Liberian leader and football legend George Weah conceded defeat to opposition leader Joseph Boakai after a tight presidential run-off, saying it was “time to put national interest above personal interest”.
The latest and nearly complete results showed Boakai leading with nearly 51 percent of the votes in Liberia, Africa’s oldest republic founded by freed American slaves.
“The results announced tonight, though not final, indicate that… Boakai is in a lead that we cannot surpass,” Weah said in a speech on national radio late on Friday.
He said his CDC party “has lost the election but Liberia has won,” adding: “This is the time for graciousness in defeat”.
The 78-year-old Boakai lost to Weah, 57, by a large margin in the second-round presidential vote in 2017.
With more than 99.5 percent of the polling stations reporting vote tallies after Tuesday’s second-round vote, Boakai had garnered 50.89 percent of ballots cast, according to the election commission.
Boakai was 28,000 votes ahead of Weah, according to Friday’s figures. The two finished neck-and-neck in the first round last month, with a national lead of just 7,126 votes for Weah.
The election of Weah — the first African footballer to win both FIFA’s World Player of the Year trophy and the Ballon d’Or — had sparked high hopes of change in Liberia, which is still reeling from back-to-back civil wars and the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic.
But critics have accused his government of corruption and him of failing to keep a promise to improve the lives of the poorest.
The United States congratulated “president-elect Boakai on his victory and President Weah for his peaceful acceptance of the results”.
“We call on all citizens to follow President Weah’s example and accept the results,” US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.
‘Liberian people have spoken’
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.
“Let us heal the divisions caused by the campaign and come together as one nation and one united people.”
Weah who remains president until the handover of power in January pledged to “continue to work for the good of Liberia”.
It will be the second peaceful handover of power from one democratically-elected government from another in two decades.
The elections were the first since the United Nations in 2018 ended its peacekeeping mission, created after more than 250,000 people died in the two civil wars in Liberia between 1989 and 2003.
International observers, including the European Union, have commended Liberia for holding a peaceful election.
Regional bloc ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States, said the poll was “largely” peaceful, but noted isolated incidents that led to “injuries and hospitalisations” in four provinces.
Clashes during the campaign left several dead before the first round and raised fears of post-election violence.
Around 2.4 million Liberians were eligible to vote on Tuesday and the turnout was roughly 66 percent, according to the electoral commission website.
Boakai is an old political hand, having served as vice president to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female head of state, from 2006 to 2018.
Liberia is home to around five million people and one of the poorest countries in the world.
More than a fifth of the population lives on less than $2.15 a day, according to the World Bank.
Mohbad: Naira Marley, Sam Larry Released From Police Custody
Police in Lagos State released musician and label owner, Azeez Fashola, (Naira Marley) and Samson Balogun (Sam Larry) from custody on Friday after meeting their bail conditions.
The duo had been in police custody over October’s mysterious death of rapper, musician and song writer, Ilerioluwa Aloba (Mohbad).
Police spokesman in Lagos State, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed their release in a statement he issued on Friday at Ikeja.
Naira Marley, Sam Larry and two others were arraigned before a Yaba Magistrate’s Court on Oct. 6, over their alleged involvement in the death of Mohbad and were remanded in police custody.
The court granted them bail on Nov. 6 in the sum of N20 million with three responsible sureties in like sum.
The magistrate, Adeola Olatunbosun, ruled that the defendants should submit their passports and report weekly to the State’s Criminal Investigation Department at Panti, Yaba.
“Naira Marley and Sammy Larry, having met their bail conditions, have been released from custody,’’ Hundeyin stated.
Born in Lagos on Jan. 3, 1996, Mohbad died in mysterious circumstances on Sept. 12, 2023 and was buried the following day.
His death sparked nationwide protests making the Lagos State government to order the exhumation of the body for a coroner’s inquest.
Mohbad was said to have attended a concert at Ikorodu, Lagos State on Sept.10 where he sustained injuries in a fracas.
Among those the police questioned over his death were the late singer’s father, mother, sisters, brother, friends, wife and manager.
The police also invited a childhood friend of Mohbad, Ibrahim Owodunni (Primeboy) for questioning.
Police detained Naira Marley and Sam Larry over their alleged roles in the singer’s death as they were reported to have been bullying the rapper.
Mohbad was formerly signed to Naira Marley’s Marlian Records, but left the label in 2022.
Addressing a news conference in Ikeja on Oct. 5 on preliminary findings on Mohbad’s death, Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Mr Idowu Owohunwa, named an auxiliary nurse, Feyisayo Ogedengbe, as the prime suspect.
Ogedengbe was reported to have injected the deceased thrice in his home on Sept. 12 before he started vomiting and developing goose bumps.
Owohunwa said 26 persons had been interviewed concerning Mohbad’s death.
According to Owohunwa, Mohbad was taken to the hospital lifeless and was declared dead on Sept. 12 by the attending physicians.
He said the auxiliary nurse was called to inject the singer at his home by Mohbad’s friend, Ayobami Isiaka, aka “Spending’’.
Ogedengbe gave the singer three injections that were believed to have resulted in a series of events that led to his death, the police commissioner said.
He said that Primeboy and Mohbad went to the concert together on Sept. 10 and they engaged in violent altercation after the show.
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Apprentice Dies After Allegedly Beaten By Boss In Delta
An apprentice identified as Onome has died after allegedly being beaten by his boss simply identified as Orunor in Sapele, Delta State.
Punch reports that the incident occurred at the Delta carpenter’s workshop located along New Ogorode Road, Sapele few days ago. Aside from disciplining his apprentice over “lateness to work,” Orunor had also accused Onome of stealing his Automated Teller Machine card.
It was reportedly resolved that the boy should be disciplined decisively through beating.
However, the alleged beating took a new twist for the apprentice who, on reaching home, was said to have complained of pains all over his body, to his parents. He reportedly told his parents about the beating he got but after they took him to the hospital for treatment, he died before he could be attended to.
When Orunor, master to the apprentice, was intimated of the demise of the boy, he allegedly went into hiding.
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President Tinubu Cancels 40% IGR Deduction From Universities
President Bola Tinubu has announced the immediate cancellation of the automatic deduction of 40% from the internally generated revenues (IGR) of federal universities, citing the ill-timed nature of the policy.
Mr Tinubu spoke on Friday at an ongoing 75th Founder’s Day ceremony of the University of Ibadan (UI). He was represented by the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman.
In his speech as the Visitor to the university, Mr Tinubu pledged his commitment to the reform of the nation’s education sector as the bedrock for national development.
“The 40 per cent IGR automatic deduction policy stands cancelled. This is not the best time for such policy since our universities are struggling.” Tinubu said.
The policy was originally to commence in November. Universities will have 40 percent of revenues generated internally and deposited in their accounts will be deducted automatically by the government via the Treasury Single Accounts (TSA).
Dated 17 October with reference R&I/2045/T/252, and signed by the Director of Revenue and Investment Department, Felix Ogundairo, the letter noted that the decision which affects all partially funded government agencies and parastatals including universities is in line with the provisions of Section 62 of Finance Act 2020.
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