PROFILE OF THE WEEK: Who Is Johnson N. Gwaikolo – Nimba County Lawmaker
This week GNN-Liberia profile segment has entered the Capitol Building, the official office of the Liberian lawmakers (Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives), particularly highlighting one of Nimba County District #9 Representative – Honorable Johnson N. Gwaikolo, House’s Committee Chairman on Rules, Order and Administration.
Honorable Johnson N. Gwaikolo is a seasoned Administrator with vast experience in both the private and public sectors. He has the ability to develop, understand, interpret and apply public policies for efficient and effective communication at all levels with his professional colleagues, with the ability to work under pressure, with strong time management and organizational skills.
Private Sector Experience
Prior to his election as Representative for District 9, Nimba County, Hon. Gwaikolo served in various capacities in the Non-Government sector. He worked with the United Methodist University, rising from Vice President for Business and Finance to President. As the Fourth President, he was the Chief Executive Officer for the University and had the overall responsibility for the university. He provided leadership and surveillance for all aspects of the University, including academics, finance, planning, student affairs, enrollment, advancement, athletics, and other key areas. Hon. Gwaikolo worked closely with the Board of Directors to ensure that the strategic direction and policies of the university are aligned with its mission.
Under his leadership, the United Methodist established the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to govern research activities at the University.
General Government Experience
In the public sector, Honorable Gwaikolo served in several government responsibilities, ranging from Executive Director for National Investment Commission to Deputy Minister for Administration at several ministries, respectively as follows: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (twice under different presidents), Ministry of Labor, and Ministry of Public Works. He supervised the division of finance, Human Resource, Security, General Services, and other related divisions; he also insures that other programs of these ministries were succussfully implemented. Honorable Gwaikolo supervised the preparation of annual reports and annual budgets.
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Honorable Gwaikolo worked with UNDP to establish the Development Diplomacy Program by which Liberian Foreign Service Officers were assigned at Liberian Diplomatic Missions to specifically pursue development initiatives.
In addition, Honorable Gwaikolo served as Deputy Minister for Revenues at the Ministry of Finance during which he directly supervised and directed the generation and collection of revenues for the government. He insured compliance of the business community with relevant provisions for the revenue and finance laws.
He designed ways by which to make compliance easy and reactivated revenue collectorates outside of Monrovia, e.g. Buchanan, Tubmanburg, after the civil war. As a Deputy Minister, he participated in ECOWAS conferences regarding regional trade cooperation and tariff harmonization among ECOWAS countries.
Ahead of joining the Executive Branch of Government, Honorable Gwaikolo was member of the Interim Legislative Assembly which later transitioned into the Transitional Legislative Assembly.
Honorable Johnson Gwaikolo served as Presiding Officer of the Legislative Assembly at which time he provided Administrative direction to the Body until a Speaker was designated by the appropriate Party.
Under his leadership, the structure of the Legislature was organized to reflect the unicameral nature of the Legislature.
While at the Legislature, Honorable Gwaikolo also diligently served as Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, providing oversight responsibilities for agencies implementing the foreign policy of Liberia.
He headed the delegations that represented Liberia at several Inter-Parliamentary Union Conferences in Chile, Cameroon, Denmark, Sweden, France, India, and Italy. Honorable Gwaikolo also served as chairman, Ways Means and Finance with oversight for government’s fiscal agents.
As Chair, he directed and supervised approval of the National Budget as well as mobilzed resources for the workof the National Legislature.
Honorable Gwaikolo again joined the Liberian Legislature after the October 2017 General Elections when he was elected representative, District 9, Nimba County. He is the Chairman, Committee on Education and Public Administration, and Co-Chair, Committee on Public Works.
Honorable Johnson N. Gwaikolo obtained his candidacy for EdD in Inter-disciplinary Leadership (Creighton University), MA in Leadership Studies (Augsburg College), and BA in Accounting (Augsburg College).
He has written two unpublished papers: Transformational Leadership in Africa, the Case of Ghana; and Improving Higher Education in Liberia, the Role os Student Engagement.
Representative Johnson N. Gwaikolo is married with four children.