Let The Best Player Have The #1 Jersey – The Presidency

By Dr. Coker A. J. George, Jr.

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
November 7, 2005


Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
We join thousands of Liberians in the USA, and the Diaspora in congratulating you for the well disciplined and civilized manner displayed in the exercise of your franchise during the first of the presidential and vice presidential elections. Your actions represent another first in the annals of Liberia’s history. But let us remind you that the race is not over. The last lag of the race lies before you – the run-off slated for Tuesday November 8, 2005. As we monitor developments back home, we are appealing to you, most especially the Youths, to “LET THE BEST PLAYER HAVE THE #1 JERSEY” – THE PRESIDENCY.

A vote for Madam Sirleaf and Amb Boakai on Nov. 8, is an assurance for a better and new Liberia. Remember the destiny of Liberia lies in your hands. Posterity will judge you. There is no room for error this time around. Remember how good God has been to us as a people over the past 25 years. Remember how supportive our West African neighbors have sacrificed their resources to sustain our sovereignty. Remember how the UN, and the International community continue to make Liberia a priority, resolving to bring peace and stability to Africa’s first republic.

Fellow Liberians, assume you had a choice to select between two vehicles. One that looks new, but needs to be overhauled; tires flat; and needs a jump-start, or pushed in order to start. As compared to the second car that looks good; has been overhauled by one of the best automotive and mechanical shops; and just requires to press a bottom to start and open the doors, or place the key in the switch, turn it, in order to get the vehicle started. Of course, without any doubt, you will select the second vehicle that has no problems. Your choice on Tuesday November 8, will be putting Liberia first above self. Elect Madam Sirleaf as that choice.

Look, we admire Amb. Weah. He is a good example of a young person from a humble beginning who submitted himself to the disciplines of the sports he loves so dear, football. He is good example of a young person who listened, and was committed, dedicated, and hard working. He was identified, and embraced by the football officials in Liberia, and his potentials developed. The laurels received in the football profession were not through nepotism, favoritism, popularity, or ethnicity. He was groomed and prepared to face the challenges he encountered on the field of play, thereby reaching the very top. But he does not have the capacity to serve and lead Liberia at this time.

Similarly, Madam Sirleaf is from a humble beginning. She submitted herself to be trained and groomed, and possesses the capacity to manage the affairs of government, and financial institutions. Although a young mother of four (4), she took advantage of educational opportunities that prepared her to develop the skills and expertise, thereby enabling her to ascend to positions both in government, and international institutions. She is Liberia’s first woman to have served as Minister of Finance. She had earlier served as Assistant, and Deputy Finance Minister. On the international scene, she had an enviable career at the UN, serving as Regional Director for UNDP for Africa, and also served as Vice President for CitiBank for the East African Region. She is no stranger to the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after having served on the Board of these institutions. Madam Sirleaf is convincibly a “fit timber”, and is prepared to “Hit the Ground Running”. She does not need a “jump-start”, or “push and start” like Amb Weah.

In the football lingual, we appeal to you fellow Liberians, and especially the Youths, “TO LET THE BEST PLAYER HAVE THE #1 JERSEY – THE PRESIDENCY”. Cast your vote on Tuesday November 8 for Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as Liberia’s first female president not just because she is a female, but because she is qualified, and has the capacity to unite our people, heal the land, and bring speedy reconstruction and development to our war-torn country. The decision you make may invoke a spontaneous response from the international community, or a “wait and see attitude”. Like in the game of football, you are the coach and captain with the power and authority to select the best player for the game. This time around, LONE STAR does want just to be qualified, but wants to go back on the top, and regain her status among the comity of nations. Madam Sirleaf records prove that she is the better of the two candidates. Let not make fun of ourselves. Our neighbors, and the world at-large have begun to laugh at us already. Go for the best, go for Madam Sirleaf.

You may ask, “what will happen Amb Weah? Should he “hang his boots up?” No! He has begun a good thing! But like the game of football, he will be embraced, prepared, and brought on the team. His potentials will have to be developed for national leadership, but he has to first submit himself. Amb Weah knows how he came to prominence in the professional of football. It was not overnight. Thanks to coaches Sithole, Pelhman, and others. Likewise, you can not enter politics and government unwisely, and unprepared. You need the education, and to be trained. Further, we appeal to Amb Weah not to be misled and misguided by greed politicians who are seeking self-aggrandizement. They are trying to regain wealth what they corruptibly achieved, and have lost, and will abandon him when the “going goes rough”. Do not forget what they did to SKD. All the want is to “GET GRAB and GO”. They want to return to doing business as usual. They are part of the bunch of the failed patriarchal leadership that has led Liberia to where it is.

Finally to the Liberian women and their leadership. We commend you for the bold and relentless efforts during the entire course of our crisis. Your stance for Ellen is indicative of your relentless efforts in support of a new and better Liberia. You have not only been our mothers, but sisters, and providers. During the height of the crisis, you did what you had to do to support your family and friends. Under your leadership, a semblance of peace was restored to our beloved Liberia when Mother Ruth Sando Perry headed the interim government, leading to elections in 1997. Do not relent until Ellen is elected Liberia and Africa first female president.

Fellow Liberians, this is our humble appeal. “Let Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Have the #1 Jersey – The Presidency”. Make history again with electing her Africa’s first female president. Remember, “In Union Strong, Success is Sure, We will over all prevail!” God Bless Liberia!