By KABS KANU :
Whenever Sierra Leoneans in New Jersey get together to stage a function, it often turns out to be the best. When President Ernest Koroma, who was then opposition leader , brought his electioneering sensitization and campaign programs to the United States between 2004 and 2006, it was New Jerseyans that provided the best rallies and dinners where the then aspiring President’s blueprint for the present transformation of Sierra Leone was showcased to the whole world. It was in New Jersey that the erstwhile opposition leader conducted his first newspaper interview about his plans and dreams for Sierra Leone. It was New Jersey that staged the first town meeting where President Koroma stirred hundreds of Sierra Leoneans about the marvellous changes taking place in the country under his leadership.
LAMIN ALHARAZIM : CHAIR OF THE PLANNING COMMITTEE
It was in New Jersey that political experts saw the tremendous and magnificent outpouring of passion and enthusiasm for the future leader of Sierra Leone that they predicted that “This man is headed for glory :The next time he talks to Sierra Leoneans , he might do so from the throne at State House ! !” . Even outside the political sphere, New Jerseyans have staged the best Sierra Leonean weddings and birthday sessions in the United States.
SIERRA LEONE PRIDE IS CELEBRATED IN NEW JERSEY AS ORGANIZERS DANCE ON THE STAGE DURING THE PICNIC AS ABOU WHYTE OF ORCHESTRE MUYEI FAME ROCKS THE CROWD
Yesterday, living up to their billing as perhaps the best organizers of social functions, Sierra Leoneans in New Jersey had the world at their feet as they staged what is being described as perhaps the best 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations so far in Continental USA. As people who were absent from yesteday’s celebrations in New Jersey are being told, they missed the treat of a lifetime. They missed seeing history being made right under their noses .
MADINA RAHMAN AND ALLIE BADARA KAMARA
The Sierra Leone Community has established an amazing and fascinating foothold in New Jersey, which admittedly in the past was the land of their afflictions , a strange country where they arrived to pursue ambitions of self-advancement and had to work the soles of their feet off to establish themselves. Today, many of them are contributing brilliantly to the socio-economic and political development of New Jersey. Today, they have moved a significant step up by having the national flag of Sierra Leone flying high in the state and there is a proclamation that has made every April 27 Sierra Leone’s Day in New Jersey. Things cannot get any better than this for Sierra Leone in New Jersey and anybody who loves his/her country and is proud of her nation should have been there.
The Independence Anniversary Parade and Picnic overcame earlier threats of disruption by pouring rain ( It ceased later ) to become a celebration of epic proportions with Sierra Leonean organizers making their fellow citizens proud of their nation once more .We have our differences in New Jersey but such differences must never stop us from giving credit where credit is due. Tears of pride and joy came to my eyes yesterday morning when I drove through Franklin and saw the green-white-and-blue national flag of Sierra Leone proudly flying aloft in the cool, crisp wind on many poles of the business street of Central New Jersey–Hamilton Street. One of the organizers, Mr. Foday Mansaray, told COCORIOKO : “I mobilized some young boys to work with me and hang all those flags on the streets last night . We wanted today to be truly Sierra Leone’s Day in New Jersey and we succeeded ”
THE PARTY WAS SO CROWDED THAT YOUNG GIRLS HAD TO SIT AT THE EDGE OF THE STAGE
A fresher at Fourah Bay College in 1972 emotionally lost it all while describing the enjoyment on Mount Aureol in the FBC of old glory when asked to describe life on the campus . He told the AUREOL TIMES : “It is a kaleidoscope of endless varieties ! ! ” So was it in New Jersey yesterday. It was a kaleidoscope of endless varieties. From the parade to the Picnic and cultural show to the big dance in the night, New Jerseyans delivered a 50th Independence Anniversary classic that will not be easily surpassed by other states.
THE CROWDED PICNIC AND CULTURAL SHOW
No wonder organizers , the Chairman of the Planning Committee, Mr. Lamin Alharazim; his deputy , my former classmate at CKC, Bo from Forms 1-5 , Mr. Joe N’gaojia ; Madam Madina Rahman , Susan Bona, Khadi Sillah, Messrs Abdul Hardy Gabisi, Mohamed Aziz Nabe, Busairi Savage, Jerry George, Sanusi Kamara, Suliman Kargbo , Dr. Abdul Rahman Kamara, Foday Mansaray, Dauda Shekou Bangura, Alhaji Allie Badara Kamara were on top of the world during yesterday’s memorable programs. They deserved to be , because they successfully organized an occasion which has put Sierra Leone on the map in America.
‘HUNTING DEBUL’ AND SUPPORTERS DANCING AT THE PICNIC
Thankfully, COCORIOKO is producing a video documentary of yesterday’s events which will help to keep these functions fresh in the minds of Sierra Leone and for children yet unborn to see how their predecessors created whatever benefits will emerge from the establishment of a Sierra Leonean constituency through these jubilee celebrations in New Jersey.
SOME OF THE ORGANIZERS : FROM LEFT ; JOE NGAOJIA , MADINA RAHMAN AND DAUDA BANGURA
As for the dance, it was one of the most jampacked occasions ever in New Jersey. The hall was so crowded that there was hardly elbow room. Young girls had to sit on each others’ laps or on the base of the stage. The patron tables on the big stage were all filled up and you had to time your steps to avoid treading on the feet of other people. The last time I saw such a jam session was during those frenetic and memorable nights at the Adjai Crowther Amphitheatre during freshers’ dances at FBC. The music was exhiliarating and kept the holiday crowd on its feet constantly. Everybody was in jubilant mood and it was one celebration they will never forget.
Yesterday’s events cannot be effectively described in a single article and so COCORIOKO will produce its reports in series, covering the Flag-raising ceremonies in Franklin Township and Newark , the Parade and Picnic and the big dance. Keep a date with Sierra Leone’s biggest and most widely read newspapers. Also watch our pictorial display in series too.
SUSAN BONA AND HADJA POSE FOR COCORIOKO
* If you helped to organize these programs and your name is not mentioned ,please do not despair. All of you will be featured.
FROM LEFT : FODAY MANSARAY AND BEN JALLOH
BELOW : SANUSI KAMARA