“AREST”, Joe Boakai’s Pathway to Elections 2023

Boakai and his now strong political ally Benoni Urey (right) in Nigeria
Boakai and his now strong political ally Benoni Urey (right) in Nigeria

The main opposition Unity Party’s political leader and presidential hopeful in the 2023 Liberian elections, Amb. Joseph Boakai has unveiled his platform bearing the acronym “AREST”.

Agriculture, Roads, Education, Sanitation and Tourism (AREST) are core words Mr. Boakai coined to form AREST, as his platform on which to thread his campaign for the top job in Liberia.

The Former Liberian Vice President disclosed his platform synopsis in a Nigerian television show on Thursday morning, December 8, 2023 as he and his political ally Benoni Urey of All Liberian Party toured Nigeria for what the duo called “Business Tour”.

Boakai and Urey are reported to traveling to Nigeria on a private jet. Earlier, Unity Party Secretary General Amos Tweh said Boakai as “a private citizen” was on a subregional mission to meet his friends who include some politicians and businesspeople for consultation ahead of the 2023 polls. He did not say which one of the friends of Boakai and Urey is providing the private jet.

Boakai, a former agriculture minister of Liberia, thinks agriculture has the potential to bridge the gaps of unemployment and youth idleness confronting the impoverished nation. Road network, Baokai said, will boost the economy, while Education develops the minds of Liberians, mostly young people many of whom are exposed to drug addiction.

The former Vice President under ex-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Boakai failed to mention Health in his platform but rather Sanitation. He thinks Liberia, particularly Monrovia, under President Weah, is filthy. Tourism is a sector a Boakai presidency thinks deserves attention.

Asked why didn’t he bring to sight his vision for Liberia in the government he served for 12 years as Vice President, the Unity Party Standard Bearer responded with his usual excuse by defining the role of the vice president as the ‘helper” to the president. During the 2017 elections campaign, the former VP said the Unity Pary government “squandered” the huge opportunity they had. That government is said to have benefitted from up to US$16 billion foreign direct investment.

At 78, Joe Boakai still considers himself a “race car” once parked in his capacity as Vice President to Africa’s First Female President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is believed to have supported the “Footballing Liberian President”, George Weah to get him win the Liberian presidency in 2017.

On his disposition against the Weah’s government, Ambassador Joe Boakai claimed Liberia can best be described as a nation on “autopilot”, meaning the country lacks leadership, allowing the system to run in odd direction. President Weah’s presence and his absence are the same except that his absence carries money from national covers, Boakai told a team of Nigerian television presenters.

If Former VP Boakai loses the Liberian 2023 presidential election, it could be assumed that his chances for becoming President for the West African Nation is ceased. He will be nearly 86 when the winner of the 2023 polls would be either succeeding him or herself or turning over power to a new president.

As it is, not the law but public sentiment speaks louder against his age compared to his competitors.

Mr. Joseph N. Boakai is the leading opposition to George Weah, but Weah proved edge over Boakai by winning more than 60% of the runoff votes as opposed to 38.5% Boakai obtained in 2017.

But political commentators believe Weah now has a declined rating, considering high corruption, delayed or failed projects worsened by his prolonged stay abroad for World Cup 2022 where his son was featured on the side of USA football team. With all this, Weah’s followers trust his magic hands, not just on the football field but in Liberian politics.

Source: News Public Trust

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