Special Awards In Pictures

Apparently moved and touched by the litany of commitments Liberians and various groupings are making to his presidential bid but also mindful of the intricacies and intrigues of politics or elections, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai is having a second thoughts about these proceedings.

VP Boakai Wednesday called on his supporters not to be carried away too soon by these early signs so as not to miss the real mark. His comments to supporters about early celebration were in the form of a parable about a man who did have teeth and found himself in an intriguing situation.

“I hear people having early celebration. I give you a story about a man who did not have teeth. He felt in a well and they put a rope in the well to get him out. He got the rope with a teeth and they began to haul him up all the way, and by the time he saw the surface, he wanted to say thank you, the rope slipped and he dropped back into the well. So, don’t say thank you too early,” VP Boakai told a jam-packed gathering of supporters of the National Movement for the Support of Ambassador Boakai (NAMBO) Wednesday.

NAMBO’s relaunched membership drive seeks to enlist about 250,000 members nationwide, a number if realized at the polls could boost the VP’s winning chances. He is vying for president to succeed his boss, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf whose successor, whose two-term leadership ends in January 2018. Already, international experts are suggesting that finding her successor is hard to guess.

It was a scene of battle cries, scintillating songs and the usual political rhetoric that often associate with electioneering period. People from all walks of life and all ages made their way to show support and commitment to Amb. Boakai presidential bid, with about five months to the poll on October 10.

Facing a very tough challenge from several other highly qualified and established personalities also vying for president, VP Boakai is not carried away by what he sees, though he reckons that it also counts.

“We got a lot of work to do,” he reminded NAMBO and others beating the drum louder for him, and added that he feels more committed to the cause of Liberia when people are working, doing things on their own for his sake because “you have no reason for doing so, except that you want a country and you believe that a country must have a good leadership.”

“A lot of people say they don’t like politicians, but I can tell you whether it’s the LMA, church or Muslim, you better get interested in what politics is because I always say when the doctor makes mistake, one person dies, when politician makes mistake there is a problem. Go to South Sudan, go to Syria.”

He tried to put into context the argument surrounding similarity of aspirants platforms, indicating it is not about what you write, but what mean about what is written. Analysts see his comment as shedding light on his commitment to what he says he will do.

VP Boakai pointed out: “We have to make sure that our country works; sometimes I wonder what people think about everybody; the day you come out with a platform, it almost looked like one person wrote it; it is not important what you do.”

“Me, is one important thing I have in mind at all times is that, no matter what you do, God knows the heart better than anybody. And what in your heart he knows is what drives people to you, is not what you say about yourself because they know you.”

Thanking those behind the organization of NAMBO, VP Boakai acknowledged the sacrifices and risks they have made to reach thus far. “I just want to thank you for the sacrifices, the insults you are receiving you are receiving for my sake,” he noted.

While appreciating NAMBO for withstanding the test of time, he vowed to run a clean slit of politics (campaign) during these electioneering people, not getting involved in the use of ‘Sunday school language’ even if provoked.

“One thing I can tell is, until elections take place, you will never hear one insult coming from this mouth because I am not trained to that,” VP Boakai said. “What Liberians want to hear is, what have you to do, what you have done in the past, and not how many persons you have abused, or how many you have condemned.”

Rather than indulging into petty politics – condemning and abusing others - his most important focus is how to make Liberia better after 170 years of existence. “For us, we encourage people to be polite; tell people the truth if they lie.

Earlier, NAMBO’s Secretary General, Moncio Robert Kpadeh said the organization came to being to support Amb. Boakai based on his demonstrated leadership dexterity over the years, referring to him as very clean and good man who has no record of stealing.

“We have decided as a movement, at this time in our political history as a country, to reset the agenda. The essence of this struggle is to fight, fight the hardest and the toughest to make sure the best presidential candidate is elected in October,” Kpadeh, a former official of government, told the cheering crowd amidst thundering wave of battle cries.

“We do so because he represents the will and aspirations of the majority; we do so because the most senior leader, Amb. Boakai, has distinguished himself; he has been an outstanding public figure and devote public servant. He served humanity with distinction and immaculation.”

“Our country is at a critical juncture and the question is asked: whom do you give the baton of authority to; we must pass the baton to the right leader, to the right person, someone demands the people’s respect.”

Besides the pomp and pageantry was also an irritating situation. A scuffle that broke out amongst members of NAMBO resulted to someone sustaining injury on his head. An angry member of the organization who was said to be have denied his share of money received from one of the guest stoned the main gate to the entrance of NOMBO’s office. Several stones were also thrown into the compound, and one of them hit a boy on his head, causing a very deep cut.

Stain of blood from the wounded man covered the floor at the entrance of the main office, as he was also rushed to a nearby clinic for prompt treatment. The stone thrower was later apprehended by angry crowd, most of them members of NAMBO’s battle cry structure.

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