With Ekena Nyankun Juahgbe-Droh Wesley
Ahead of a firebrand, no-nonsense social cum political commentator Henry Pedro Costa’s much-publicized Monday, July 10 press conference, soothsayers were already out and about predicting the letter and spirit of a news conference that had not taken place. Ever since Costa’s controversial podcast widely dubbed: “Man can’t talk all…” – the man who became continentally acclaimed as one of Africa’s most Disruptive political elements about two years ago – seemed to have fallen out of grace with supporters and allies alike.
Henry ‘Pedro Costa, a man by nature who is an embodiment of a political animal, is acutely aware that in a tempestuous political arena – he who doesn’t like heat must stay out of the kitchen. Lest we forget, when Costa made his maiden showing as a youthful, and energetic political social cum political commentator who vociferously attacked the establishment on diverse national issues, he won the admiration of all and sundry – particularly unemployed youths across the country. His following surged unimaginably and disproportionately.
His voice counted so immensely to the effect that supporters started to petition him to run for the House of Legislature. A pitch aimed at litmus testing the electorates’ commitment to stand with him was consumed by deceit. He lost to a better candidate in the wisdom of the voters.
Whether we like him or hate him, Henry Costa became a necessary epitome of Liberia’s democratic development process as it were. His vociferousness and unrelenting outspokenly critical voice reverberated and echoed the aggressive pursuit of a struggle started by Gabriel Baccus Matthews, Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh, Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, journalist Tom Kamara et al who propelled towering voices towards the advancement of social justice in the small West African nation.
Throughout Henry Costa’s firebrand advocacy, his various podcasts have irrefutably spared Benoni Urey, the political leader of the All Liberian Party (ALP) – who became an ally to former Vice President, Joseph Nyuma Baokai of the Unity Party (UP). Perhaps Urey is sinless if you may, although his critics continue to align Urey with former warlord-turned-civilian President, Charles Taylor. Costa’s critical voice did not take kindly to all manner of politicians within the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s administration let alone football President, George Weah.
During the frosty 2017 campaign that brought George Weah and his governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) to power, Henry Costa was indiscriminately on a wild goose chase with all the main contenders during those polls including former Vice president, Ambassador Joe Baokai – whom he condescendingly described as “a dead man walking…” Pundits might argue that it was a political season amid the mudslinging that became widespread as it were. There’s always life after politics though.
Little did we know that a frustrated Joe Baokai – who graciously yet reluctantly accepted the results of the 2017 polls even though his UP had backed the Liberty Party in its legal challenge to the outcome of the elections – would enter into a newfound marriage with his once unrepentant critic – Henry Costa. The politically unsuspecting fragile marriage essentially was borne out of two critical antecedents.
Firstly, the new administration of Weah’s infamous orgy of looting and abuse of public office that gave rise to the birth of a quasi-collaboration under the banner – of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP); and secondly, the unprecedented shakeup of the Weah-led government as a result of a well-organized, highly mobilized and effectively coordinated June ‘7’ protest that nearly brought down the CDC government. The pretty grotesque climax of the basis of the June ‘7’ protest ostensibly defeated the essence of a massively organized social unrest intended to bring the government to its heels.
As predicted by political observers, the CPP collapsed due to in-fighting linked to lack of patriotism, the zest for entitlement and political chicanery. Not even the gains from the 2020 senatorial elections managed to convince the leaders of the CPP that it would only take a united force to crush Weah in 2023.
Beyond June ‘7’ coupled with the trappings of a disintegrated CPP, Henry Costa emerged the foremost propagandist for the Baokai’s faction of the crumbled CPP. On the lips of Costa, he passionately pontificated what he called the ‘doctrine of Joe Baokai…’ Costa variously dropped loads of niceties as to the character, competence and statesmanlike persona of Joseph Nyuma Baokai.
Costa even became the face of Baokai to the extent that UP’s national leaders were found wanting for all the inquisitive reasons if you may. Costa had unhindered access to Joe Baokai and he apparently won the somewhat ambivalent trust of the former Vice President. In the midst of Costa’s propagandistic newfound role, he became the ‘darling boy’ of his supporters and hardlined elements linked to Joe Baokai.
Costa must have been aware that the inner circle of Ambassador Joe Baokai, especially hardliners within the Unity Party who believe he had stolen the show, were after his head. Was he mindful of a likely plot to undo him? What must have been his counter revolutionary move? Like in the race of the ‘rabbit and tortoise’ – hardliners within the UP simply knew what manner of chess game they were up to and they set it in motion. A poor unsuspecting Costa met his Waterloo.
Consumed by rage, frustration, disappointment and disenchantment over the choice of Jeremiah Koung unlike him given private commitment supposedly made by Joe Baokai – immaturity and inexperience seemingly ignited emotions amid ‘Boom’ – culminating in “Man can’t talk all” brouhaha. Whatever the emerging craze and discontentment that occasioned Henry Costa – in a political marketplace – beginners must learn to steadily learn by the ropes. The Baokai train is already fast-moving on its track despite the dismal dashing of short-lived allies. Did Joe Baokai treat his ‘most dependable ally fairly? Baokai has offered an olive branch to his ‘son’ – thus the ball is in Costa’s court to respond in good faith.
For those demonizing Henry Costa, you simply lack scruples and are just spineless on this one. Weren’t you the same ones who shouted “Hosanna, Hosanna” yesterday? Stop the sheepish call to ‘crucify him.’ Imperatively, Henry Costa ought to take a back seat to re-calibrate his political future. He must simply stay off limits in the wake of 2023 general and presidential elections. There is a time and season for everything under the sun, Henry Costa!