By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)
Whether it is because he is now a mendicant, or because of joblessness or the mere thought and even the frightfulness of being in the political wilderness until the second coming of Christ; the fact is: Okere Adams, who was one of the architects of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP)’s coming back to power in 1996 after nearly twenty-nine years’ absence from the Seat of State, has defected to the ruling All People’s Congress (APC).
When it comes to issues of unadulterated SLPPness one could put the biggest question mark on people like Dr Sama Puawui Banya (who got fame and questionable wealth in the APC government of Siaka Stevens and a little taste of Joseph Saidu Momoh’s) and current SLPP deputy Chairman and Leader Dr Prince Alex Harding (who once stood for national election under an APC symbol but was beaten hands down by a stark illiterate called Tomboyekeh); but with Okere Adams his SLPPness can’t be questioned. Just like how Musa Gendemeh of cursed (“blessed” would be a misnomer in this circumstance) memory was terrorizing his own Mende brethren in Kenema District and Francis M. Minah was doing the same with his Mende people in Pujehun District in the name of perpetuating the longevity of the APC of yore; Okere Adams from 1996 to 2007 was doing the same in Tonkolili District to his own Temne brothers and sisters with the aim of perpetuating SLPP rule!
Just like Dr Sama Banya who benefitted immensely under Siaka Stevens because he was one of Stevens’s blue-eyed men (I won’t use the English idiom “blue-eyed boys” because boys are not normally seen in national politics); Okere Adams served in the SLPP cabinet from 1996 to 2007 because he was one of ex-President Ahmad Tejan Kabba(h)’s blue-eyed men despite him being an intellectual midget! Added to that, he was the SLPP National Organizing Secretary from 2002 to 2007. What a classic case of SLPPness! Even the current Secretary General of the SLPP, Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie, was reported by the Awoko newspaper of Friday 18 July 2014 to have confessed that “Okere Adams is vital to the SLPP”, adding that “the contribution of Okere Adams to the development of the SLPP has been overwhelming which could not be downplayed” (page 2). In order words, Mr Adams did contribute greatly to the SLPP’s cause and course to power.
But like the biblical Saul (who was later Christianized as Paul), Okere Adams has pretended or is pretending to have seen the light not on his way to Damascus but on the path to the “Agenda for Prosperity”. Imagine a man who had spent eleven years of his combative energy fighting for the total annihilation of the APC suddenly realizing that that same APC is a much better political organization than his SLPP. Mr Adams’s defection is not only a case of selfishness and personal aggrandizement but one of unforgivable ungratefulness. For a man who was catapulted from an uncouth slippers-wearing-munku to a neatly clad cabinet minister with unhindered access to state funds by the SLPP; leaving the SLPP on the flimsiest childish excuses is inexcusable. In fact, it is the highest degree of ingratitude.
I always have great respect for political stick-in-the-muds than political butterflies. I always admire Sierra Leoneans with political convictions. And I will always have high regard for people who stick by, or with, their political parties through thick and thin. Now that Okere Adams has reportedly formally applied to the APC Secretary General for full membership, I will not be surprised if he too starts trumpeting the APC ideals like follow SLPP defectors like Robin Fallay (who is now the APC deputy Publicity Secretary II) and Major Ismail Sengu Koroma who is now deputy Energy Minister in waiting.
But if one should subtract the moral and ethical aspects of Okere Adams’s defection, then one will be left with the clichéd political mantra of “politics is all about numbers”. So, in political arithmetic what does the defection of Okere Adams mean for the SLPP? In one sentence: Annihilation after the 2018 general elections. This is because the SLPP is still full of thousands of Okere Adams who are now waiting for the slightest opportunity to switch their allegiances to the ruling APC. If people like Robin Fallay and Okere Adams could switch allegiance to the APC after all what they gained from the SLPP, then what could one expect from those SLPPians who have never gained anything from their party?
And since the ruling APC might be in power for the next twenty-something years, as indicated by the current SLPP’s shoot-in-the-leg policies and its perennial intra-party squabbles, Okere Adams’s defection might be signifying the 2018 annihilation of the SLPP as more defections are in the pipeline.