There was wild jubilation in Liberia by supporters of George Weah as he was declared winner of Tuesday’s presidential runoff polls in the country.
Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome Korkoya, released the results at the commission’s headquarters in Monrovia on Thursday.
According to Korkoya, 100 per cent vote processing was recorded in 11 out of the 15 counties in the country.
In all, Weah swept 14 counties, leaving only one for Boakai.
The former FIFA World Footballer of the Year won in Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Kru, Maryland, Montserrado, Rivercess, River Gee and Sinoe counties.
The Vice President won in only Lofa county, with 78,140 votes representing 84.1 per cent as against Weah’s 14,789 votes or 15.9 per cent.
The announcement by the NEC chairman sparked wild jubilation by youths across the streets of the capital.
Weah, 51, will take over from outgoing President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, whose 12-year tenure ends in January.
This will be the first democratic transition of power since 1944 in a country devastated by decades of civil war.
Speaking after the announcement, Weah said: “The Liberian people clearly made their choice yesterday and all together we are very confident in the result of the electoral processes”
Hours after polls closed on Tuesday, Weah brimmed with confidence, telling his country people, “It is with deep emotion that I want to thank you, the Liberian people, for honouring me with your vote today. It is a great hope.”
Even on the eve of the election, the ex-footballer thumped his chest, telling whoever cared to listen that he was on the cusp of history.
“I am deeply grateful to my family, my friends, and my loyal supporters who contributed to our campaign during this extremely long election season,” he said hours before the run-off. “We are on the verge of making history for our people.”
Liberia, a country ravaged by war for years and which now suffers serious infrastructural deficit, is in dire need of a leader that can consolidate on the gains of outgoing leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is stepping down in January, analysts say.
Mr. Weah believes he fits that bill, making many promises in the run-up to his election – pledging to give his country the kind of leadership it needs.
“I will put all my strength, my energy, my sincerity and my influence at the service of the Liberian people,” he said on December 11, shortly after the New African Magazine named him among 100 Most Influential Africans of 2017.