Amidst looming threats of removal as Speaker of the 55th Legislature, House Speaker Johnathan Fonati Koffa has appointed the daughter of Mr. Benoni Urey, as Senior Advisor, Foreign Affairs and Legislative Engagements. Making the disclosure on his official Facebook page, Speaker Koffa stated that he is pleased to appoint Ms. Telia Urey as his Senior Advisor on Foreign Affairs and Legislative Engagements in the office of the Honorable Speaker. “Ms. Urey will spearhead the Speaker’s agenda to foster collaboration between the Liberian Legislature and other international legislative bodies. She will coordinate, advise, and guide the Speaker’s foreign affairs initiatives within the Legislature. She will work in concert with the House’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.”

“Ms. Urey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and Economics from McGill University and a certification from the London School of Economics in Business, International Relations, and Political Economy. She is a politician, philanthropist, and businesswoman with over a decade of experience in leading and directing enterprises across Africa.” Speaker Koffa’s statement read. It may be recalled July 2023, barely a day after her denigrating comments against former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai (JNB) presidential ambition dubbed the “Rescue Mission”, the former chairperson of the JNB Tact Team-2023, a political support group in support of a Joe Boakai presidency, Ms. Telia J. Urey, came under oral and written aggravated attacks. Telia took to Facebook and among others, wrote that Joe Bokai’s “Rescue Mission” train has lost direction, inferring that she would no longer support the Unity Party (UP) standard bearer to become Liberia’s next president. Like her father, business mogul cum politician Benoni Urey and controversial talk radio presenter Henry Costa, all of the All Liberian Party (ALP), who believe JNB and the Unity Party erred in picking Senator Jeremiah Koung, as vice presidential running-mate to the standard bearer of the UP, Telia indicated that she would not bear the burden of nobody who makes mistakes and bad choices. “Nobody’s mistakes or bad choices will be my bondage. I will support a team that my conscience tells me is best for Liberia in the short and medium term. Not a team or train that has lost its direction,” she wrote. “In the October elections, I will support whoever I believe is best for Liberia. I fear nobody and will not be intimidated by any group of people either,” Telia further wrote, discounting assertions attributed to partisans and supporters of the UP that if someone doesn’t support the former ruling party, such person is going against Liberia, as being a “false narrative”, which she labeled as being toxic, divisive, and out-rightly ridiculous. Throwing a jibe at Joe Boakai’s supporters for seemingly exuding a feeling of entitlement that the former VP is entitled to the country’s presidency, Telia, a top-notch political strategist wrote that political parties and leaders earned trust and support, but they don’t demand and feel entitled to same. “We are too advanced in our thinking to subscribe to this,” wrote Telia, who cautioned partisans and supporters of JNB to develop a more strategic campaign plan and message if they are serious about winning the 10 October presidential election. Howbeit, Telia did not end her Facebook write-up without preempting that her social media post would have attracted some unkind replies including insults. True to Telia’s apprehensions, the former chairperson of the JNB Tact Team-2023, received barrage of backlashes from several quarters within the Liberian society, with many of those doing so mostly using the same medium she used, to pay her back in her own coin. Subsequently in the Run-off election in November 2023, Mr. Urey along with his daughter Telia and political commentator Henry Costa led the All Liberia party to endorse the re-election of former President George M. Weah.Speaking during the endorsement, Urey said, “Mr. President, the All Liberian Party has vested significant authority in me. Today, I have been granted the privilege to inform you, Mr. President, that the All Liberian Party endorses your bid for a second term. We want to assure you that today’s endorsement is not just an ordinary one; it is an endorsement from our hearts.” Urey also characterized the ALP’s endorsement of the CDC as a commitment to the CDC, promising to ensure that President Weah secures a victory in the election and serves a second term. “We will go to great lengths and traverse the breadth of this country to ensure your re-election into office. We do not want to repeat the political mistakes of the past. I have made political mistakes, and Liberia has made political mistakes. We will not make the same mistakes again. We are not going to make deals with the devil,” Urey emphasized. Urey reflected on his history with the CDC and stated, “Mr. President, I want you to know that the ALP and the CDC are not far from each other. The CDC, under George Manneh Weah, and we were among the founding members of the CDC. We worked with the CDC, we fought with the CDC, and we were persecuted for the CDC. They even burned down our radio station during former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s regime. Today, I am delighted to announce that I am supporting my younger brother.” The ALP’s political leader also disclosed that President Weah has come a long way outside of politics, and as such, the ALP’s endorsement of the CDC feels like coming back home. In his usual rhetorical style, Urey remarked, “Some people believe they are entitled to lead this country, but that’s not true. What matters is the will of the majority of the people in this country. Liberia belongs to Liberians.” Who’s the Devil? Urey had been a staunch ally of Amb. Joseph Boakai until Boakai picked Senator Jeremiah Koung of Prince Johnson’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDR) as his running mate. Boakai’s choice for running mate did not go down well with the Ureys and Costa as well as other figures that supported him. Earlier the authoritative Independent Probe Newspaper reported back in April 2023 that after announcing his decision to the rest of the team, Boakai was invited to Urey’s home in Careysburg, where he joined Costa and other members of both the UP and the ALP teams to reconsider the announcement of Sen. Koung as the vice standard bearer. But being bent on his decision which he saw as his surest way to win the election, Boakai stuck with his decision. Sources familiar with the discussion informed the media that Urey, who exhibited signs of disappointment, questioned Boakai about whether he was prepared to “dance with the devil” by dealing with Senators Prince Johnson and Edwin Snowe. Some say that these two senators are the excess baggage that comes with selecting Koung as they will exert their influence on him through Koung. To their dismay, according to the source, the UP standard bearer told them “If dancing with the devil” would make him win the elections, he was prepared to do so. Mr. Boakai was quoted as saying “Even the devil has a role to play. I don’t like Prince Johnson but I have to work with him to win.” Why Then Urey-JNB Collapsed the CPP? Urey to the running-mate feud, Urey had always expressed that the Amb. Boakai was most suited to lead Liberia as President. This has led him to vehemently criticize anyone that went against Boakai, even within the Collaborating Political Parties which was formed among his ALP, Liberty Party, Unity Party and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) headed by Alexander Cummings, with the intent of pulling resources together for the sole purpose of unseating Pres. Weah. However, just before the CPP could go for convention to elect a standard bearer, Urey accused Cummings of tampering with the CPP’s Framework Document to his advantage, an allegation Cummings constantly denied. Subsequently, the Weah administration through Cllr. Syrennius Cephas as Solicitor General at the time dragged Cummings to court for forgery. Top executives of the Unity Party, ALP and Amb. Boakai testified on behalf of the government against Cummings. The case was later dropped by the government. independentprobe.com

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