It is extremely difficult to write about a person like retired Major Abu (Abubakarr Sidiq) Noah. Do I pay tribute to him as a Military officer, indigenous businessman, a playwright dramatist, philanthropist, poet, politician or a patriot? I have known Abu for a very long time. The man demonstrated his abilities after his false incarceration by a corrupt, vindictive and dictatorial government.
He has ever since being pardoned by President, Alhaji. Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. It will be unfair to write about this man in the form of a tribute instead of an auto biography to be able to touch on all aspects of his capabilities. He has shown Sierra Leoneans how a determined person can succeed despite all obstacles in life and amidst the constant negative challenges. I will touch on the aspect of his business acumen and maybe on some of his other achievements.He started his security company over twenty years ago and succeeded in developing it into the largest security group in the country. Mount Everest Security Agency (MESA) now employs well over one thousand six hundred and fifty people.
I yet have to identify any foreign or Sierra Leonean company to have personally achieved thus. MESA the brainchild of Abu Noah is synonymous to Kabbah’s brainchild NASSIT. Imagine how much contribution MESA has paid to NASSIT. They are both success stories.
You may dislike Abu and Kabbah but they will ever remain household names in the history of Sierra Leone. Abu demonstrated his patriotism and his talents to the benefit of other Sierra Leoneans whom he employed. Today all those employees have families and extended ones to take care of.
From Mount Everest Security Agency, he diversified to Mount Everest Publishing House, to the Film Industry which saw Nigerian film stars, Olu Jacobs, Genevieve and Omotola acting his play “Bai Bureh goes to War”. Mount Everest would continue to remain a household name in this country.
Abu did not sit and wait for government to come and employ him, he used his talents in order to serve his less privileged brothers and sisters. We have had independence for 44 years and yet have to identify any other foreign businessman or local to have assisted the government by employing so many people - thus reducing the burden of unemployment.
Abu Noah as a philanthropist demonstrated this by paying university fees for college and secondary school pupils. He did not cart away his money to buy houses or invest in Europe or the Middle East like some of our predators and exploiters. This is why I advocate that Sierra Leoneans must be given the first privileges in awarding contracts.
They will spend their money in Sierra Leone and Sierra Leonean businessmen like Charlie Whitfield of Charlie Girl Boutique, Eric James of James International, Sam King of Kimbima Hotel, Keh Turay of Frandia Enterprises, just to name a few can do business of any magnitude nationally and internationally.
I will rather prefer to see these businessmen drive the latest and most expensive 4x4 or Mercedes and put up the most expensive houses than some peasant jokers who brought no money into this country but became rich over night from our own resources. The likes of Abu Noah will change the Sierra Leone society economically and therefore liberate them mentally.
I wouldn’t like to drive in a corrugated rickety motor on the beach on Sundays whilst my children will be admiring beautiful flashy 4x4 or Mercedes Benz owned by some jokers.
This scenario has been inculcated by ignorant Sierra Leonean masses that when they see one of their kith and kin driving these expensive cars or living in a luxurious home NAR WE MONEY DEM TIFF SO - BORBOR BELLEH but yet admired by this same people when our looters drive them or live in them. As far as these ignorant Sierra Leoneans are concerned, we are doomed and will have to live on the crumbs of these non Sierra Leoneans.
The Logo he chose for his company “the highest mountain in the world “Mount Everest”, fits the Group, that is now the highest in the country. Abu Bakarr Sidiq hails from a humble Muslim family. His father was an Imam. He did his primary education at the Amaria Primary School and Secondary Education at the Methodist Boys High School.
He entered the army as a private and excelled to a major and cadet instructor in the army. Abu’s intolerance of petty thieving had him set up the Security Agency. Major Abu Noah as a patriot and nationalist created a situation to portray his nationalism. He was able to produce a documentary on that much talked about Hero Bai Bureh of Kasseh all by himself financially. Our colonial masters taught us negative things about this Great Revolutionary until Abu Noah resuscitated him as our hero.
In other words Major Noah liberated Sierra Leoneans from their colonised mentality. Today, Sierra Leoneans who have been ashamed of their culture are now proud of it. A society without a culture is like The Big Cotton Tree without roots, “breeze blow am small ee go fordom” .
As a student in North America, I belonged to a school of thought that opposed the philosophy of capitalism, but I argued that African capitalists had a very important role to play in our society.
They could be progressive capitalists (national bourgeois) since the extended family was still maintained with some modifications. In the same vein, I would love to see lots and lots of Sierra Leone capitalists that we could emulate.
Major Abu Noah (Rtd.) will ever remain a household name, a legend and occupy a chapter in the archives of Sierra Leone progressive history. Abu you are asleep, patriots never die, they rest from their work. May Allah grant him peace. I reiterate Abu Noah is not dead, when God calls nationalists, patriots to rest, we say he is asleep.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.