(Pennsylvania, USA. September 12, 2017) The Liberian Association of Pennsylvania (LAP) on Saturday, September 9, 2017 elected several prominent Liberians as officials to stair the affairs of its Association for the next two years. The State of Pennsylvania has the second largest Liberian community across the United State with a population of over 25,000.
Established in 1978, LAP is a registered 501C organization aiming at protecting, uniting and advocating for the rights of Liberians across Pennsylvania. Saturday’s election witnessed Mr. Christopher Selekpoh being elected as President alongside other officials. Mr. Selekpoh-a second term official has served the Association in various capacities ranging Secretary General to Vice President spanning a period of over six years. He’s also one of the longest serving officials of the organization.
Others elected include Gbolo Howard, Vice President, Peeco Conway, Secretary General, Stephen Binda, Assistant Secretary General and Lucy Grear, Treasure among others. Several individuals were also elected as Board members. They include, Anna Barlee, Josephine Kwaidah, Emmanuel Gartei, Isidort Ahossouhe, Murphy Gibson and others.
Saturday’s election followed weeks of contestation and heated debates amongst contesting parties which later witnessed the dissolution of election commissioners accused of violating election guidelines. In a release issued, the Association president Christopher Selekpoh said he was over whelmed with the decision made by hundreds of Liberians on Saturday who turned out to vote; described them as true Liberians. “The action demonstrated by hundreds of Liberians who turned out on Saturday to cast their ballot, show how dear they love their country, and want to see the Association advance in the state of Pennsylvania,” he said.
Commending voters, he vowed to continue seeking the utmost interest of Liberians across the State, as well as ensure sustained unity amongst its membership. Speaking of programs, the LAP president mentioned that in the coming months, his team will lobby to ensure the securing of a multi-purpose recreational center for Liberians across Pennsylvania.
He added that currently his leadership has secured all necessary documentations including warranted deeds for its national headquarters in Philadelphia- a property which contains offices for elected officials and serve as a hub for hundreds of Liberians across the State of Pennsylvania. He further mentioned that his leadership intends to advance it’s the advocacy at all fronts some of which include US national leaders aiming for hundreds of Liberians in status limbo. “TPS is one of those areas we intend to tickle and robustly engage our US authorities towards,” he averred.”
Outlining the continuous meaningful contributions Liberians continue to proffer towards the socio, political and economic growth of the United States economy, the LAP president said there was a need for those under such program to be giving permanent resident status. He praised Liberians who continue to abide by US laws and described them as good and productive immigrates. Mr. Selekpoh also commended opposing parties vowing to reach out to them following weeks of political contest.
“Election has a way of dividing and shaping opinions at times, and can sometimes leads to personal emotions, hurt and pains,” he said. “Nevertheless, we cannot allow this to happen in LAP. We are confident and can assure our people that this election has further united us than ever before in LAP history. We must not lose sight that LAP is bigger than each and every one of us.” Mr. Selekpoh defeated Mr. Jonathan Williams- a board member; and called on all Liberians across the state of Pennsylvania to join the leadership in moving the organization forward. Selekpoh: “We cannot do it on our own we need your support.”
At the same, the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), has commended Mr. Selekpoh and his team on their election as officials of LAP. ULAA’s National President Wilmot Kunney said the election of LAP new officials demonstrate the leadership confidence reposed in them by Liberians in Pennsylvania. In a communication sent to LAP president, Mr. Kunney thanked Mr. Selekpoh for his leadership ability exhibited over the years, and expressed ULAA’s commitment to working with LAP leadership in advancing and seeking the interest of Liberians in the diaspora.
The two sisterly organizations established over decade ago, has a total membership of over nearly 500,000 Liberians across America some of whom include women and children. The release also quotes the Association leadership as saying it has also received commendations notes from the Liberian government headed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as well as Pennsylvania state authorities on its election. Meanwhile, the Liberian Association of Pennsylvania has announced that it would shortly host its inauguration ceremony soon in which local and international governmental officials would attend. Those expected to attend include Liberia’s Ambassador to the United States, Pennsylvania State Senator, and Governor among others.