Monrovia - The National Chairman of the opposition Liberty Party said he has rejected a petition from citizens of Grand Kru County asking him to contest the senate seat in the county in the upcoming October polls.

Speaking to FrontPageAfrica on reasons why he did not accept the petition from his kinsmen because he has an even bigger national duty to perform, Cllr. Koffa said he has national obligations.

“We announced yesterday evening to the Voice of Grand Kru, on a broadcast to our people in Grand Kru that we will not be accepting the petition of over 7,000 citizens of Grand Kru County to contest the 2014 senatorial elections because we have prior national obligations,” said Atty. J. Fonati Koffa in an interview with FPA on Monday.

“As a Chairman of a national political party I have an obligation to ensure the success of all of the candidates running on the Liberty Party ticket and the success of our party. That responsibility supersedes in my mind, at this point, a run for myself in Grand Kru County.”

He said if he had an intention to run for the Grand Kru seat he would not have opted to lead the party, but be it as it is, he rather leads others to victory than abandon the party for his personal benefit.

“Had I envisioned that I would have been running in 2014, then I would not have taken up the mantle of chairmanship of the Liberty Party,” he said. “We aspire in this decision to a cause greater than ourselves; we aspire to a more noble party looking towards 2017 rather than our own narrow personal interest.”

Thousands of Atty. Koffa’s kinsmen signed a petition prevailing on him to lead the county at the level of the legislature, but were disappointed when he turned them down. But he maintains that he understands how they feel, but for now not contesting is the right thing to do, dismissing critics' assertion that he was afraid to jump in the race.

“They are very disappointed. We had two hectic days at my residence of acrimonious debate with them; they are hurt, they are disappointed, they are gearing up for a race that we certainly could not tell them that we can give them the time and energy for. Why would I be? All of the polls show me in the lead,” he said.

Primaries; Maryland trouble spot

The LP is almost nearing completion of its internal quest to choose partisans who would represent the LP in the ensuing elections slated for October this year. The party’s primary held over the weekend went well, except for Maryland County, which was disputed according to Atty. Koffa.

“We have not concluded all. We have about six pending; we have one that is in protest,” he said. “There’s going to be a redo because we received a late protest notice that one of the candidates was not allowed to participate in the Maryland primary, so we may likely do that primary again for next weekend.”

Unlike other political parties primaries, which were marred by accusations of cheating, including that of the incumbent Unity Party and the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), the LP’s which were mainly endorsements, went smoothly because according to the party’s chairman, it had a properly planned strategy that was well executed.

“Let me tell you the uniqueness about our system, that’s why you don’t hear noise from the Liberty Party county conventions. We employed a dual strategy; but a caucus and a primary system within the same conventions.

Continued Cllr. Koffa: “Before the day of the convention, we start off with a caucus. The candidates who intend to vie for that position, consult the delegates who would be at the convention, to sort of canvass among them. "

"That culminates on the day of the convention, in the hall in which most of the candidates engage in their canvassing. What we find in that process is, at the end of the day before there is a gavel, most of the candidates participating decide either not to participate or that one candidate would be better and in that regard, it worked in all of the seven primaries except Cape Mount.”

The party’s only real serious race was in Grand Cape Mount Count,y where there were two candidates who felt that they could win the nomination and so elected to have a primary according to Cllr. Koffa. “We had a primary in Cape Mount and Jesse Z. Segbo defeated Augustus S. James. The rest of the other primaries are scheduled for this week coming up,” he said.

The case of Gertrude Lamin

Commenting on the quick exit of Rep. Gertrude Lamin few weeks after she joined the party to resurface at the winner of the UP’s Gbarpolu County ticket for the senate, the LP Chairman, said that he received a letter of resignation from Lamin and wished her all the best.

“We wish her well. She joined our party and she un-joined. We wish her very well. We enjoyed her brief stay in our party. We’re glad the LP was able to give her a level of gravitas within the party to which she has now returned,” he said.