By TambaYama Lebbie, Boston, Massachusetts. USA….
In his acceptance speech when he won the SLPP Flag bearer for the 2012 Presidential elections scheduled for later this year, his speech can be surmised as a reminder to the hey days of the APC Stewardship of our country throughout the 70s and 80s. He reminded Sierra Leoneans that this was the time he grew up. For him and all like him he concluded by saying, “HE WHO FEELS IT KNOWS IT”.
He recounted the horrors of growing up in the 80s, the rancor -“ranka” the bitter experiences of the people at the hands of the ruling class and then realized that there must be a way to change such a system. For him the only way was to enlist in the army and likely with like-minded soldiers stage a coup d’etat. In the sycophantic 80s, one might be tempted to ask, who is this man with such an incendiary thought? Thus, who is Maada Bio?
Maada Bio is a man of empathy, love and feeling for the human being irrespective of status. These are attributes that are uncommon in the Sierra Leone gentry. His pedigree- the youngest in the ruling Bio family of the South of Sierra Leone may have exposed him to love and kindness from the senior members of his family. And he has learnt to reciprocate these virtues. His outstanding academic performance in the prestigious Bo School, the Republic of Sierra Leone Military Forces has brought out the leadership qualities of a man like Maada Bio whose only initial ambition while at school was respect for Law and Order, decency and a dislike for the word “radical”. But if he is not a radical-who is he? Julius Maada Bio is a REALIST and that is what makes him the more suitable leader in a democratic dispensation in 2012 Sierra Leone. Even after successfully completing 6th form in 1985 he sacrificed to enlist in the army while others rushed to FBC as was the fad then. To friends that wanted him to tag along then, he promised rejoining them after three years in the army.
Destiny and providence steered him otherwise to his current role in Sierra Leonean politics for which most of his countrymen are thankful to God. For where would we have been as Sierra Leoneans if he hadn’t ended the civil war? The crux of the matter in our country’s politics is not a party issue. We have seen politicians who have served both parties; so it is not a matter of party allegiance for people will serve whatever party puts food on their table. Just like he ended the war for all of us, Mr. Bio is different in that he wants to put food on the tables of all of his countrymen irrespective of political affiliations.
In a developing country like ours the political manifestos of the contestants would all be geared towards DEVELOPMENT. Likely would there be differences. In such a situation what can the electorates resort to? They can look at the personalities of those who desire to lead us and consider their impeccable records. That is where Mr. Bio stands with President Ernest Koroma of the APC. Records attributed to President Koroma’s development agenda for change the concept of “rebranding the country”. But how is Koroma rebranding Sierra Leone? Massive corruption, cocaine discoveries implicating his top aides as well as timber smuggling by his Vice President are no measures to positively rebrand the country. The only attitudinal change the country is experiencing is the negative attitude of his extended family who are now rich business people. Thus his siblings should be called for questioning by the Anti-Corruption Department ,which will not be, for the flamboyant anti-corruption chief hails from his hometown of Makeni. But if I were President Koroma, I will travel to Binkolo and see how it is after the APC’s Joseph Momoh demise.Just as he had promised to run the country like a business, he is truly keeping to his promises for the country is being run like the Koroma family business while the majority of his countrymen sleep or keep awake on empty stomachs daily.
Bio had enlisted in the army as a catalyst for positive change against issues like the one the current president is perpetuating. When Sierra Leoneans had acquiesced in former president Siaka Stevens dictatorship and whatever ensued, Bio did not just talk the talk as most did then, he walked the walk. He overthrew that despicable government. For three years when their NPRC government was not working the way they all had envisaged with Valentine Strasser going astray, he took over the reins of power in a palace coup; not for personal aggrandizement but to restore the country to a democratic civilian rule. An issue that had been agreed upon by even Valentine.
In the three months that he ruled the country as Head of State, he refused inklings by the elite to cling on to power. Many a young man would have succumbed to the glare of political power and stuck with the gun but No, not Julius Maada Bio. This is a sincere man much attuned to the youth man in today’s Sierra Leone than President Koroma’s aging gerontocracy. True,true, yesterday betteh pass tiday. Vote one, vote all for Julius Maada Bio.