“I wish to congratulate the people of Liberia and the President and his Vice in particular, for this enviable democratic feat achieved and to use this opportunity to admonish the youth of this country to emulate H.E President Oppong Weah’s example and be assured that irrespective of wherever you find yourself, with patience, humility, perseverance, dedication and respect, you can achieve whatever you aspire to do in this world,” Mr. Patrick Boamah, MP for Okaikwei Central, said in a statement on the floor of the House.
Former soccer icon George Oppong Weah, popularly known as the “Country Giant,” won the West African country’s presidential elections last year.
The new President replaced Africa’s first female President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, making it the first democratic transfer of power in more than 70 years from the time that President Edwin Barclay was replaced by President William Tubman.
President Weah, 51 (born on October 1, 1966), at his inauguration on January 22, 2018, promised a united nation, toward a future of hope and prosperity; and all will wear “the jersey of Liberia, and victory belongs to the people, to peace, and democracy.”
Mr Boamah chronicled the life of the three-time African Footballer of the year, who was also named African Player of the Century, and his journey into the arena of politics, after his retirement from football in 2001.
“And in 2005, following the end of the second Liberian Civil War, he first ran for President, losing out to Mrs Sirleaf in an election run-off.
* Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor
“After a number of failed attempts, he was elected as Senator in 2014, becoming the first Liberian international athlete to represent a country in the Legislature. He was elected President of Liberia in the 2017 election, winning a run-off against Vice President Joseph Bokai, who served as Vice President under Mrs Johnson-Sirlef, by more than 60 percent of the vote,” Mr. Boamah observed.
He commended President Weah, who despite the lack of formal education, though not a necessary requirement to become a President, accepted the challenge, and graduated with a business administration degree from a DeVry University in the United States.
Mr. Boamah noted that President Weah is coming into office at a time “when the expectation of his people and country, as well as West Africa and the world as a whole, is all up to him,” and wished him well.
Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs and MP for North Tongu, in a related statement, went down memory lane, recalling and praising Ghana for her commendable role in supporting Liberia “all the way in what has been an arduous, tortuous and eventful journey.”
Some of the contributions, the North Tongu Legislator mentioned, was Ghana’s contribution of troops to the ECOWAS Economic Community Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) during the two civil wars in Liberia, facilitating the brokering of peaceful agreements, hosting of Liberian refugees in Ghana, and Ghana coming to the rescue of Liberia during the outbreak of the Ebola scare, in addition to Ghanaian educational institutions that have assisted in building the capacity of Liberian leaders and professional leaders across board.
“We also do know of the role our Electoral Commission played in strengthening Liberia’s electoral capacity over the years, not forgetting the latest support from celebrated former Ghanaian Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Djan, following the directive from the Supreme Court of Liberia on the need for that country’s electoral commission to improve ahead of the second round election.”
Mr. Ablakwa said the special invitations extended to Ghana’s current President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo and Ghana’s former Presidents-Jerry John Rawlings and John Dramani Mahama to the auspicious inauguration ceremony is ample testimony of the very high regard and the deep sense of appreciation that Liberia has for Ghana.
He congratulated the people of Liberia and extended the best wishes of the House and Ghana to former President Johnson-Sirleaf and President Weah.