New York March 24, 2011 – Since he was appointed Sierra Leone’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in November, veteran politician Hon. Joseph Bandabla Dauda had been so busy promoting and canvassing Sierra Leone’s national and international interests at home and abroad that he had not had the time to sit down with any pressman to discuss his new job, his goals and aspirations on the job and the factors that motivated him to accept the high-profile ministerial appointment from President Ernest Bai Koroma. (Photo: J B Dauda, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation)
All that changed today in New York , as the Minister , who is fondly known as “JAM BODY FOR DEVELOPMENT,” took time off his busy schedule to sit down with Minister Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN, Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, to have a very lengthy chat about pertinent matters pertaining to his job, his past, Sierra Leone ‘s foreign policy objectives, his political beliefs and what it means to work with President Ernest Koroma and the All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government.
Mr. J.B.Dauda is a serious-minded and experienced man and this is reflected on his face the moment you meet him. Having heard and read so much about the old, experienced politician , I considered it a magnificent opportunity this morning to conduct this first ever comprehensive interview by the Foreign Minister , especially with a man who has been one of the shakers and makers of public opinion and political decisions in Sierra Leone for over three decades. J.B Dauda is not the kind of man who betrays his emotions when you first meet him but when you start talking with him , you will discover yourself speaking with a man who is not only philosophical in his explanations but one who chooses his words carefully and displays a depth of knowledge of politics and the Sierra Leonean question that are at once amazing and very impressive. As you listen to him uncover his repertoire of political knowledge, experience and wisdom, you begin to see why President Koroma, who is looking for the finest minds to help him rebuild Sierra Leone, reached across the political divide to invite Mr. Dauda, who was a staunch member of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) , to become the country’s third most senior member of government.
The nationalistic passion that underpins his political ideology is the first things that Mr. J.B .Dauda proudly and unapologetically enunciated the moment the interview gained momentum. “When President Koroma approached me to become a minister in government, I did not look at myself being being invited to join a party. He did not invite me to join his party or leave my party .When he spoke to me , he said he was inviting me in my personal capacity and during this time we did not discuss party loyalty .He only invited me to be a minister , which to me was a good opportunity to serve my country. To me, my country has always come first. Throughout my political career which has lasted three decades, the interest of my country has always come first . I thought it was a good opportunity to serve my country. But after my appointment, my own party wrote me the same day suspending me for accepting the job and when they decided to arraign me before a disciplinary committee I offered my resignation from the party because I said that throughout my political career, I had always put my country first and this was the first priority that made me accept President Koroma’s offer. Up ’till today, I feel very proud of my decision to be associated with the APC government which has embarked on very substantial development projects which are transforming our country and therefore justifies the slogan of our 50th Anniversary that we are celebrating a new Sierra Leone …….”.
Throughout the interview which lasted over 2 hours , Mr. Dauda took his time to articulate his political philosophy and what the government is doing that has justified his decision to accept President Koroma’s offer, and like the wise veteran politician he is, the minister will end the elaborate interview by appealing to the young people and all other Sierra Leoneans to change their attitudes and now consider the performance of the government in power as the yardstick of support, instead of tribe, ethnicity or political loyalty .
Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, Minister Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN, New York, USA