*By Platinum Media*
Prior to the just concluded APC National Youth League Conference in Port Loko, we published an op-ed article on the visible transformation taking place in the Youth League. We did so because we believed the National Youth League represents the conscience of the APC party. Apart from its traditional function as training ground for party’s leadership, it is perhaps an harbinger of the policies and proclamations pertinent to the party’s very survival.
Some believe the Youth League is the pivot around which the party’s activities revolve. This argument may hold by the statistical fact that young people who represents over 65% of the country’s population have increasingly shown an appetite for political participation …and politics being a game of numbers, it is only logical that the Youth League is treated with maximum respect by the party’s hierarchy.
The Port Loko Youth League Conference was first of its kind. Observers say it is simply the best ever organized in Sierra Leone by any political youth wing in living memory.
The Bai Bureh Hall and it’s precincts were jam packed with party faithfuls proudly attired in red and white T-shirts – pulling a perfect camouflage with the historic building erected through the efforts of the enigmatic late Sorie Ibrahim Koroma, former Vice President of Sierra Leone and a revered member of the party. It was therefore not a surprise that the organizers of the event decided to reconstruct the bust of “Agba Shaythani” to an ordinary builder carrying a head pan. Such symbolism resonates with the ideology of the APC as a party that prides itself with the selfless promotion of grassroots and infrastructural development.
After unveiling the S.I Koroma portrait, President Ernest Bai Koroma entered the Bai Bureh Hall to give what many described as his toughest address since he became Leader and Chairman of the APC. The President brushed aside talks of a regime change reportedly supported by the international community and went unorthodox with the blunt assertion that modern day governance is not rotational but performance based. *”For win election noto by turn but nar by how u woke”* President Koroma did not mince his words when he told his audience that his successor would be any committed and capable member of the party. To this end, he urged all aspiring flagbearer candidates to divorce themselves from self imposed popularity as he believed none had been popular before 2007. Therefore, the party which accorded such individuals the limelight should be the same to choose his successor. These remarks immediately filtered into the psyches of the party’s membership present that all must *”Pay attention”…..*and when the President said, *”udat know say e bin popular before 2007, mek e go form e yone party…”*, it became clear that the party does not intend to follow the route of its main rival (the SLPP) where some candidates believe they have a divine right to rule.
Apparently, President Koroma’s address clearly showed he is still very much in charge of a party he has helped to transform into an envy among political institutions in Africa.
The second day of the conference was alight with breathtaking testimonies of mostly young people who have been placed in very strategic national positions of responsibility as promised by the President himself. Perhaps, the most touching testimony came from the Minister of Tourism, Sidi Yayah Tunis who averred;
*”… I am from the South, he is from the North. He is Temne, I am Mende, he is Christian I am Muslim… yet he gave me the opportunity to serve in the capacity of Minister and Regional Secretary of the APC ..”* like many of his compatriots, Minister Sidi Yayah Tunis believed he is now a living example of a promise fulfilled.
The Conference ended with the Honourable Vice President appealing to all APC members to close ranks and work for victory in the coming elections. VP Foh was also less restrained when he reminded some of highly placed party comrades of greed. He thus encouraged them to reach out to the younger folks as a sure way of reducing disgruntlement and maintaining party harmony.
*© Platinum Media*