By Arolyn I. Koroma
The APC party embraces the most critical period in the life of the party. This gives The Bai Bureh Times and The Wusum Times the opportunity to reflect upon the fine leadership of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma during his tenure in office. The mood is somber in many Flag-Bearer aspirants’ quarters. They quietly watch the tempo of political activities which is developing towards October 14 thru 16, 2017 Convention day. This is the big day for the party’s selection of President Ernest Koroma’s, successor. This is a spot that is hard to fill as president Koroma has set the pace for others to follow. As such, whoever wants to take his sit must meet certain criteria.
President Koroma’s quandary at the moment is not about whom he didn’t support among the many aspirants, but could the establishment’s selection ensure continuity, combined with the capability to carry the badge of national development, which President Koroma envisioned? Above and beyond, this is the overarching qualification.
As in the beginning of his administration in 2007, when he was confronted with monumental challengers, so is the end of his journey of a two consecutive successful terms in the Sierra Leone State House.
The APC has had a good run, competing with none other, but it, because there was no yardstick from which to base comparism. President Koroma brilliantly choreographed his managerial style; he followed it and achieved the most advancement ever realized since independent in 1961. As the Ernest Koroma administration came to the end of the finish line of a successful ten year rule with the cleanest record ever attained in steering the Sierra Leone State house. The arduous task of selecting a successor of the outgoing president is a monumental task, but with his knowledge of his former government appointees, the challenges will slowly, but surely come to pass with prevailed peace in the APC Party establishment.
Skeptics and critics at one time or another think the APC will not be able to face the challenges, because the newly elected president took over a massive collapsed economy, of which there was a government run on the Sierra Leone Treasury. Tithe treasury was looted by the outgoing Sierra Leone People’s Party Administration. The state of the nation was in such a financial chock hold that the new President Koroma’s administration had to request assistance for vehicles from the friendly Senegalese president, Abdulaye Wade for the S. L President’s inauguration.
The outgoing Sierra Leone People’s.Party. administration officials took most of the government vehicles to the provinces. The government vehicles that ran out of gas on the way were abandoned in street corners of Freetown, and those in better conditions made it to government official’s homes.
President Ernest Bai Koroma has a narrative in Sierra Leone politics that is worth celebrating in grand style. His story will not be celebrated today, but in decades and centuries to come.
He is a leader who exemplified the highest ideals and standards of public service as a career servant, who serve his people. He is modest, painstaking through and devoted to his assigned tasks. His reputation for ability and fairness extends far beyond the boarders of his community as Sierra Leoneans witnessed in his leadership style. He converted a tribally polarized Party and an ethnically polarized country to a tribally inclusive nation.
In his watch the APC Party grew progression ally. He claims that badge of success under his political savvy. Today the alleged northern hegemony of the APC party is about 70/30% north and southern membership.
The APC Party has the highest number of Flag Bearer aspirants to ever contest for the presidency of Sierra Leone. Of course, the urge to declare is nothing, but to be critically vetted and safely pass the creditably test exercise. As it stands so far, the aspirants are as follows: Dr. Victor Bockarie Foh, Minkailu Mansaray, Dr. Osman Foday Yansaneh, Dr. Alpha S. Kane, Dr. Zainab H. Bangura, Dr. Samura Kamara, Dr. Kerifala Marah, Joseph F. Kamara, (Attorney), Lawyer Abu Bakarr Kalokoh, John Bonor Sesay, Ibrahim Kemor Sesay, Alimamy P. Koroma, Palor Conteh (Fmr.Major ), Alhaji osman Boye Kamara,Ibrahim Bundu, Mamoud Tarawalie, Alpha Conteh, Ansumana Kamara, Marie Yansaneh, Victoria Saidu, and Mohamed C. Koroma. (This list is not absolute, it is subject to change).
These are the potential trailblazers in the field of leaders of the next generation. The fact of the matter is any of the above names believed they can ably rule, but can they pass the creditability test? But above all, could the winner fit the outgoing president Ernest B. Koroma’s shoe?
Indeed, a huge credit must be given to the out-going leader who mentored many of the aspirants in his administration. The current political dispensation is one that needs a flag-bearer whose record of service to the country equals his devotion to the nation. He or she must posse’s unique qualities, including patient, experience, integrity, fine personality and of course, the ability to see political wrong doing in any shape or form, and not only call its name, but address it in a fair and just manner.
The flag bearer to be selected among this long list of qualified Sierra Leoneans vying for the presidency position must serve well, if elected and bring credit to his admirers and in the end bring satisfaction the nation.
The last decades before and post war Sierra Leone was miserable political eras in contrast to present day Sierra Leone. It is hard to concoct a positive reminiscence of the past in national development. The current generation is impatient and eager to see national development in a heart-bit. Can the successful flag bearer carry that badge of progressional national development, which will ensure a continuity to uphold President Ernest Bai Koroma’s legacy?
Arolyn I.Koroma, Editor-in-Chief. The Bai Bureh Times.