The grand old True Whig Party (TWP) of Liberia recently joined the William R. Tolbert family, the Baptist World Alliance, the Liberian Baptist Theological Seminary and the Liberian public in celebrating the centennial birth anniversary of the late President, Dr. William Richard Tolbert.
The event also marked the 33rd death anniversary of this eminent Liberian statesman who ruled the country from 1971 to April 12, 1980 when he was overthrown in coup d’état staged by 17 enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) led by Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe.
President Tolbert was the 20th President of the Republic of Liberia and was also the last President to be elected on the TWP ticket.
The grand old TWP however dominated Liberian politics for over century and half years. Leadership of the party instituted what most Liberians considered as a one party system in the country.
The Party produced about 15 of the country’s 24 presidents, with President William V.S. Tubman, who Dr. Tolbert was Vice President to for 19 years, as the most ‘popular son’ of the party.
TWP general secretary, Othello R. Mason in an exclusive interview at the offices of this paper over the weekend on behalf of the party, said that the late Liberian leader was a “farsighted, illustrious, developmental-oriented and a man of destiny.”
“Our late leader was a man of destiny; he was elected to the House of Representatives for his county and later served as Vice President under President Tubman for 19 years, while serving as President of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Education Convention, and President of the Baptist World Alliance where he won the respect and admiration of his colleagues, and attracted the attention of world leaders,” Mr. Mason recalled.
The TWP stalwart further noted that at a very critical time in the history of the state, President Tolbert was called upon to assume the leadership of the country to complete the unexpired tenure of his boss (Tubman) who died at a clinic in London.
The party’s SG said: “at the incipiency of his first and only term, President Tolbert set at home new priorities for nation development. Little did we know that by the close of the first quadrennial, the world itself would have come to insist upon widespread accelerated progress for all mankind.”
“At the time, President Tolbert called for his people into a re-awakening of confidence in themselves, of pride in their own resources, and for dynamic responsibility for distinctive accomplishments. He believed then, as we have come to see, that the structural content of the world economy would frustrate our legitimate aspirations if we do not watchfully reassess, redirect, and protect the total resources of our land,” SG Mason added.
Meanwhile, the official anniversary celebration of memorializing Dr. Tolbert’s was organized by a steering committee comprising the Tolbert family, the Liberian Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (LBMEC), the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), the Liberian Baptist Theological Seminary (LBTS) and friends of the deceased Liberian leader.
The centennial birth anniversary was celebrated under the theme: “Glorifying God While Celebrating the Legacy of President William R. Tolbert, Jr.