Osinbajo: Nigeria Is Interested In Liberia’s Success

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has assured the people and government of Liberia of Nigeria’s support, noting that the success of their country is very important.

Osinbajo stated this while receiving the country’s Vice President, Mrs Jewel Taylor, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital, according to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the President, Mr Laolu Akande.

“Nigeria is committed to working with Liberia, we are certainly committed; the success of Liberia is important to us.”

“You can expect that we shall continue to support and even do much more for Liberia,” Osinbajo said. “We have invested considerably in Liberia and our support for the Sirleaf administration is also in that respect.”

Mr Osinbajo further reiterated the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in seeing to the success of the West African country, formerly known to be war-torn.

Both Vice Presidents also spoke on the significance of their youth population, the role of technology in development and the need for greater intracontinental trade among African countries.

The Liberian VP, who arrived Nigeria a few days ago, spoke on Friday at the Inaugural African Women Summit for Peace and Development.

Liberia’s Jungle Jabbah Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison

51 year-old Mohammed Jabbateh who is popularly known as “Jungle Jabbah” has been sentenced to 30 years in prison by a U.S. court.

The Liberian Warlord was sentence for gaining U.S. asylum by lying about his role in the civil war in his homeland and atrocities he committed, prosecutors said on Friday. He lived in East Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, since the late 1990s, was found guilty
in October on two counts of fraud in immigration documents and two counts of perjury.

During the height of Liberia’s first civil war from 1992 to 1995, Jabbateh, while serving as commander of a warring group, either personally committed or ordered acts such as rapes, ritual cannibalism, mutilation, murder and the use of child soldiers, according to prosecutors.

An attorney for Jabbateh, Greg Pagano of Philadelphia, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prosecutors said while applying for asylum in December 1998, Jabbateh was not truthful about his membership in the group known as the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO), and later ULIMO-K, rebel groups that battled for control of Liberia.

Two dozen witnesses, including 17 Liberian victims, testified in the trial.

According to testimony, in one instance Jabbateh ordered that the heart of a captive be cooked and fed to his fighters. In another, fighters under his command murdered a villager, removed his heart and ordered the town chief’s wife to cook it.

Jabbateh later had the town chief himself murdered and ordered his widow to cook her husband’s heart.

During Jabbateh’s trial Pagano said Jabbateh had been framed by accusers who were desperate to blame anyone they could for atrocities committed during the civil war.

“These are tall tales of enemies settling old scores – not because they had personal experiences with him but because of what group he’s identified with,” Pagano said at the trial, according to a posting on his website.

“There is no greater motive than revenge.”

The case was investigated by special agents of Homeland Security Investigations, an arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

 

African Legends Honour Weah

George Weah’s historic  inauguration on Monday had African football legends and other world dignitaries and personalities present to witness the swearing in of the  Liberia’s 25th president in  Monrovia on Monday.

Austin Okocha,  Sunday Oliseh,  Samuel Eto’o  and Didier Drogba  were present at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium to honour  the continent’s most decorated footballer. Former Zambia’s Chipolopolo  captain Kalusha Bwalya was also present at the occasion

The 51-year-old took over from Africa’s first elected female president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He as the 1995 European, African and World Player of the Year.

CAF president  Ahmad Ahmad led the African football governing body’s delegation while  FIFA General-Secretary Fatma Samoura  led the world body’s delegation to  the ceremony.

African presidents including Mali’s Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana attended the swearing-in while Vice-president Yemi Osinbajo represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the event.

According to The Guardian, Liberians queued for miles to see the inauguration, celebrating their country’s first peaceful, democratic transition of power in 47 years by dancing as they waited.

Expectations are sky-high for Weah, who grew up kicking a ball about his poor suburb of Monrovia and became an international star through a distinguished  career at  Monaco,  AC Milan, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.

“I have spent many years of my life in stadiums but today is a feeling like no other,” Weah, dressed in white and mopping his forehead with a handkerchief, told an ecstatic crowd at the  stadium.

“I have taken an oath before you and before almighty God. Rest assured I will not let you down.”

He  promised to do “my fair share to meet your expectations’’, but urged the people to meet his desire by rising up to defend their freedom, justice and the change they voted for.

The football legend commended  the international community for supporting his country.

George Weah Wins Liberia’s Presidential Election

The National Election Commission (NEC) has announced that Weah has won an insurmountable 61.5 percent of Tuesday’s vote, which was delayed several weeks after a legal challenge from Boakai.

The NEC said that with 98.1 percent of all votes counted, Boakai had only secured 38.5 percent support.

Ahead of Thursday’s results, armed and helmeted police deployed outside the poll body’s headquarters and some of Weah’s supporters were already rejoicing.

“The Liberian people clearly made their choice… and all together we are very confident in the result of the electoral process,” tweeted Weah before the official results were announced.

Weah topped the first round of voting in October with 38.4 percent of ballots but failed to win the 50 percent necessary to avoid a run-off. Boakai came second with 28.8 percent.

Recall that Weah is the only African ever to have won FIFA’s World Player of the Year and the coveted Ballon D’Or. The 51-year-old starred at top-flight European football clubs Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan in the 1990s before playing briefly in England for Chelsea and Manchester City later in his career.

Chelsea icon Didier Drogba from neighbouring Ivory Coast already sent Weah a congratulatory message.

“Is it President Weah?” said the New Dawn newspaper on Thursday, referring to a man who has the backing of heavyweights including former warlord Prince Johnson and apparently the covert support of outgoing president Sirleaf.

 

 

In Liberia: Supreme Court Halts Presidential Run-Off Over Alleged Fraud

Liberia’s Supreme Court has stayed the November 7 presidential run-off election until it considers a challenge to first round results by a losing candidate who has alleged fraud.

Third-place finisher, Charles Brumskine’s Liberty Party, challenged the results of the October vote, which set up a November 7 run-off between former soccer star George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai.

The election is meant to usher in Liberia’s first democratic transition since 1944 after long periods of military rule and a civil war that ended in 2003.

In a writ issued late on Tuesday, the court instructed Liberty Party and the National Elections Commission to file briefs by Thursday at the latest.

It was unclear if the court would rule before November 7.

“This is a big step in the right direction,” Liberty Party Chairman Benjamin Sanvee said in a statement.

“Thankfully, the Court recognizes the gravity of the issues, and has taken action in defence of the law and democracy.”

On Monday, Mr. Boakai’s ruling Unity Party announced it was backing the legal challenge.

It accused President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, one of its own members, of interfering in the October 10 vote by holding private meetings with election magistrates before the October10 poll.

Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf denied the meeting were inappropriate and international observers like the European Union and the Carter Centre have said that they saw no major problems with the first round vote.

Mr. Weah, a former soccer star in Europe, won the first round with 38.4 per cent of the vote to Boakai’s 28.8 per cent and picked up an important endorsement on Friday from former warlord Prince Johnson, who won eight per cent of the first-round vote.

Morluba Morlu, a senior official from Weah’s CDC party, said on Wednesday that he still expected the run-off to go ahead.

“It is sad for a ruling party that has been in power for 12 years (to) be crying,” he said of Unity Party’s support for the legal challenge.

“We don’t want any mockery of this election.”

(Reuters/NAN)

Liberian Presidential Candidate, George Weah Visits TB Joshua’s Church In Lagos [PHOTOS]

The leading candidate of the Presidential election in Liberia and football legend George Weah attended a service of The Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), led by Pastor T.B. Joshua on Sunday.

TB Joshua during the service warmly welcomed Weah and spoke directly to him.

 

“My brother is here today because he loves his country and wants God’s choice for his country,” Joshua stated.

“He is not here to impose himself. What does God say about his country, Liberia? What is God’s opinion? That is why he is here.”

The cleric reiterated that he was not favouring any particular side of the political spectrum but his own role was to pray for “the will of God” to be done in the nation of Liberia.

“We are not herbalists or witch-doctors; we are people of God. God’s choice is our choice. We cannot pray against God’s will”.

“Without God’s corresponding power, we cannot pray to Him. For every step we take – every movement and action – intimation comes first.

“There must be a suggestion from the Spirit to move before we move. If truly I am a man of God, I must hear from God – move or don’t move.”

Joshua disclosed that Liberia’s incumbent Vice President and Weah’s contender in the upcoming presidential run-off, Joseph Boakai had also contacted him to request a meeting.

“God’s opinion is what we should seek in our country – simple! God is the Answer, the Final,” the cleric added.

In attendance were Senator Yormie Johnson, a former Liberian warlord.

 

The presidential run-off election between Weah and Boakai is scheduled to hold on November 7, 2017.

Other prominent visitors to The SCOAN in the past include Tanzania’s President, John Magufuli, the late President of Ghana, John Atta Mills, Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Julius Malema, South Africa’s fiery opposition leader.

Liberian Presidential Aspirant Meets TB Joshua

The leading presidential candidate in Liberia,George Weah who has a pending run off election against a major opposition, on Sunday was at a service with popular Lagos Pastor TB Joshua at his Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN).

Joshua revealed that Liberia’s incumbent Vice President and Weah’s contender in the upcoming presidential run-off, Joseph Boakai had also contacted him (Joshua) to request a meeting.

During the service which was broadcast live on popular Christian channel Emmanuel TV, Joshua warmly welcomed Weah and spoke directly to him. “My brother is here today because he loves his country and wants God’s choice for his country. He is not here to impose himself. What does God say about his country, Liberia? What is God’s opinion? That is why he is here.

“We are not herbalists or witch-doctors; we are people of God. God’s choice is our choice. We cannot pray against God’s will. Without God’s corresponding power, we cannot pray to Him. For every step we take – every movement and action – intimation comes first.

“There must be suggestion from the Spirit to move before we move. If truly I am a man of God, I must hear from God – move or don’t move.God’s opinion is what we should seek in our country – simple! God is the Answer, the Final.”

Liberia’s Weah, Boakai Face Presidential Runoff In November

Former international footballer George Weah and Liberia’s Vice President Joseph Boakai will face a runoff for the presidency on November 7, the national election commission announced Sunday.

With tallies in from 95.6 percent of polling stations, Weah took 39.0 percent of the votes and Boakai 29.1 percent, both well short of the 50 percent barrier required to win outright from the first round of voting held on Tuesday.

National Elections Commission chairman Jerome Korkoya told journalists that 1,550,923 votes had been counted and turnout was at 74.52 percent.

Three other candidates took a significant share of votes with veteran opposition leader Charles Brumskine at 9.8 percent, former Coca-Cola Executive Alexander Cummings at 7.1 percent and former warlord turned preacher Prince Johnson at 7.0 percent.

These candidates will now decide which runoff contender they will direct their supporters to follow, holding significant sway over the final results.

AFP

As Liberia Votes Today, Here’s Why You Should Care By Ernest Danjuma Enebi

My earliest recollection of Liberia was the 1990 capture, torture and execution of its first native president Samuel Doe by rebel leader Prince Yormie Johnson. The grotesque episode; which was captured on video, showed Johnson presiding over the torture of Doe as he was maimed one extremity at a time. Prince Johnson later fled to Nigeria where he lived in exile until after the second civil war. Charles Taylor who led the rebel forces against Doe and succeeded him as president was also granted asylum in Nigeria following his resignation in 2003. Beyond accepting their exiled warlords as part of negotiated armistice, Nigeria has been a close ally and played a significant role in bringing peace and stability to Liberia and the greater Mano River Basin when the international community was slow to respond.

As Liberians head to the polls today to decide who will succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, there is tremendous excitement and hope for renewed energy and new possibilities. There is also understandably some concern among Liberians and the global community given the violent history of Liberia, so it is incumbent on all stakeholders, particularly those who have invested blood and treasure to pay close attention to these elections and see to it that the elections and the transition go as smoothly as possible.

The Contenders
After a decade as Africa’s first elected female head of state, President Sirleaf, who shepherded the country through post-conflict recovery and the devastating Ebola crisis is termed-out and will relinquish the presidency. Liberians are spoilt for choice, and with 20 candidates running to replace her; the elections are likely to go to a runoff like the two before it.

The frontrunner is the incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai (UP), who is saddled with the task of defending the current administration’s record, which President Sirleaf concedes, didn’t do enough to combat corruption or address reconciliation. He is up against some perennial heavy hitters as well as some fresh faces. His primary challenger is former FIFA World Footballer of the year and sitting Liberian Senator George Weah (CDC) who narrowly lost in a run-off with Sirleaf in 2005 after securing the most votes in the first round of voting. He ran as vice president in 2011 and stayed active in the political arena, eventually winning one of the most coveted senate seats in the country in a 2014 by-election, representing the most populous county in the country – Montserrado. He is certainly better prepared, and more experienced, and is expected to mount a formidable opposition.

Complicating things is his choice for running mate – Jewel Howard-Taylor, the ex-wife of incarcerated former president Charles Taylor. This has fueled concerns that Taylor who is serving a 50-year sentence for war crimes, is influencing the campaign. Oh, there’s also reformed warlord turned Senator Prince Yormie Johnson (MDR); who is hoping to expand his support base beyond his home county and improve on his 2011 showing where he placed an impressive third.

The sleeper candidate is Liberty Party’s Counsellor Charles Brumskine, who is running as the anti-corruption candidate, and is hoping that like President Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria the fourth time is the charm. The 66-year-old former leader of the Senate fondly known as the “integrity general” is running on a platform he has dubbed the 4 Rs: Reconciliation, Reform, Recovery, and Rebuilding. Once the frontrunner in the 2005 elections, he is hoping his name recognition will propel him into the run off, where it is widely assumed the opposition will unite against the incumbent.

The dark-horse candidate is Alternative National Congress’ (ANC) candidate Alexander Cummings, who despite only recently moving back to the country has worked his way into the conversation thanks to his “talk and do” reputation and an appetite for change. The ex-Coca Cola Executive who has no political experience is relying heavily on his business bonafides, and his own funds to propel him to the coveted spot in the run off, although most polls deem that rather ambitious.

In a field of very impressive candidates, notable is Liberia Restoration Party’s (LRP) Macdella Cooper, who is the only hope of following Africa’s first female president with another, and is running as the hope and reform candidate. However, things shake out, the second round of voting will be critical, as coalitions are likely to determine the ultimate outcome.

The Stakes
Today’s elections will mark the first time in 73 years that political power will be handed over peacefully, and democratically, from one elected leader to another. As President Sirleaf said in her final speech to the UN General Assembly last month, at stake in these elections is the “irreversible course that Liberia has embarked upon to consolidate its young, post-conflict democracy”. It all comes against the backdrop of her two terms in office, which have been punctuated, by peace and stability, initial economic growth which reached 8.7% in 2013, then the corruption and nepotism allegations, persistent unemployment, the poor handling of the Ebola crisis and the ensuing economic decline, the Liberian resilience and the continued recovery.

While Vice President Boakai has tried to make the elections about building on the foundation his predecessor laid, the opposition has made it a referendum on what they characterize as her failed policies. Using her own admission of areas where her administration fell short as an indictment on him and a reason to change course.

Counsellor Brumskine is more generous in his assessment of what these elections are about. He asserts that today’s elections are both about the future of Liberia and the transition from vicious conflict to stability and development. He gives President Sirleaf some credit for repositioning Liberia within the community of nations given the fact that she inherited a pariah state. But highlights the fact that despite Liberia being a resource rich, youthful dynamic and vibrant country, 8 out of 10 of its citizens still live in poverty (on less than $1.25 per day). He blames these problems on successive generations of leaders who have failed to transform the country’s endowments into a peaceful and prosperous life for most of its people. After an election season marked by candidates jostling for moral purity, asserting authority on the economy, and promising everything but the kitchen sink, today’s elections comes down to the need for continued peace and stability and the economy. A victory for VP Boakai would mean the country’s appetite for peace and stability weighed more heavily while a strong showing or surprise win for Mr. Cummings would send a strong message of frustration with the status quo.

Why Nigeria should care
Although it seems like an eternity ago, Liberia is only one administration removed from the most recent civil war that decimated its population and infrastructure. Today’s elections will be the first true test of its fragile democracy — one the World community led by Nigeria spent blood and treasure to secure. As the de-facto leader of the ECOWAS region, it is incumbent upon Nigerians to pay close attention and help ensure that the elections and the transition are free and fair because as history has shown, instability in Liberia has the potential to exacerbate the regional and global refugee problem and contribute to instability in neighboring countries.