeat in 2011, but declined to give detail.
By Franklin Doloquee, Nimba-Editing by Jonathan Browne