Makeni -16th October, 2017 – Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so very much! Thank you for making history! Thank you for putting party and country first. Thank you for choosing me to lead the great All People’s Congress (APC). For our party and for all of Sierra Leone, you have just made history in the politics of our great country. Yes, the Chairman and Leader of the APC, the National Advisory Committee and indeed, the entire comradeship of the APC have shown tremendous courage and determination; they have demonstrated selflessness and love for party and country, and loudly and clearly, they spoken. I am grateful to our Chairman and Leader and the entire leadership and comradeship of our great party, for the honour and the confidence reposed in me. Words cannot express how gratified I am for this great opportunity to lead in service of my party and my beloved country. I accept this honour with profound humility; inspired even more to confront the tasks ahead of all of us.
Yes Comrades all, history has been made and we have reason to celebrate victory even now, because victory has just been sealed by this historic decision of our party. We have reason to celebrate because our Chairman and Leader has mobilised our support base, because he has enhanced the profile of our APC, and has laid the solid foundation for the transformation of our beloved nation.
Yes, we have reason to be thankful, to rejoice, and to be proud of ourselves, and the wise ‘Conclave’ of the National Advisory Committee, for conducting such a very stiff test to courage, steadfastness and loyalty! Unarguably, this was the most difficult emotional and psychological drilling I have ever experienced; and I am sure my colleague aspirants endured the same anxiety. But in the end, we have shown our critics, our nation, and the world at large, that we in the APC are truly a great and united family!
With the solidarity already displayed by ALL of my comrades, especially those against whom I contested for the leadership of our party; with the overwhelming acclamation being demonstrated by men and women of the great APC; I am confident that we are going into these elections as winners. Yes, with your determination, the APC will win in the first ballot because our party is stronger today than ever before; because our party has been, and will always be, a family of comrades, united for the shared aspiration of building a strong and a better nation. And as a party of Action, of Progress and of Commitment; we must now, and together, take action to cement our victory in the first ballot.
To my family, to my friends, and to everyone who supported me throughout this great experience, I am grateful. I acknowledge that this is not an entitlement, rather; it’s a great honour to be chosen, from among such an outstanding assembly of highly competent compatriots; to take after such a shrewd and capable political leader as President Ernest Bai Koroma.
Let me therefore, at the outset, assure all fellow aspirants, that this is only the beginning of our collaboration. From this moment on, I would need your support to move forward our shared agenda of continuing the transformation of our nation. We are in this together; we started this race together; and together, we must strive to the finishing tape. This is our party; our country, and until we all come together to build our nation, no one else will make our country better for us. The responsibility is ours to imbibe the discipline required to build on the strong foundation that has been provided for us.
To achieve that, we must borrow a leaf from our party leadership who, by putting country first, have once again, and beyond all reasonable doubts, demonstrated undiluted determination to secure electoral victory for our party come 2018.
Yes, in Makeni, on Sunday 15th 2017, in the great Enerst Bai Koroma Conference Centre, of the APC Northern Region headquarters, the leadership and membership of the APC have put the interest of our great party and that of our beloved nation first; above individual and other interests.
And yes, this is a resounding victory for Sierra Leone, for our young people, the foot soldiers – the ordinary men and women who make up the foundation and the pillars of the party and our nation. You are the reason the APC continues to grow from strength to strength; and by your sheer numbers, you constitute the present and the future of this country.
And this is why I would not deviate from the vision of our Chairman and Leader in prioritizing the empowerment of women and young people. This is why I will sustain the participation of our Diaspora compatriots in the governance of our nation. This is why I will build on the policy of greater participation, expand on the task of unifying our nation, of consolidating the peace and of strengthening our democracy and the rule of law.
Yes, Comrades all, I believe in that vision. I firmly believe that to sustain and to build on the towering legacy of transforming our nation; it is imperative to continue putting our young men and women in the front and center of our national development. I believe that inclusiveness and greater participation of all categories of people represent a cornerstone in building the human capital of every nation. Those nations that have developed did so because they invested in harnessing their human resources; because they recognized that their people are the most critical component in addressing the bigger tasks of alleviating poverty; and of achieving sustainable development.
Thankfully, that stage has been set, that path has been cleared, and several first important steps have been taken towards achieving our nation’s aspiration of escaping from the throes of poverty. In roads infrastructure, in agriculture, in access to education, energy, pipe borne water, in health services, in good governance and in civil liberties; a solid foundation has been laid.
Our task now is to strengthen the gains we have made, and to progress rapidly to the next level of our nation’s economic and infrastructural transformation. But we cannot achieve national progress by being divisive, by being intolerant of perceived opponents, by refusing to acknowledge the hard work of others, by being unaccountable, by seeking to acquire political power at all costs. If we must expedite our nation’s development; we must not cut corners, we must accept that we are one and the same and we must respect authority, and we must abide by the rule of law. These are the tasks we must collectively pursue, genuinely, and with renewed zeal. And let me assure you all that in pursuing those ideals, as I set to do, there would be no excuses.
This is because, as a nation, we have come quite a long way yet; we still have work to do for our women and for our children. We have a great deal of work to do still for our young people seeking higher education, skills training and employment. We still have ways to go in catering for our men and women in uniform; for our compatriots in trading, in driving, in carpentry, in masonry, in subsistence farming and in entertainment. For those men and women who, in rain or shine, continue to strive hard to put food on the table; we still need to provide more facilities, more access to funds and more training for them to succeed in their chosen vocations. Whether they are motor bike riders, motor mechanics, electricians,; Sierra Leoneans of all vocations still need support to succeed.
Yes, we have made considerable progress in the last ten years but still; there is more we could do to cater for our older folks seeking healthcare and social security. And if we must meet those great expectations, we must all be prepared to accept, and to effectively play our individual roles. As your leader, when elected, I would work harder to further widen the space, to further create more opportunities through sustained and re-energized private sector – led development. I will work harder to increasingly consolidate the efficient management of our natural endowments by insisting on value addition, and by enhancing our power of negotiation with our international friends coming to invest in our country. We can do it; working together, we can move Sierra Leone to higher heights, to becoming a middle income country earlier than we thought.
But to achieve such grand aspirations; to complete the history we have just begun to make, for the sake of moving our country forward; we must all be prepared to shed away our old habits and accede to the attitudes and actions that are akin to national development. These are the resolutions we must renew and the values we must embolden in the chapters of the political history we have just made.
Once again, on behalf my family, I humbly accept this mantle of leadership, this task of building on the great legacy, this great honour to lead our party into electoral victory. Be rest assured that victory, we will have on 7th March, 2018 and then, with your support, Sierra Leone will leap on to new heights of socio- economic development.
Long live our Chairman and Leader, Long live the APC, and may God bless Sierra Leone!