By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)
By all indications, and with all intents and purposes; and except by some divine interventions at the eleventh hour, Julius Maada Bio is going to be the flagbearer of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) for next year’s presidential election. So, the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) should elect/select (delete where applicable) someone who has a contrary character to Bio’s.
I need not delve into Maada Bio’s character because his political trajectory; his professional life, and his personal life are all open books written in commonplace English language. All what I can say—sorry write—here is that the APC should elect/select, as its presidential candidate for next year’s election, a person who is all what Maada Bio is not! So, as the Krio adage goes: The APC has been given the flour, sugar, and water; it is left with its members of the National Advisory Committee (NAC) to do the mixing very well.
And with that premise, when members of NAC go inside their political Sistine Chapel (please, Catholics, forgive my subtle blasphemy here) at their Old Railway Line Brookfields headquarters, in Freetown, in few weeks’ time, they should have it at the front of their minds (they might easily forget it if they have it at the back) that the APC doesn’t need a damaged good as its mascot for next year’s presidential election. They should consider the fact that the APC doesn’t need a presidential candidate who the party’s PR specialists and propagandists will spend the entire campaign period defending his dented character than selling his virtues. The NACers should know that who the APC needs as its mascot is someone who, when juxtaposed with the SLPP’s would-be Maada Bio, will look more like a Christ competing with a
Barabbas (well, as Sierra Leoneans are not as simple-minded like the Jews of yore, they will never choose Barabbas over Christ).
And with the 55% illogical clause in the country’s 1991 Peter Tucker Constitution (illogical because Britain, the United States, and other Advanced Democracies are practising the First Past The Post System, and even the Kenyan Constitution talks about 50% plus one vote for a political party to form a government after an election), and the threat of forming an alliance with Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray and Dr Kandeh Yumkella; the APC needs a presidential candidate with national and international appeals. The APC needs a flagbearer who is untainted with the corruption of the Siaka Stevens’ era.
And what the APC badly needs, at present, is a flagbearer who can speak both the languages of Fourah Bay College and Abacha Street. The party needs a flagbearer who can be welcomed by both the Bretton Woods Institutions and the “Belgium and Swizzy Sellers” in Freetown. The APC needs a presidential candidate who is capable of uniting the north and south with a sympathetic Freetown giving him a nod because of his untainted character. And above all, the APC needs a presidential candidate that will breast the tape at the first ballot.
But what the APC doesn’t need is a presidential candidate who is infested with all the ‘Gate-tisms’ since the Siaka Stevens’ era to the recent ‘Hajjgate’. The APC doesn’t need a flagbearer who is only appealing to the ‘Limba-ness’ in some APC supporters than party’s and national unity. The APC should not select/elect a presidential candidate who was a political thug during the Siaka Stevens’ era and whose selection/election will bring horrid memories of the APC of old. The APC should not think of making the mistake of choosing someone as its 2018 presidential mascot whose surname is synonymous with corruption or vices associated with moral decadence. And the APC should shy away from any aspirant who is a personification of hatred and revenge.
And that brings me to a quote from Chinua Achebe’s “There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra” (2012). In it he notes that, “Every generation must recognize and embrace the task it is peculiarly designed by history and by providence to perform.” How true! This is why President Ernest Bai Koroma and his fellow NACers in the APC should know that if they want their party to reign for the next 30 years, they should recognize and embrace the task they are peculiarly designed by history and providence to perform at this critical time of the APC’s history.
And that task is to choose the chosen one. And that Chosen One should be a man who is untainted with all the negative “isms” and ‘Gate-tisms’ of the APC of old. He should be a unifier; a man with the capability of being accepted outside the APC. That person should be able to convince the sit-on-the-fencers to vote for the APC; a person with a sound academic and professional background. And to ice the characterization of that Chosen One: He should be a man of, and with, the ‘Koromaian’ touch and stature!
And it is on that note that I will end today’s One Dropian dropping with another quote from another Nigerian, the actor Pete Edochie. He says, “The little opportunity given to a monkey to wear clothes does not guarantee it to join the dining table”. I hope the shameless charlatan Mamoud Tarawallie, the comic Marie Yansaneh, the Mickey Mouse-ish Bassie Kamara, and Humpty-Dumpty Dr Sam Sesay are taking note of this quotation? This is because it is a One Dropian belief that several wise counsels given to fools will still not be sufficient for them to shred their foolhardiness.