We ran a series of articles last week on the scandal that erupted in Nigeria over the decision of outgoing Nigerian First Lady to hold a so-called Emergency Meeting of a peace mission of African First Ladies (AFLPM). The mission itself is not like the African Union where all African Nations are represented. On the contrary, this peace mission is recognised by only about half of the 54 Nations of Africa. It is also virtually funded by only Nigeria which hosts the Secretariat. For it to function well, it needs money allocated and most importantly, the blessings of whosoever is Nigerian President.
Now, the stated motive for outgoing Mrs. Goodluck Jonathan’s “Emergency Meeting” was to choose a new President for AFLPM to speedily replace her. Mrs. Jonathan’s “emergency meeting” was not only snubbed by most African First Ladies but it created an uproar in Nigeria and saw her dragged to court. Many saw subsequent selection of Sierra Leone’s First Lady Koroma as the new President of AFLPM, to be part of a scheme to deny the incoming First Lady Aisha Buhari from finishing Nigeria’s tenure as President of AFLPM.
Many Nigerian women vehemently denounced the “emergency meeting”.
At this newspaper we had pondered as to whether Sierra Leone’s First Lady will accept such a position under such controversy. Initially, numerous local and international reports had said she had accepted. Some on social media even openly alleged of plans being afoot by First Lady Sia Koroma to take this newspaper to court for our publicising of the scandal that she had been named in. To be candid, we actually never believed those claims of court case and had found them to be the usual social media amusing trash.
At the end of the day, the First Lady of Sierra Leone has yesterday issued a formal statement in which it is stated that she has declined the position given to her at the “Emergency Meeting”. That was the most sensible thing to do and so we heartily congratulate our beautiful First Lady Sia Koroma on her wisdom.
FIRST LADY DECLINES POSITION OF PRESIDENT OF AFLPM
26th May 2015
Office of the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone
Press Release On Presidency of the African First Ladies Peace Mission
The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma, was on 15th May 2015 elected in absentia, the new President of The African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM). The election was held at an emergency meeting of the mission in Abuja, Nigeria. The First Lady was represented by Prof. Khadija Hamdi, the First Lady of the Saharawi Democratic Republic.
The First Lady believes this honor by her colleague First Ladies in Africa is not only in recognition of the numerous works she has done locally and internationally since establishing the Office of the First Lady in Sierra Leone. More importantly, this is recognition of the resilience and positivity by the people of Sierra Leone in post civil war peace building achievement as well as the believe in Sierra Leoneans to overcome our present challenges.
The First Lady recognizes the huge post Ebola recovery effort required to provide socio-economic and cultural relief and resilience in this nation. With the alarmingly high number of children, adolescent young girls and women who are faced with diverse challenges, it requires every effort that the mother of the nation can provide.
Against this background, as well as other national considerations, the First Lady, in due consultation with diverse stakeholders, has respectfully declined the position of the President of AFLPM and has duly notified the secretariat of her decision.
The First Lady assures every Sierra Leonean, especially her fellow women and our children, that her first priority remains supporting national Ebola response and subsequent post Ebola recovery. Mrs. Koroma remains committed to the course of AFLPM and pledges to actively support her fellow First Ladies in AFLPM.