By KABS KANU
The nation is sad again this morning as news came about the death of yet another high-ranking public figure. This time , it is the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation , Mr. Joseph Bandabla Dauda, who also served as Minister of Internal Affairs . He is reported to have passed away in Ghana this morning . Mr. Dauda was 75 years old.
The late Mr. Dauda was born on December 24, 1942 at Bamawo, Nongowa Chiefdom , Kenema District.
He graduated with a B.A. Hons. (History ) degree from Fourah Bay College in 1967 and proceeded to the University of London where he read Law. He was called to the bar at Middle Temple in 1972.
He served as teacher and legal practitioner while also taking part in politics as a staunch member of the Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP) and he contested the General Elections in 1986 and won and represented the Kenema Town Constituency in Parliament. Then started a flourishing , often controversial, career in politics which saw him rising fast in the then All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government of the late President Joseph Saidu Momoh , first as Minister of State in the Office of Attorney-General And Minister of Justice in Nov. 1988 – Sept. 1991 and then from Sept. 1991 – April 1992 as Second Vice President, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.
After the 1992 military coup and the return to civilian rule in 1996, Mr. Dauda returned to the SLPP and was appointed Minister of Rural Development and Local Government in 1999, until June 2002, when he became Minister of Finance. He contested the disputed 2005 SLPP Presidential Flag bearership elections during the party’s National Convention in Makeni where he , among other contending candidates, lost to the then Attorney General, Mr. Solomon Berewa. He was then dismissed by President Kabbah and replaced by another controversial politician, Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin.
On December 11, 2010 Mr. Dauda was surprisingly ( Being that he was still in the SLPP ) appointed into the reigning APC Government as Minister of Foreign Affairs by President Ernest Koroma. This appointment sparked a big chaos in the opposition SLPP , which considered Mr. Dauda’s acceptance of the job as an act of betrayal and suspended him from the party. In response, Mr. Dauda resigned from the SLPP on February 8, 2011 . In his resignation letter dated 8th February 2011, he blamed his resolve on the decision of the SLPP to suspend him from the party, following his appointment by President Ernest Bai Koroma to serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
J.B. Dauda described his guiding principle in politics as putting the country before party, and he stated that the decision of the SLPP following his new appointment contradicts that principle. “As the decision of the leadership of the SLPP clearly contradicts my principle which I intend to continue to uphold and practice, I have decided to reconsider my membership of the SLPP. Accordingly, I hereby resign from the SLPP with effect from the date thereof (8th February 2011),”
Mr. Dauda served successfully as Foreign Minister and was transferred to the Internal Affairs Ministry in a cabinet reshuffle after the 2012 elections.