Constrasting visions of Sierra Leone painted at Lawyer Bah’s Memorial

Published on January 5, 2011 by Cocorioko News   ·   No Comments


Another session of the inter-denominational memorial vigil for late Alhaji Dr. Mohamed Sadu Bah was held yesterday evening in Washington, DC, with various mourners portraying glowing reminiscences of his beautiful smile, his hearty laugh, his very wonderful sense of humor, as well as his fortrightness, courage, vision and integrity.

One man spoke about how Lawyer Bah helped him to get married and get settled down: “He took me to Virginia and gave me a Fula-musu”. Then, severaly years later, “he helped me with my divorce.”

“I came up here to tell you that our extended Sierra Leonean family and everyone else who knew Lawyer Bah have lost a good guy,” said Dr. Joe Nuni, MD, Chairman of the Pujehun District Decendants’ Association (PDDA) and a close personal friend over the years. “He was the most popular Sierra Leonean around, and he cut across tribal and religious lines.”

Like a Nobel: Dr. Nuni went on to say that like the philanthropist Alfred Nobel, Lawyer Bah essentially wrote his own obituary which, he said, was what was on display at the memorial ceremony. “The most important role of a brother is to promote and strengthen the bonds of unity between members of an extended family. Our brother faithfully sought to do that,” he said.

Called to speak on behalf of the Diaspora branch of the Sierra Leone Peoples’ Party (SLPP), North America regional Vice-Chairman Momodu Maada Sheku announced that he would be making a funeral contribution later on  behalf of SLPPNA, but that he had observed that there was a far more senior SLPP member in the house in the person of Hon. Victor Reider who would be in a better position to speak for the Party, and he gracefully surrendered the microphone to him.

Rising to the occasion, Mr. Reider, former parliamentary Whip and member of the SLPP National Executive Council (NEC), recalled how Lawyer Bah gave generously of his energy and wisdom for many years, and contributed very greatly to the cause of the SLPP’s efforts to recapture the State House in 2012.

“This is the time to give credit where credit is due,” he said. “Lawyer Bah was among the first to put teeth in our Party’s fund-raising efforts. He was on loan to the SLPP for the purpose of Sierra Leone’s progress. We are not here to mourn, but to celebrate the life of a worthy colleague. Unfortunately he would not be with us when we take over the reigns from the present APC government,” he said to wide applause.

In his contribution, the former North America regional chairman for the ruling All Peoples’ Congress (APC) party, Mr. Osman Conteh, expressed his “deep sadness” over the passing of Lawyer Bah, whom he described as “one of the truly great statesmen of our time and a man revered and liked by all Sierra Leoneans”. He said that he tried many times to convince Lawyer Bah to join the APC but that Bah always responded that his heart was with the SLPP and that he would not change, even though he continued to patronize and donate generously toward APC fund-raising events.

Mr. Conteh went on to say that Lawyer Bah was “a people’s lawyer” who deeply yearned for the day when honest and progressive leaders would come to power in Sierra Leone. “That moment is now, with President Ernest Bai Koroma and his government in control and therefore fulfiling Lawyer Bah’s dreams”, Mr. Conteh said.

Heading a delegation from Philadelphia, Chairman Sam Saidu of the Delaware Valley SLPP Chapter said that Sierra Leone “has lost a giant” and that Sierra Leoneans “will surely miss a great statesman. I have had the honor of knowing and admiring Lawyer Bah and will always treasure the personal moments of our acquaintance. He was a man of great strength and courage and he mastered every task before him with undiminished understanding and knowledge.”

The interim Maryland Chapter SLPP Chairman, Mr. Foday Sesay, who was actually speaking on behalf of the Old Bo Boys’ Association (OBBA), said that Mr. Bah’s zest for life and his compassion for people continually prevailed in his handling of many difficult local and regional SLPP matters. He said that Lawyer Bah hardly ever missed an OBBA event and was always generous in his asistance to the organization. Other SLPP officials in attendance included Chairman Christiana N. Koroma of Washington-DC, Chairman Ahmed Bowling of Virginia, and former New York Chapter Chairman Mohamed Tunis.

Lawyer Bah’s Teacher, Daughter:

Also on hand to eulogise Lawyer Bah last evening was his high school science teacher at the St. Edwards’ Secondary school in Freetown in the early 1960s, Dr. Haroun Sesay, now a professor at the Morgan State University in Maryland. Dr. Sesay said that the skinny Form Two lad in his general science class was a leader among his peers who often ordered his class-mates to behave.

“I knew his father, Alhaji Momodu Bah. He was a businessman, a Fullah tribal headman, and a aphilantropist, so I am not surprised that Mohamed followed in his good father’s footsteps. I had just graduated from Form Six and went to teach in his school. He eventually turned out to be a lawyer, but Mohamed would have been anything that he wanted to be, because he was an all-round student. Obviously, I am older than him, and it is really sad that I am standing here today eulogizing him.”

Ms. Laratu Bah, late Lawyer Bah’s teen-age daughter and the third of his five children, spoke of how she was close to her father throughout. “He taught me everything. He made me what he wanted me to be. When Daddy died, I almost broke apart. But then I decided that I have to live my father’s dream, as well as remain strong for my two little siblings.”

No 40th Day Rites:

There is going to be an Islamic prayer service for Lawyer Bah at noon today at the Prince Georges’ County Muslim Association Mosque on Lanham-Severn Road, in Lanham. Internment will take place at 1 o’clock at the Maryland National Cemetery (Route 1 – Baltimore Road), Laurel, followed at 2 p.m. by Repast/Reminiscences at the Days Inn banquet hall in Washington, DC.

Today’s are the final funeral ceremonies for Lawyer Bah. According to Islamic teachings, there will not be a traditional 40th-Day ceremony, just as there was no viewing of the body throughout the memorial ceremonies.
– Jaiah Kallon
Publicity Secretary,
Maryland Chapter SLPP.

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