By KABS KANU :
Riding an open car, standing on both sides of President Ernest Bai Koroma , the newly-selected Presidential candidate of the ruling All People’s Congress ( APC) , Dr.Samura Kamara and his running mate, Chernor Maju Bah ( Chericoco ) made a triumphant entry into Freetown yesterday, turning the city into a rampaging, exuberant sea of red that must have struck fear in the minds of the opposition as it clearly demonstrated that the APC still controls the people and the youths of the city.
THE MOTORCADE CARRYING THE APC FLAGBEARER AND RUNNING MATE , STANDING ON EITHER SIDE OF PRESIDENT KOROMA
The whole city went into raptures with thousands upon thousands of supporters of the APC, mostly youths, in red, dancong with the motorcade through the city, chanting : “We sabi am ; no to tiff man ” ( “We know him; he is not a thief” ) , an apparent reference to the new opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) slang “You sabi am ? ” ( “Do you know him ?”) that emerged on Sunday after Dr. Samura Kamara was announced the flag bearer of the APC–which in turn was referring to the SLPP belief that Dr. Kamara is an unknown and unpopular candidate.
By asserting in their song that they knew Dr. Kamara and that he is not a thief, APC supporters were subtly taking a jibe at the SLPP Presidential candidate , Mr. Maada Bio, who was found culpable in the theft of thousands of Sierra Leone passports which he sold surreptitiously to the highest bidders.
The huge crowd that turned out to receive the APC candidate and his running mate was a pointer to the fact that the APC is still massively popular in the capital, a major battleground in the Sierra Leone electoral landscape and actually control the Western region of the country.
The SLPP tried to capitalize on the fact that when the motorcade entered Brookfield Stadium which was the finishing point of the arrival procession, the stadium was not jammed to city, but the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Dr. Sylvia Blyden, explained the reason that the stadium was not as full as expected. She wrote in her Facebook page : “At end of Convention, we announced we will ride Samura, Chericoco & EBK waving to citizens from Makeni and end at APC Party Office in Brookfields, Freetown. We in advance team, saw many vehicles and jubilant supporters coming down so we decided to move end point of ride from APC office to Miatta Conference Center so as to avoid totally blocking Brookfields traffic when the ride ended. As social media updates showed huge crowds jogging along the long convoy of vehicles, senior party stalwarts took decision to move end-point to Stadium. It was timely as when the ride ended, all vehicles drove into spacious stadium taking pressure off the streets. We called people to come and see us RIDE through and we are very satisfied with the reaction along our RIDE from Makeni. Na ride normor we end na Stadium oh… We nor call meeting yet na stadium. When we ready to call supporters to Stadium, we will give enough notice. “
Yesterday’s triumphant entry showed that Dr. Samura Kamara and Mr. Bah had started gathering tremendous momentum since their selection after a serious and gruelling process of consultations during the APC Delegates Convention in Makeni last Sunday.