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Meet SLPP Flagbearer Aspirant Dr. Alpha Wurie (SABABU)
By FRIENDS OF ALPHA WURIE
Jul 22, 2011, 17:19
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Dr. Alpha Tejan Wurie, erstwhile Minister of Education, Science and Technology, is among nineteen distinguished Sierra Leoneans vying for the flagbearer position of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).

As a result of his commitment and work towards the development of the SLPP and the country, Dr. Wuries name and good work is almost always in the newspaper pages and radio airwaves. He has also proved himself capable to partake in and win national debates. In this edition, we are reproducing the profile of this distinguished Sierra Leonean plus two news items that had been published earlier in local tabloids.


Alpha Wurie SABABU Wave Spreads Nationwide

By Michaal Walker (Guest Writer)
First Published on 4th November 2010

Since Dr. Alpha Tejan Wurie threw his hat into the ring for the flagbearership of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), he has been showered with praises everywhere within the country. He has garnered support from party delegates from Koinadugu to Port Loko, Kono, Bo, Kenema, Kambia and now Bonthe. The name Alpha Wurie keeps reverberating to the amazement of the distinguished academic himself.

It all emanates from the exemplary leadership he demonstrated while serving as Education Minister from 1996-2007 (the longest serving in the countrys history).

It was during this period that he initiated and successfully implemented one of, if not the best, educational projects on the continent SABABU Education Project which supported the girl child after having been discriminated against in terms of accessing education particularly in rural areas.

Little wonder his name is now widely associated with the project such that it has been adopted as his campaign slogan.

The deafening chanting of SABABU!!! by cheering SLPP supporters in Waterloo past weekend restrained Dr. Wurie for a while when he took the rostrum to utilize the five minutes allotted to him to address the audience.

The young, the old, the elderly, all listened with rapt attention as he made his points, giving him a round of applause each time the message appeared to be well digested.

Dr. Wurie based his address on experience which he said was an essential ingredient for good leadership. The crowds concurred.

That same evening he departed for the Bonthe district headquarter town of Mattru Jong to meet with SLPP partisans and delegates.

At the said meeting on Sunday 31st October 2010, there were praises all the way. The SLPP Bonthe District Chairman Joe Benya said in his welcome remarks: "Dr. Wurie was one of the strong pillars of SLPPs development aspirations. We have tremendous respect for him." He noted that the SABABU Education Project, the countrys biggest post war success story, speaks volumes.

The SLPP Bonthe District Womens Leader Mrs. Rita Savage on her part said throughout his over two decades teaching career Dr. Alpha Wurie is the best Education Minister Sierra Leone has ever had.

"This man opened up the system to accommodate and provide access to all children regardless of status. He enhanced and looked after our wellbeing and offered numerous opportunities to students in tertiary institutions. These are the types of leaders we need," she reiterated.

All the other speakers at the meeting hailed Dr. Wuries remarkable achievements as Minister of Education for which they expressed appreciation and gratitude to him.

The meeting climaxed with a question and answer session.

Dr. Wurie is currently on a tour of the country to formally inform SLPP delegates of his intention to run for the partys flagbearership. He has received very warm reception throughout.

Alpha Wurie Ends Nationwide Tour

First Published on 14th December 2010

One of the leading aspirants in the flagbearer race of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), Dr. Alpha T. Wurie has concluded his tour of the country to acquaint himself with delegates and sell his candidature.

His last trip took him to Kambia, Portloko, Kenema and Kailahun districts last week where he was heartily received mainly by teachers who pledged their unflinching support to him throughout the race.

Coincidentally, the bulk of SLPP delegates upcountry are teachers of long standing that witnessed first-hand the transformation Dr. Wurie brought to the education sector and the respectability he restored to the noble profession.

It was therefore no surprise that they endeavoured to avail themselves at meetings organized by the eminent academic each time he was in their respective districts not excluding the aforementioned.

One thing that came out quite clearly in all the meetings is that the teachers view Dr. Wuries political ambition as the greatest opportunity to have one of their own at the presidency for the first time in the countrys political history.

As far as they are concerned, several other professionals including Trade Union activists, Medical Doctors, Soldiers, Lawyers, Businessmen etc, have all led the country at one stage or the other so it is now the turn of teachers.

Although aware that there are other career teachers among the 23 SLPP flag bearer aspirants, teachers have pinned their hopes in Dr. Wurie after having critically analyzed the situation and weighed their chances very carefully.

It was deduced from their pronouncements that Dr. Wurie has a huge advantage over the others for a variety of reasons they systematically advanced.

First and foremost, they believe he is well known right across the country and therefore wont be difficult to sell when campaigning proper gets underway for the presidency. They are also of the firm conviction that it is only Dr. Alpha Wurie that has tangible achievements to point at in every corner of the country that have positively impacted on the lives of majority of Sierra Leoneans.

Since this is likely to form the basis of the 2012 campaign more than anything else teachers believe it puts Dr. Wurie in pole position to clinch the presidency well before the electioneering period.

Dr. Wuries exceptional ability to articulate well is greatly admired by teachers. They often refer to him as one of Sierra Leones finest orators. "He is a brilliant speaker, one of few personalities who can have an audience glued to their seats listening to him with rapt attention," remarked a Constituency Chairman in Kenema commonly known as SLPP Rogee, a teacher.

Dr. Wuries amazing conflict resolution skills which have earned him the reputation of a unifier is another reason why teachers think he is just the right man for the hot seat. Throughout the tour, teachers reminisced on the numerous tussles they had with him over improved conditions and other issues pertaining to their welfare, appreciating the brilliant manner in which he always rose up to the occasion until things worked out absolutely well for their common good.

Finally, their choice of Dr. Alpha Wurie is particularly driven by gratitude. This was expressed at every meeting. Teacher after teacher spoke highly of Dr. Wurie for doing his utmost to turn their lives around from mere beggars to average life.

They did not only appreciate him for raising their salary to an appreciable level but for personally ensuring that they got it promptly at the end of the month compared to the preceding years under the then nefarious APC when they used to collect their insulting pay packages once every six months.

Some other teachers were appreciative of the opportunity Dr. Wurie created for untrained and unqualified teachers to train and become professionals through the Distance Learning programme that has now gone moribund for the past three years.

Finally, teachers believe Dr. Wurie has the charisma to match President Ernest Bai Koroma.


Profile of Dr. Alpha Tejan Wurie, SLPP Flag Bearer Aspirant

Background

The name Alpha Tejan Wurie rings a bell in both SLPP and national circles for very many reasons. It is a household name that reverberates in every corner of the country whenever it is mentioned.

This was the man who took education from the doldrums in the country and raised it to a pinnacle, and was on the verge of taking the next big step when the party lost power in 2007.

Dr. Alpha Wurie: The erudite flagbearer aspirant

Born on the 13th November 1955 to a strong SLPP family, Alpha Tejan Wurie can be described as the embodiment of everything virtuous the SLPP is looking for in its leadership quest. He is of a rich SLPP tradition that places value on excellence, education and respect. Alpha Wurie hails from a politically conscious family that has contributed in no small measure to the general Sierra Leone society. His father Late Ali Dausy Wurie represented the party in the Port Loko District Council and later as an Alderman in the Freetown municipality. His uncle the late Dr. Amadu Wurie was a founding member of the party and the 1st Minister of Education after independence.

Thus Alpha Wurie is no stranger in the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).

He had his academic seed planted at the Holy Trinity School and Wilberforce Primary School, germinated in the great Bo School and the revered Sierra Leone Grammar School and blossomed at esteemed Fourah Bay College, where he graduated in 1978 with a B.Sc (Hons) Chemistry, second class first division.

This was a time when the epithet of Athens of West Africa, was richly deserved by FBC, for the quality of its graduates matched and even bettered graduates from other universities in the world. To have passed through FBC with flying colours in those times, one needed to be on top of your academic work while mixing with social and political asides.

Alpha Wurie was able to effectively balance that act without a tincture of hindrance to his academic output. He later proceeded to Brunel University, Uxbridge in the United Kingdom where he obtained his doctorate in chemistry.

A good profile of Alpha Wurie, must embrace some history as he is a derivation of a social culture that encompasses all regions, tribes and religions. His educational sojourns gave him a taste of Christianity - Holy Trinity and CMS Grammar School, while still firmly rooted in Islam, which is his first religious contact. From the cosmopolitan schools of the Western Area, he moved to the more traditionally steeped Bo School, where he learnt to live with all shades of people irrespective of region, race or religion.

He is intent upon appearance and conscious of tradition. At the time when the country was under the virtual dictatorship of Siaka Stevens, it was difficult to get young men to thump their chests in Freetown for the SLPP. Alpha Wurie joined the campaign team of an SLPP aspirant in the 1977 elections, Eustance King in Central One. He existed in spirit, was visible in flesh and constantly paraded the corridors of FBC Hostels preaching his partys ideology, without recourse for the consequences. It was no surprise therefore when the NPRC lifted the ban on political activities in 1995, he was one of the very first to seek patron membership of his beloved SLPP, and began to mobilize support for the party in Fourah Bay College, where he was lecturing then in the chemistry department.

Contributions to the Party

Alpha Wurie has played a pivotal role in the resuscitation of the SLPP between 1995and 1996. The party had just been given a fresh breath of air by the NPRC junta, but its history was distant in the minds of the youthful population even of those at the citadel of learning FBC. In a virtuoso display of political dexterity and historical acumen, he succeeded in sketching a graphic picture of the party to the student body then that the 100% literate body was able to visualize that SLPP was like and it attracted huge following afterwards. He chaired the re-launch of the party at the Adjai Crowther Amphitheatre with panache and left no doubt in the minds of students that it was the party they should follow. In the elections that followed in 1996, the SLPP won by a large margin at FBC, thanks to his mastery of political guise and solid personal touch.

His financial contributions to the party are immeasurable and transcend party dues. Together with a few people, they bankrolled the partys campaign in the entire Port Loko district in 1996. He covered every blade of grass in the Port Loko District to ensure recognition for the party in an area where the party has never fared well before then.

Financial contributions aside, Alpha Wurie has visibility and palpability in SLPP functions that few can match. His science background has given him an insight into the partys path for victory in the 2012 elections, with reflections in the past to see where it went wrong and lost power in 2007. The eloquence of his speech while delivering the keynote address in Makeni on Valentines Day in 2009 endeared many to his suavity and genius. The speech showed his research capability, political shrewdness and mental alacrity to the issues that led to the demise of the party while also charting a new path for regaining political power, Beyond that, the speech laid the foundation for the unity in the party while he served as the oasis of stability. He displayed a similar trait in the Kenema convention, when tensions were at fever pitch and almost boiled over, his expose fused the tension and paved the way for the election of an executive that is lauded by all for its all-embracing nature.

Personal Strengths

Dr. Alpha Wurie possesses qualities and strengths that make him a formidable contender for the leadership of the party. From the paths already trodden by Alpha Wurie, it is as clear as crystal that his candidature can serve as an important socializing avenue while also playing a vital role in ensuring cohesion among the partys top echelon and the rank and file and reposition it for victory in the 2012 elections. He has physical touch and a down to earth attitude that will break the myth that the party is too much of an elites tone. He is a man with respect for the virtues of political tolerance and patience.

His 11 years of dedicated service to party and country has demonstrated the above and given him vast experience in governance and administration. Backed by a strong political base that cuts through the western area, where he was born, the south where he acquired secondary education and vast array of friends and the north where he hails from accompanied by strong international connections, Alpha Wurie can serve as the buffer in SLPP, an oasis of stability and the key to success in the 2012 elections.


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

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