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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 30, 1998 - Samoa News)---The power of prayer has restored the health of former Prime Minister Tofilau Eti Alesana, said Congressman Eni Faleomavaega of the 74-year-old Samoan leader who stepped down from the post on Nov. 23 during a special session of Parliament.

"This is a re-affirmation of this man who has tremendous faith in God and yes, we can talk about his weakness, but we can't take away the fact of his faith and the prayers of the people that have restored his health," Congressman Faleomavaega -- a second cousin of Tofilau -- declared.

Paying tribute to Tofilau, Faleomavaega told Samoa News that Tofilau "is the only Prime Minister I know in the world that puts all his government responsibilities on the side for one day and dedicates that day to the Lord by doing his church work.

"Tofilau is a man of great faith in the Lord," said Faleomavaega. That might have been because Tofilau's parents were missionaries for the former London Missionary Society (now the Congregation Christian Church in American Samoa) who traveled to Papua New Guinea and other parts of the region.

Tofilau's brother, the late Elder Rev. Enoka Alesana, was the former Chairman of CCCAS and was the minister for CCCAS Pavaiai when he passed away this year.

"To me, that shows what kind of person he is," Faleomavaega said in an emotional tone. "There is time reserved for the Lord and there is time to serve the peoples' need, and he has never taken a lesser sense of his responsibility on spiritual things."

"This is a tremendous thing for the younger generation to learn about the importance of reserving one day for the Lord," Faleomavaega added.

Faleomavaega, however, regretted not being made aware of Tofilau's decision to step down. "I didn't know that Tofilau was going to resign from his post until I heard it on Radio 2AP. I feel bad not being there because I owe him a lot."

The Congressman was one of the many family members from American Samoa that was able to obtain the right to visit Tofilau upon his return from New Zealand.

Tofilau will remain in Parliament to represent the people of his district, Faasaleleaga #1. Additionally, he holds the new post of Senior Minister of Cabinet, a post he was appointed to by new Prime Minister Tuilaepa.


PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 30, 1998 - Samoa News)---Former Prime Minister Tofilau Eti Alesana leaves behind a legacy that started Samoa toward gaining its sovereignty and independence, declared Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin.

"Tofilau is the builder of Samoa's infrastructure," Faleomavaega told Samoa News when asked to comment on the 74-year-old former Prime Minister.

After 16 years in power, the leader of the Samoa Government's ruling party,

the Human Rights Protection Party, told a special session of Parliament on November 23rd that he was stepping down from his post due to health reasons.

Immediately after the radio broadcast from Apia with Tofilau resigning from office, Faleomavaega told Samoa News, "It's a sad occasion to see such a great leader having to resign from holding such a position of responsibility.

"Tofilau leaves a legacy of the generation that started the advance of Samoa gaining its sovereignty and independence," said the emotional Faleomavaega of second cousin Tofilau. "I'm sure the people of American Samoa wish him good health and tremendous opportunity to be with his family and grandchildren.

"Tofilau is a builder of Samoa's infrastructure. He was not worried about the next 100 years. If he sees something that needs to be done, he will do it," Faleomavaega noted.

Many examples of Tofilau's work on the country's infrastructure include: the new airport extension at the Fagalii Airport, Maota International Airport, a face lift of Apia, improved paved roads on both Upolu and Savaii, improvements in water and electric services.

A native of American Samoa, Tofilau was born on June 4, 1924 in Vaitogi, the son of a missionary who served in New Guinea. The family moved to then Western Samoa when Tofilau was six years old.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

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