STORY BY KABS KANU :
THE PRESIDENT SPEAKING AT THE PROGRAM
President Ernest Bai Koroma today declared that the ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) is the common man’s party and the doors of the party are open to all and sundry who want to come in to help him move Sierra Leone forward . The President was addressing a mammoth crowd that congregated to the party headquarters at Brookfields , Freetown, this afternoon to grace the occasion where the former opposition Presidential aspirant , Alhaji Wusu Boie Kamara and many other SLPP defectees officially joined the APC family.
PRESIDENT KOROMA ADDRESSING THE CROWD
In another momentuous speech interrupted many times by rapturous cheers from the massive throng, President Koroma even had time to ridicule the pettiness of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) and its presidential candidate, Julius Maada Bio.
The President described the day as a very big one not only for the party but for the government and the nation. Telling the crowd that he was addressing them this time as the leader of the APC , he officially welcomed “my brother ” Alhaji Wusu Boie Kamara and all the people he has brought to the party, including the Imam and President of the Muslim Jamaat, Alhaji Y.D. Kamara, muslims , the women and the young people .He also welcomed the other former SLPP Presidential hopefuls U.S. Major Ishmael Sengu Koroma and Khadi Johnson-Cole who have also declared for the APC. President Koroma said that “They have joined us because they all know that the APC is on the right path to develop the country. ”
PRESIDENT KOROMA WAVING WUSU BOIE’S MEMBERSHIP CARD TO THE CROWD
Excited about the event, President Koroma described the APC as the party of the people. “It is the ordinary man’s party that practices no tribalism or discrimination. Everybody is welcome and given the opportunity to contribute to the development of the country. The APC does not discriminate against anyone and is open to all”, he pointed out . He concluded that it is for the reasons he has given that the APC is called the ALL ( His emphasis ) People’s Congress , not the Congress of Bookmen, for instance.
He stated that Alhaji Boie and others have joined the party because they know it is the right party to develop the country. He also acknowledged all the members of the SLPP and the party’s executive members who have sent copies of their resignation letters from the SLPP and their requests for memberships to the APC party . He promised that “we will do what it takes to give everybody the opportunity to participate.”
President Koroma , in a sarcastic but serioius mood, lashed the SLPP for announcing that Wusu Boie had been sacked by the party , though in fact everybody knew that he had quit the SLPP and declared his intentions to join the APC long ago . He also said that the SLPP villified Mr. Boie Kamara that he is an ordinary and irrelevant man . But the APC , he went on, wants Usman Boie because the party’s doors are open to ordinary people. He however quickly asserted that Wusu Boie is not an ordinary man .” We know he is not an ordinary man and we also know that he was not driven from the SLPP. He decided to leave and we welcome him with open hands to our party ” .
President Koroma stressed the fact that the APC party belongs to everybody. He made it very clear that ”Nobody owns it more than the others. ” He said that as we go into elections, he wants everybody to work together to bring success to the party.
President Koroma said that “all these people would not have joined the APC “ if his government had reduced the scanty amount of megawatts of electricity he met instead of increasing it ; had not developed the bad roads he met ; if our women and children had been left to continue dying and if investors had been running away from the country. On the contrary, people are joining the party in droves because the government has achieved a lot and has provided more electricity, constructed first class roads and halved the maternal and infant mortality rates, among many other achievements . President Koroma said only this month Sierra Leone received the Harvard 2012 Health Leader Award as one of the countries where its people’s health is improving faster than other countries . President Koroma also spoke glowingly about the hard work his government has put in to revive and complete contracts and development projects that the SLPP had abandoned.
President Koroma emphasized that in only five years his government has achieved far more than the SLPP achieved in their 15 years of governance. The President was being sarcastic with the number of years as the SLPP actually ruled for 11 years . The President drew chuckles and laughter from the crowd when he reminded them that , as they knew , the NPRC military junta and the SLPP were one and the same . He joked that the NPRC+the SLPP = SLPP ( Thus the SLPP ruled for 15 years because the NPRC was in power for 4 years ). President Koroma said his government has achieved far more in 5 years than those two SLPP governments who ruled for 15 years .
President Koroma also told the crowd that his government had created opportunities for more investments to come into the country . He disclosed that U.S $ 5 Billion have been invested in the country by the mining companies and other entrepeneurs. He told the youths that there must be economic growth before jobs. This year, he went on, Sierra Leone has been adjudged as having achieved the highest economic growth in the world. He assured the youths that the government cared for them and has put structures in place to address their problems.
The President said he was very glad that those who have left the SLPP and joined the APC are people who are concerned about the welfare of the people. He noted that when you have a party that is concerned about the people and it has been joined by people with similar concerns, it is a great thing. The President gave a strong warning against divisions and factions. He said everybody has the right to contest for parliamentary and Council seats and that there should be no divisions in the party over it. He said that the APC wants to win the elections at the first ballot and thus everybody must remain united.
President Koroma said that Sierra Leone is presently enjoying tremendous blessings and even the national team, Leone Stars , performed well in their World Cup Qualifying match today against Equatorial Guinea in Malabo ( The match ended in a 2-2 draw after Leone Stars led 2-1 briefly ).
President Koroma thanked everybody for coming to the program and urged them to continue working hard to make success certain.
He then proudly gave the new members their APC membership cards , amidst cheers from the gigantic crowd.
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY JARRAH KAWUSU-KONTE :