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Are Liberians Against Nigerians? The issue Of The NEC Chair Nominee

By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)

Since the nomination of Cllr. A. Ndubusi Nwabudike as Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), there have been plethora of concerns about the appointment of the counsellor, who is a naturalized Liberian.

Many persons and groups, including political parties and civil society are vehemently opposing the confirmation of the nomination on ground that he holds two alliances as a Nigerian and a Liberian.

Therefore, they are arguing that it would not be prudent or expedient for him to occupy such strategic position. As such, they are calling on the Senate Committee headed by Sinoe County Senator, J. Milton Teahjay, my former schoolmate from Tolbert High School in New Kru Town, to reject him. Additionally, others are calling for the continuation of the hearing because of the present health crisis (Coronavirus) in the country, with three confirmed and three suspected cases thus far.

Interestingly, in the wake of these incessant calls for the counsellor not to be confirmed, there are a few who are against such calls because the nominee is also a Nigerian is an act of ingratitude by these Liberians, considering Nigeria’s role in resolving the Liberian conflict. It is from this point that I have decided to do this piece as to whether or not Liberians are against Nigerians or not. As the confirmation continues, I do not want to delve into the pros and cons.

On the issue as to whether or not Liberians are against Nigerians because of opposition to the nomination of Cllr.

A. Ndubusi Nwabudike, to this, I say a BIG NO! Liberians would never be against Nigerians because the two are intertwined and inseparable, especially for those of us from the Kru background.

Emphatically, let me say that Liberians are not against Nigerians and that Liberians would never be against Nigerians. What is happening is that when people are appointed to certain public offices, they would meticulously undergo vigorous scrutiny. Even if they do not hold dual citizenship or are natural born or naturalized, they would be questioned on their status, qualification and competence. This is the cardinal purpose or reason for confirmation hearing.

I recall when the former Chairman of the
NEC, Cllr. Jerome Korkoyah was appointed and people raised the issue of dual citizenship. I surmise that because he convinced the Senate, he was confirmed. Besides, in recent time, this was the case of natural born Liberian, Cllr. Charles Gibson, who was rejected as Minister of Justice. He was later replaced by the present Minister, Cllr Frank Musa Dean.

It is this exercise that Cllr. A. Ndubusi Nwabudike is undergoing, with the principal issue of substantiating his naturalized citizenship, with appropriate and convincing documents, especially the one referred to in law as “THE BEST EVIDENCE RULE.“
The Black’s Law Dictionary defines ‘Best Evidence Rule as, The evidentiary rule providing that, to prove the contents of a writing or a recording or photography; a party must produce the original writing or a mechanical, electronic, or other familiar duplicate, such as a photocopy unless it is unavailable, in which case secondary evidence – the testimony of the drafter or a person who read the document – may be admitted.

Frankly, this ongoing confirmation hearing should not be seen as something against Nigerians or any other person with naturalized status. The law is the law, as all of us are EQUAL before the LAW.

As was reported yesterday, during the hearing on Monday, there were claims and counterclaims between the nominee and Cllr. Varney Sherman over his citizenship.

At certain point of the debate, Sherman questioned the nominee’s nationality citing serious requisite articles but what appeared to be a retort, the nominee said it would have been unfair to him for the Senator to question his citizenship while alleging that Senator Sherman once recommended him as a Liberian lawyer but Senator Sherman refuted the nominee‘s assertion.

In all fairness, it is sheer naivety for anyone to think that issues arising out of this confirmation hearing is an indication of Liberians being against Nigerians.

It would be foolhardy for anyone to think in such manner. This is what confirmation hearing is about. They have to dig into your closet. The issue now is for this nominee to prove his claim of naturalized status?
Once again, the ongoing exercise is not about xenophobia, but an exercise to ferret the veracity of the issue, especially his citizenship.

Hence, Liberians are not against and would never be against Nigerians. Lest we forget that when one gets into politics, certain issues would crop up to be proven or not proven.

Again, this piece is not about whether or he would be confirmed or not, but to point out that Liberians are not against Nigerians, whose males are affectionately known as “OLGA. ”

In fact, Liberians and Nigerians are intertwined either by affinity or consangenuity.

I Rest My Case.

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