*Congratulates Boakai for emerging president-electDeji Elumoye in Berlin
As Africans hail Liberians and their leaders for making the continent proud, President Bola Tinubu yesterday congratulated the government and people of Liberia on the successful conduct of the presidential election.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, Tinubu also congratulated the President-elect, Joseph Boakai, who won the mandate of the people.
Tinubu, however, enjoined the Liberian President-elect to unite the country and build on the popular support expressed through the ballot box to deliver good governance to the people of Liberia.
The statement said President Tinubu commended President George Weah for demonstrating uncommon leadership by conceding the election and averting any form of socio-political crisis.
He said President Weah’s great act of democratic sportsmanship is exemplary, particularly at this time in West Africa, when democracy is under attack by malign actors who are bent on subverting the will of the people.
“I commend President George Weah for his sterling example, undiluted patriotism, and statesmanship. He has defied the stereotype that peaceful transitions of power are untenable in West Africa.
“He has demonstrated that the outcome of elections in the sub-region need not become the propellant of violence and unrest and that the will of the people must always be respected,” Tinubu stated.
George Weah, the incumbent president and football legend, conceded defeat on Friday evening after nearly complete returns showed opposition leader Joseph Boakai leading with 50.89 percent of the vote.
“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight the CDC (party) has lost the election, but Liberia has won.
“This is the time for graciousness in defeat, to put national interest above personal interest,” he said in a speech on national radio.
Results published by the electoral commission after tallying the ballots from more than 99 per cent of polling stations gave Weah 49.11 per cent of the votes cast.
The 78-year-old Boakai beat Weah by just over 28,000 votes.
Weah said he had spoken to Boakai “to congratulate him on his victory”.
“The Liberian people have spoken, and we have heard their voice. However, the closeness of the results reveals a deep division within our country,” Weah said in his speech.
Around 2.4 million Liberians were eligible to vote on Tuesday, but no turnout figures have been released.
Dozens of Boakai’s supporters danced in celebration outside one of his party’s offices in the capital Monrovia.
The elections were the first since the United Nations 2018 ended its peacekeeping mission, created after more than 250,000 people died in two civil wars in Liberia between 1989 and 2003.
Meanwhile, Joseph Boakai, who is expected to win the presidency in Liberia after incumbent leader George Weah conceded election defeat, has four decades of political experience behind him.
Boakai was vice president from 2006 to 2018 to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female president, who rebuilt the ravaged country after a civil war left an estimated 250,000 dead.
This week’s vote was Boakai’s second run for the top job after he lost tAo President George Weah in a 2017 run-off.
The two faced off again in a second-round vote on Tuesday, following last month’s hard-fought first ballot, in which neither secured an outright victory.
Boakai, 78, has castigated the record of his opponent, a former international star footballer, and emphasised his own experience in office, proposing a “rescue plan” for the West African country.
He has pledged to improve infrastructure, invest in agriculture, attract investment, open the country to tourism, and restore Liberia’s reputation.
“His motivation is to rescue Liberia from the current state it is in,” Mohammed Ali, Boakai’s Unity Party spokesman, told AFP ahead of the vote.
He highlighted an “influx of illicit drugs, the increase in the poverty rate (and) the image of the country being so low” as problems that have worsened under Weah’s presidency.
His strategy seemed to have worked.
While six years ago Boakai won 28.8 percent in the first round and 38.5 percent in the second, he pulled level with Weah in this year’s first round, with both receiving about 43 per cent of the vote.
With almost all the polling stations tallied after the latest run-off, Boakai had garnered 50.89 percent of votes against Weah’s 49.11