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NEWS : Politics  

APC Begs Opposition SLPP
By Abdul Karim Kabia & Bampia J. Bundu
Apr 6, 2009, 19:16
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President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and National Secretary General of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party have respectively rendered their unreserved apologies to the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), when the duo made two separate visits to the Wallace Johnson Street Headquarters of the SLPP.

President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and Secretary General Victor Bockarie Foh paid surprise unannounced visits to the vandalized opposition headquarters on Saturday 4th and Friday 3rd April 2009 respectively, in order to reassure members of the opposition party of their commitment towards the sustenance of peace and non violence, as have been signed in a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at State House..

President Dr. Ernest Bai Koromas Saturday visit interrupted a meeting of the SLPP Young Generation, amidst cheers, pomp, pageantry, jubilations and jokes sharing. President Koroma disembarked his black jeep with no security personnel, majestically climbed up the stairs on to the top floor of the headquarters, and finally materialized at the Conference Room, where the SLPP Young Generation Team was having a meeting. On entering the conference room, he personally announced his presence and jokingly said "I am the SLPP Young Generation Leader and I have come to chair the meeting".

The opposition SLPP, which have records of respect for the tenets of democracy, warmly welcomed the uninvited and unexpected President, with the Young Generation Leader Malaam Janneh, handing over his occupied sitting position for it to be occupied by President Koroma.

In his statement which was delivered in the local Krio parlance, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma expressed his commitment to "change the politics of Sierra Leone". He called on all Sierra Leoneans to forget about party politics and be committed to the development and sustenance of peace in the country. "As from now onwards, I will start to act as President of Sierra Leone, with a responsibility to protect the lives and properties of my citizens, be them APC or SLPP", President Koroma assured, amidst cheers.

He stated that the youths are the machinery to national development, and urged them to behave responsibly, stating that the future of this country lies in their tender hands. He expressed his appreciation that the youths of the SLPP were actively involved in the peace making process following recent outbreak of violence, adding that he highly depends on the youth to give hope to this nation.

He called on all and sundry to put aside what he described as petty things, whilst emphasizing that the attacks on the SLPP will be thoroughly investigated. He stated that he will personally follow through the investigations to it logical conclusion, and see to it that the perpetrators are brought to book, be them APC or not. "After that would have subsided, anyone wanting to throw a pin at the SLPP Headquarters will know how to do so", he pointed out, whilst guarantying that the matter will be investigated speedily and impartially, leaving no stone unturned.

"I will personally see to it that the damages done to the SLPP Headquarters during the two uncalled for attacks are corrected", he intimated.

The President jokingly asserted that he telephoned the National Chairman of the SLPP, Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin (JOB), who was not at the partys headquarters, informing him that he (President Koroma) has taken over the headquarters, and that JOB can only enter the headquarters after obtaining a visa from him.

He stated that he warned his securities not to follow him to the SLPP Headquarters, as he was of the conviction that his security was guaranteed at all times, especially in the midst of the peaceful SLPP partisans.

President Koroma used the forum as an opportunity to extend an invitation to the hierarchy of the SLPP, especially it National Chairman, JOB, to attend the forthcoming APC National Convention, whilst assuring that they will be given an opportunity to make statements at the said meet.

In response, the SLPP National Youth Leader, Malaam Janneh and former National Revenue Authority Commissioner General, Dr. John Karimu respectively expressed appreciations over the Presidents visit.

Malaam Janneh expressed gladness, stating that the Presidents visit signifies that peace has returned, whilst confidently expressing that "The SLPP will only win the 2012 elections if there is peace". He therefore called on the President to grant them the peace they deserve, as a legitimate opposition party.

Similar sentiments were submitted by Dr. John Karimu, who added that he had known President Koroma to be a peaceful citizen for quite some time now. He informed his audience of how himself and President Koroma were admitted in college the same year. "I was admitted in college minutes after President Koroma was, and same way will my party be ushered into power, after President Koromas rein", Dr. John Karimu beamingly stated, a comment to which President Koroma retorted thus: "I will have a second term".

Meanwhile, Victor Bockarie Foh, on his Friday visit stated that "The APC is very very sorry over the recent attacks on the SLPP Headquarters". As he repeatedly render unreserved apologies, he went on to describe the attacks as "Uncalled for" and tantamount to breaching the hard won peace. He said the APC is very committed to bringing the culprits to book.

Earlier on Saturday, President Koroma materialized at the central business district of Freetown, PZ, where he was automatically noticed by the jam-packed vicinity, and was accorded a resounding welcome. People from all corners where spotted rushing to have a handshake with the President, who was seated inside his black jeep. As the crowd continued to rise, the President routing Abacha Street was forced to climb down his car at Sackville Street/Abacha Street junction, walked amidst an overcrowding citizens atmosphere until he reaches the East End Police Roundabout. Female Street Traders at Abacha Street used their wrappers (known in the local Krio parlance as "lappa") as a carpet for the President to walk on from Sackville Street on to East End Police, where he boarded his car again, used the Goderich Street axis, and finally materialized at the SLPP Headquarters.

"The honour of spreading wrappers on the street for President Koroma to walk on reminds me of that which happened to our Lord and personal saviour, Jesus Christ. President Koromas honour nearly coincided with this years Palm Sunday, the day which is commemorated to mark that historic event in the Holy Bible", an elderly man commented yesterday, Palm Sunday.

Abacha Street Traders spreading their wrappers for President Koroma to walk on

The President also reportedly made a brief stop at the Stop Press Restaurant at George Street.

One need to see how love and support was been showered at President Koroma during Saturdays visits at PZ, Stop Press Restaurant and the SLPP Headquarters among other areas.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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