GANTA, Nimba – Amid calls to divide Nimba into two counties, Nimba’s Sen. Prince Johnson is emphasizing the need for a united Nimba.
Over the past few weeks, there have been many debates on Facebook and on the airways of community radio stations over proposals to divide Nimba along ethnic lines.
The debates began immediately after the presidential runoff election was held, with Montserrado Senator George M. Weah emerging as winner. Weah won Nimba, after Nimba’s Senator Prince Johnson endorsed and campaigned heavily for him.
Because of the proximity of the calls to the end of the elections that saw Johnson wield a significant influence, it is likely that the individuals calling for the county to be split are resentful of Johnson’s influence.
Advocates of the split have said it would give others the opportunity to make political decisions in the region. They have also rationalized that if the county were divided, it would allow other parts to be better developed and less marginalized, including Gbi and Doru in Lower Nimba.
Other arguments have been that the division of Nimba into two counties would produce four senators and two superintendents, thereby creating more jobs for citizens and additional budgetary allotments from the government.
Supporters of the split say they plan to forward their request to the 54th National Legislature.
Johnson, who has often made divisive statements and has been accused of tribalism in the past, has said that supporters of the call to divide the county are doing so out of “jealousy, malice, and hatred.”
He said all the tribes of Nimba are important for the unity of the county.
“We are inseparable; we are all one,” he said, adding that no one should dignify any groups or individuals calling for a split of the county. “They are just few people.”
Johnson said past divisions of counties have proven to be “useless,” including the creation of River Cess from Grand Bassa, Gbarpolu from Lofa, and River Gee from Grand Gedeh.
“Nimba is united; the unity of the Nimba people is our great strength,” he added. “We were united in conflicts; we stood together and won the victory… Today we are alive; today we are great… Nimba will never be divided. The dream and vision of Nimba will remain.”
Featured photo by Arrington Ballah