• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Africans praise President George Weah as he concedes defeat to Boakai

Liberia runoff election to take place November 14

In a historic act, President George Weah of Liberia conceded defeat after the nearly final provisional results of this week’s runoff election favored challenger Joseph Boakai by a slim margin. Acknowledging the people’s verdict, President Weah filed his concession late on Friday.

Addressing the nation, President Weah expressed, “I stand before you tonight with a heavy heart, but with the utmost respect for the democratic process that has defined our nation. The results announced tonight, though not final, indicate that Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai is in a lead that is insurmountable.”

He continued, “I extend my heartfelt congratulations to President-elect Boakai, his supporters, and his campaign team. May his presidency be marked by success for all Liberians, and may our nation prosper under his leadership.”

The provisional results, with 99.58 percent of the votes tallied, depict Boakai securing 50.89 percent of the total votes compared to Weah’s 49.11 percent. This outcome sharply contrasts with the previous election six years ago, where Weah emerged victoriously against Boakai.

“The Liberian people have spoken, and we have heard their voice,” remarked President Weah in his national address, affirming Boakai’s unassailable lead. He urged fellow citizens to embrace the electoral outcome, assuring them that “our time will come again” in 2029.

Read also: Liberia: Tinubu hails Weah’s sportsmanship, congratulates Boakai

The act of concession came before the official results were disclosed, aligning with growing concerns about democratic fragility in West Africa. President Weah emphasized, “I have the utmost respect for the democratic process that has defined our nation.”

Weah, a former international footballer, clinched victory in the 2017 election, pledging to combat poverty and foster infrastructural growth. His election marked Liberia’s inaugural democratic transfer of power since the cessation of two civil wars spanning from 1989 to 2003, causing the loss of approximately 250,000 lives.

Nevertheless, Weah encountered criticism for purportedly failing to fulfill key promises regarding corruption eradication and justice delivery for conflict victims.

The runoff on Tuesday, which followed Weah’s 43.83 percent and Boakai’s 43.44 percent vote shares in the first round, unfolded as an exceedingly close race. Subsequently, Boakai garnered support from candidates who secured the third, fourth, and fifth positions.

Boakai, 78, previously served as vice president under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first democratically elected female leader.

According to Ryan Cummings, Director of Africa-focused Signal Risk Consulting, Weah’s inability to revive the economy and tackle corruption may have bolstered Boakai’s appeal among Liberians. Cummings remarked, “The public dissatisfaction with Weah’s administration has potentially favored Boakai as a viable alternative.”

Read also: Liberia Election results: Boakai maintains lead over Weah in runoff election

The concession speech from Weah garnered widespread attention and positive reactions on social media platforms.

Elnathan John expressed on X platform, formerly Twitter, “I really hope George Weah gets the @Mo_IbrahimFdn prize. This is how it should be. You lose elections, you concede and move on or try again.”

Also, Femi Mimiko lauded Weah’s sportsmanship, stating, “Congratulations, President #GeorgeWeah! You may have lost the election, but for those who can see clearly, you won the victory cup, and the golden boot!”

On another platform, Michael Onimbo remarked, “The peaceful transfer of power in Liberia is a testament to the resilience of the Liberian people. This is a moment to celebrate.”

Similarly, Edo Goodnews echoed a sentiment of hope for Liberia, stating, “There is no age limit to pursuing a dream. Once you can dream it, go for it.”

In addition, social media user Mudiaga Esiekpe emphasized, “We just want dividends of democracy for the people of Liberia. That’s all.”

“George Weah has gone from uneducated street urchin to world class footballer to university graduate to President of a “small country” to African Statesman and Leader. It didn’t brake particularly long t achieve and it is a really marvellous thing to see,” a lawyer and Nigerian power ministry official said.