My Man For Public Works

By Atty. Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)

There is no argument that the Constitution of Liberia, which is the organic law of the land, gives the President of the Republic powers to make nominations of some positions in government and subsequently make appointments following confirmation by the Liberian Senate; notwithstanding, the media in its desire to contribute toward this, always speculate whenever there is a vacancy in the government for possible replacement.

It is now an open secret that the Minister of Public Works, ‘workaholic Samuel Kofi Woods’, has tendered in his resignation, thus creating a vacancy within the cabinet to be filled soon by the President. After seven years in government, Minister Woods is expected to return to the private life to continue his advocacy role, which he was involved in before joining government. He served as the first Director of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), the brainchild of the late Archbishop Michael Kpakala Francis, who was buried last Saturday in Monrovia following a befitting and well-attended funeral at the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Broad Street.

Obviously, with this resignation, one should expect the media and others to speculate as to the possible replacement of Minster Woods who has left an indelible mark at the Ministry based on his achievements in few years. Already, the FRONTPAGE newspaper last Thursday began speculating as to the possible replacement of Mr. Woods.

In its headline on the story captioned:”WHO WILL REPLACE WOODS?”, the paper named several persons, including former City Mayor, Mary Broh, former Public Minister Willis Knuckles, former Deputy Public Works Minster Johnson Gwaikolo, former Labor Minister Christine Herbert and Ellen Pratt, who previously worked with the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC). Additionally, the paper named Stephen Yekeson and Victor Smith, who are currently deputy ministers at the ministry. In its analysis, the paper gave the strength and weaknesses of those it named for the post.

As the newspaper rightly said, Minister Woods’ administration saw the completion of many projects and that other projects are presently under construction. Therefore, the ministry will need someone with such commitment, dedication, and devotion and hard work like the outgoing minister for the realization of the many ongoing projects and others to come, such as the Caldwell Bridge, which signing ceremony took place recently in the area.

As the President wears her thinking cap in making this nomination, I know that she is aware that such a post needs someone who knows about team work, with good administrative and interpersonal communication skills. In short, such a post needs a goal getter.

Indeed, considering the many ongoing projects and the kind of person it will take to carry on this task, I join this discussion by suggesting Mr. Daniel Johnson, the Superintendent of River-Gee and former Chairman of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC). Comparatively, like Minister Woods, Mr. Johnson believes in getting the job done instead of engaging in unnecessary showiness. With the numerous ongoing projects by the ministry, it takes a man like Daniel Johnson, affectionately known as “D.J” by his admirers for his hard work and administrative skill in pulling resources and motivating people to get the job done.

Over the years, wherever he had found himself to serve, he lived up to expectation. His skills in dealing with people and encouraging them to achieve an intended goal and objective, has won him respect. Even in difficult situations, he had been able to move people to work. Regarding the Ministry of Public Works, which is involved in many field works, it needs a workaholic like Johnson to carry on this herculean task.

As a person who does not compromise when it comes to getting the job done, he is the right person at this time to make sure that contractors perform without delay and in keeping with the specifications of the projects. Besides, given his good human relation, which is an important administrative ingredient, Mr. Johnson, during the time of the cessation of hostilities in Liberia among the former warring factions, mobilized many young people as volunteers who helped to clean the streets of Monrovia. His unmarked performance led him to ascending to the Monrovia City Corporation, where he worked during the transitional period.

In closing, I say; Madam President, this is the right man now for the job. You need a man like this for the realization of your dream as it relates to the Minister of Public Words. You need a person like this who will complement your efforts and not retard or frustrate them, thus bringing about failure in that sector. We are crossing the Rubicon, no turning back. As a Ghanaian former leader once said, “forward ever, backward never.”

 I say, Daniel Johnson fits in former Minister Woods’ shoes.