Magazine article New African

Urey Will Be a Force to Reckon With

Magazine article New African

Urey Will Be a Force to Reckon With

Article excerpt

Pastor Joseph G. Johnson III is the general overseer of the Restoration Baptist Church in Monrovia. Aged 46, he is doing much to impact the lives of a lot of people. His church runs a programme that feeds between 1,000 and 1,200 poor children with lunch 5 days a week in the communities surrounding the church. Pastor Johnson likes to speak his mind, and he does so without fear or favour. This is his take on Benoni Urey.

Q: Liberia has been independent since 1847. a good 167 years ago. Where did the nation go wrong?

Our problem in this country has been leadership. I don't subscribe to the philosophy that all Liberians are not serious, and that the Liberian people cannot govern themselves. I believe that, like Ghana. Nigeria and other countries, Liberia should keep trying and by the grace of God we shall get a good leader who will meet the challenges facing this country.

For decades, we put our trust in politicians and elected a lot of them. But look at where we are today, 167 years after independence, as you say. Because of the lack of real meaningful progress in this country, it is difficult now for Liberian voters to trust any new leadership again. We have given opportunity to old politicians, and we have now given opportunity to new politicians under President Johnson Sirleaf. Sadly both have let us down.

So what do we do when Madam Sirlcafs term comes to an end? Do we elect again the old politicians who have not delivered, or do we choose the new breed who have also not delivered? That is the dilemma Liberia will have to solve in 2017.

Personally, I think we need to look outside the old group and try a new group of people, a new group of business people and educational leaders who will come from completely outside the old political hierarchy. Maybe we can get from this new group the leader everybody is waiting for.

Q: Does Urey have the qualities to be the new leader you are talking about?

If you look at all the major players, Benoni Urey will be one of those who will be a force to reckon with. I say this based on his past record. He has helped a lot of people. Look at the kind of businesses he now represents, the kind of new group of Liberians that he wants to put together, the way he has been able to conduct himself after he was put on the United Nations sanctions list, and the kind of leadership he has exhibited even while on the sanctions list.

I believe strongly that he is going to be a force to reckon with in the elections. He will pose a serious challenge to the competition, because he is not the kind of man you can just throw out the window or throw on the garbage heap.

Q: What has he done specifically to make you say this about him?

I have watched Urey's life for a period of time, and though I may not have been close to him. his activities in the business world are one area you can look at and say he will be able to provide the economic freedom Liberians are looking for.

He has created several companies that employ a lot of Liberians. He has fought and won over predators who wanted to take over some of his businesses, especially the LoneStar telecoms company, and today, through that company and the others, he is providing jobs and food for ordinary Liberians.

He is the kind of person that must he part of the leadership process, because if we can judge him by the leadership qualities he has brought to his businesses, we can safely say that at a national level he will do something good for everybody. …

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