Senator Ekweremadu congratulates George Weah, Liberians

Weah, the only African ever to have won both FIFA's World Player of the Year and the coveted Ballon D'Or, missed out on the presidency in a 2005 bid.

"Warm congratulations to George Oppong Weah on his decisive victory in Liberia's peaceful presidential run-off, thus becoming the next President of the Republic Liberia", Akufo-Addo wrote on via his official Facebook account.

Weah grew up in a Clara Town slum in Monrovia and went on to star for AC Milan, Paris St Germain and Chelsea.

Liberia, a nation founded by freed American slaves, is seeing its first democratic transfer of power in more than 70 years as Africa's first female president, Nobel Peace Prize victor Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, steps aside.

In a nationwide broadcast from his party's headquarters in Monrovia on Friday, Mr. Boakai who was flanked by his supporters and party leaders, said he had already called Mr. Weah to congratulate him.

With over 98% of votes counted, Weah won 61.5% of the ballots while his rival, Veep Joseph Boakai, only 38.5%.

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Earlier, Mr Boakai, a 72-year-old public servant of four decades standing, said it was too early to crow victory. "People are talking about Weah, but it's only in his counties but not mine", he said. "Although we worked so assiduously for a different outcome than what the results show, my faith, values and principles dictate that I respect the will of our people as announced by the NEC". While the 2017 election will give way to a historic democratic transition not seen in several decades, it is also the first time in many years in the country for a loser in a presidential election to consciously accept results and concede defeat to the victor.

Ms Sirleaf's predecessor Charles Taylor fled the country in 2003, hoping to avoid prosecution for funding rebel groups in neighbouring Sierra Leone. She led the country from back-to-back civil wars and saw it through a deadly Ebola outbreak that killed almost 5,000 Liberians.

Two presidents who served prior to Taylor were assassinated. "Let us continue to work even harder to promote reconciliation and integrity in government", he said, adding: "All of you are the Liberian heroes".

The United Nations and the Economic Community of West African States hailed the peaceful polls. "Many of you traversed this country to let our people sell our agenda to fix our roads, produce food to feed ourselves, heal wounds inflicted over the years, unite us and develop our country".

"Since years of civil war this is the first time we see the transition of power from one person to another", voter Oscar Sorbah told AFP. "It is a bad thing that Weah was elected". He was similarly frustrated when he ran for vice-president in 2011.


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