The Lead aspirant for the position of Chairman, Western Area Branch of the Sierra Leone Peopleís Party (SLPP), Agbah Lansana Fadika aka Saloneís Obama, has told Awareness Times in a recent chat that the Western area of the Republic of Sierra Leone was already firmly in the hands of the opposition SLPP insofar as support was concerned. The following is the Continuation of our Publisherís Chat with Agbah Lans Fadika.
|SLPPís Lansana Fadika (The ĎAgbahí of Western Area)
Sylvia Blyden (SB): Mr. Fadika, as promised, we are now continuing our chat with you so as to elicit from you what makes you so sure that you will be able to sway the minds of the Western Area people from the red APC support they gave in 2007 to a green SLPP support come 2012. For a start, many people have been asking just who Lans Fadika is that is making such waves. So, who are you?
Lans Fadika (LF): I am quite a simple guy born into a family where my father brought us up to believe that if we believe in something, we should go out for it. Lansana Fadika is simple but with deep principles that were firmly ingrained into me since childhood. I am happily married with children and for a living I do international business. I have turned my hand to various kinds of businesses and so I have experience in a wide range of activities all around the world. But, [chuckles heartily] I have never done cocaine business unlike some other people. I am a firm believer in God and in the powers of the seen and unseen elements of this world. I am not a Christian but my father taught me that there is only one God and so even though I grew up as a Muslim, I was taught to respect Christianity. Infact, my father used to encourage us to go to church so although I am a member of Muslim Jamaats, I regularly attend Trinity Church and St. Philips Church. You can call me a Christian Muslim because I can sing any Christian Psalm or Hymn and read any Church Prayer as well as the next practising Christian. I am an all-rounder as far as religion is concerned.
SB: What about your early educational background? Were you trained under Muslim or Christian educators?
LF: I attended Trinity Churchís Primary School and Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School. It was not strange for me and I fitted in quite well under both religious settings. In the Western Area, we have two predominant religions and I can easily blend well into any of them. I intend to use all of this to my advantage to sway the Western Area
SB: Well, since you declared your intentions to lead the SLPP in the Western Area, what has been the reaction of the general populace and particularly of SLPP supporters?
LF: I say, it has been unbelievably positive. I have seen tremendous support from all over the country. I had declared the week before I gave you the interview but it is only after that your publication that I realized just how powerful a medium your newspaper is. I was getting calls of support from all over the country. People are now calling me Salone Obama because of the rousing support my candidature has built in the land. I tell you, people stop me in the streets to tell me how much hope my declaration gave them. Can you image, some youths in Bo even printed flyers for me using the photo from your newspaper. Here in Freetown, thousands of green flyers are being distributed for me and it has not cost me a single penny.
SB: Are you saying people have been paying out of their own pockets to make your flyers?
LF: Exactly, exactly. I told you the last time that when people believe in you, they root for you and dig deep to sponsor you. From the way people in the Western Area have been enthusiastically contacting me to render their support, I can say with authority that the Western Area is already for SLPP; winning the 2012 elections will be so easy; 2012 will be a true walkover for SLPP in the Western Area. Those who voted for APC because they wanted change have now seen the change is a negative backwards change. The youths who voted in the APC are now disgruntled and they, who are our largest percentage of voters cannot wait to speak at the ballot box come 2012. The APC knows they have failed and at this point in time, there does not seem to be any indication that things are going to get better. Instead, certain people are now bribing musicians millions of leones so as not to sing certain songs and intimidating them. When the SLPP was in power, we never intimidated any musician. We encouraged them to explore their talents and they were so talented that one musical group even imitated Pa Berewaís voice to ridicule the old man but we never stopped their free flow of expression. Now, they are bribing musicians not to sing and intimidating them.
SB: Many people say the SLPP will not come back to power anytime soon because your party is badly disorganized whilst still others, like Victor Reider, reportedly said your party is involved in foolishness.
LF: I have tremendous respect for my brother, Victor Reider but I will entreat him to understand that all political parties have internal differences; even the greatest democracies in the world have intra-party differences. If we all thought the same way, our party would be boring. The SLPP is not a boring party but an exciting party made up of different people but with the same vision and the same goals.
SB: Talking about internal party differences, some people have observed the emergence of camps within the candidates vying for coveted offices in the SLPP. Do you belong to any of these camps and do you have a preference for who and who you would prefer to work with in the Executive?
LF: Very good question. Let me make it very clear that Lansana Fadika belongs to no Camp. I respect my fellow party members and anyone who emerges as the winner for any post can count on my support. Even if I lose the Western Area Chairmanship, I will support anyone who wins but since all indications for now is that I am the winner, I will assure all those who will be with me in the new SLPP National Executive that I will work with them in the spirit of togetherness. I have no camp.
SB: What about your relationship with the two others who are vying for the same position you are so cocksure of winning?
LF: Manso Dumbuya is a big brother. He has served our party to the best of his ability and he has helped to bring the party far. It is now time for him to step aside and let his younger brother Lans Fadika take over whilst I will continue to rely on him for wise counsel. What the party needs now in the Western Area is an energetic Chairman who can walk the walk and talk the talk that the youths want to hear. An energetic Chairman who will inspire our youths is what SLPP needs in the Western Area. As for my brother Alhaji Cole, he is another very decent SLPP Party member who has done his best for our party and if indeed he intends to contest against me, I will only ask him to understand that he has done his best but I can do better than his best.
SB: One final question. Are you proud of the SLPP given the amount of bashing that the last SLPP Government saw and even with the ruling APCís threats of Commissions of Inquiry unearthing SLPPís corruption?
LF: I am very proud of the SLPP. It is the best political party in Sierra Leone. As I told you before, I contributed in no small measure towards the success of the 2002 Elections that swept the Kabbah-Berewa team into office. The achievements of Solomon Berewa and Tejan Kabbah for this country are no mean feats. That was a Government that rebuilt the pillars of Sierra Leoneís democracy and freedom that we are enjoying today. We have every reason to be proud of those two gentlemen and the leadership they provided. Just look at the attempt by the APC to run a Commission of Inquiry into the SLPPís SABABU Education Project. The result is that the populace now understood what a great Government the SLPP was. In so many areas, there is every reason to be proud of the SLPP. Rebuilding and Reconstruction; Economic Policies; National Cohesion; Women and Gender Issues; Childrenís Rights; NASSIT etc. etc. The List is just endless. The SLPP was a great Government and nothing the APC says nor any threatened Commission of Inquiry can take away from that. Come 2012, the people will bring us back to continue putting our development aspirations into reality. The SLPP is the next Government of Sierra Leone. 2012, Sharp 12, we will be back in power.
SB: Thank you sir for the chat and I wish you all the best in the upcoming SLPP elections which is just three weeks away now.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.