Benoni Urey Surfaces As Running Mate to VP Boakai

Benoni Urey Surfaces As Running Mate to VP Boakai

Monrovia - Businessman Benoni Urey has reportedly emerged on the shortlist of hopefuls being considered by Vice President Joseph Boakai as a running mate for the 2017 Presidential elections, FrontPage Africa has learned.



The overtures to Urey comes amid report that the People's Unification Party(PUP) has abandoned its quest of fielding a member of the Kpelleh tribal group for the 2017 presidency in the aftermath of the election of Representative James Emmanuel Nuquay as Speaker of the House of Representative.

Multiple sources from both the Vice President and Mr. Urey camps confirmed to FrontPage Africa this week that Mr. Urey was summoned to a meeting with the VP last week in talks aides on both sides described as cordial and encouraging.

Among the topics discussed, according to sources, were the Vice President  and ruling Unity Party’s standard bearer’s concerns over growing attacks on his candidacy by Mr. Urey through his strong supporter, talk show host Henry Costa.

The overtures to Urey comes amid report that the People's Unification Party(PUP) has abandoned its quest of fielding a member of the Kpelleh tribal group for the 2017 presidency in the aftermath of the election of Representative James Emmanuel Nuquay as Speaker of the House of Representative.

Speaker Nuquay, one of the PUP’s original members had earlier rejected reports that the party was tribal based.

Sources have confirmed to FrontPage Africa that the PUP is now more likely to throw its weight behind Boakai, spurring a massive division of the vote-rich Bong County.

It is widely believed that the recently coalition of George Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change and Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Party (NPP) under the banner of the coalition for Democratic Change will likely see former First Lady now Bong Senator Jewel Howard Taylor becoming running mate to Weah, a scenario which could split the county between Nuquay’s PUP and Boakai’s quest to cement his place in the county with the emergence of Urey in the picture.

The county, as of the 2008 Census, had a population of 328,919, making it the third-most populous county in Liberia and is strategically bordered by Boakai’s hometown, Lofa and next door Gbarpolu to the north, Margibi and Montserrado Counties to the west, Grand Bassa to the south and Nimba to the east.

Despite its massive numbers, only 65, 963 electorates cast their votes during the 2011 elections as the county threw its weight behind Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. The ruling Unity Party won 52,949 while CDC’s Winston Tubman won 10, 499.

The overtures to Urey by VP Boakai comes as the Vice President is said to be narrowing down a shortlist of potential running mates that also includes the like of former Public Works Minister Kofi Woods, Internal Affairs Minister Henrique Tokpa, also a former President of the Cuttington University, Harrison Karnwea, Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and Mr. Jeremiah Sulunteh, Ambassador accredited to the United States of America.

The overtures also comes as Urey’s All Liberia Party(ALP) appears to be losing steam with many of the President ial hopeful’s critics accusing him of not seizing the moment and taking charge of the vulnerable political terrain.

Urey, regarded as one of the most financially-stable contenders for the presidency was listed by the Economist magazine as the richest man in Liberia.

The 2017 Presidential elections remain up in the air with many unsure who has the edge to replace Sirleaf after the 2017 President ial race.

Many political observers fear that the clouded Presidential field with nearly 25 candidates eyeing the presidency could come down to one important but complicated configuration bordering a post-war nation with a history of voting on tribal lines: Prince Johnson is widely expected to win Nimba as he did in 2011, Charles Brumskine of the opposition Liberty Party is expected to win Grand Bassa while Boakai is expected to win his hometown in Lofa.

The dynamics could come down to which of those three will be able to give the CDC coalition a fight in vote-rich Montserrado County and much of the Southeast where former Coca Cola executive Alexander Cummings has reportedly been making some headway.

Barring any unforeseen projections or surprises in the coming weeks and months leading to the 2017 Presidential elections the unfolding scenario and political development could offer a glimpse into the outcome of the Presidential race although voter turnout and financial standings will also prove to be a decisive factor in the play for the presidency.