From Awareness Times Newspaper in
CORRECTED: Al-Aziz Turay, Sierra Leone's Ruling Party Chairman in America Speaks
By Sylvia O. Blyden
Jan 23, 2010, 22:08
The newly elected Chairman of the ruling APC Party’s North America Branch, Al Aziz Turay has told Awareness Times that he was determined to ensure his Branch repeats the maximum financial and logistical support they rendered to the APC Leader in 2007 that saw him win the Presidency. Turay, who was speaking to this writer in an exclusive interview this week shortly after he won hotly contested elections, said “President Koroma and the APC will win 2012”. The full details of the interview will be published later. Meanwhile, a Press Release from the new Chairman is produced below.
|The newly elected APC Chairman Al-Aziz Turay|
PRESS STATEMENT FROM APC NA CHAIRMAN
January 20th 2010
Fellow APC supporters in North America; and around the world:
The Past Struggle:
The past seven (7) months have been charged with tension and disagreements within the APC North America branch. People expressed different passions for different issues during the conflict involving former Chairman Osman Conteh’s suspension from office and the creation of an Interim Administration which was endorsed by the President of our Republic. The said Interim administration, with the help and cooperation of the majority of the membership of the North America branch, and in direct response to the president’s appeal, took us to a convention last Saturday, January 16, in which a new Chairman was elected. I, Al-Aziz Turay, therefore feel honored to say, with humility, that I am that new Chairman.
I want to say that I cannot go back and overturn every word or statement that has been said in the past; nor every activity that contributed to bring about the conflict. I cannot fix all the problems or mend all the wounds of the past alone; but one thing I do know is that I now have a greater responsibility, which is to map the way forward so that we can once again continue to realize the true benefit of working as a team. I need every one of you to make it happen. To those who supported my candidacy and voted me into office, I salute you graciously. To those whose support I am yet to earn, I look forward to working with you so that you can help me demonstrate the kind of leadership that I intend to share with you; and for which I sought your votes prior to the elections.
To Messrs Leslie Allen and
To my fellow aspirants – comrades Unisa Kanu and Leslie Allen, I say bravo for a fight well fought. As I always say, there can only be one chairman at a time. I have worked with you two in good and bad times and what you have demonstrated to me through out this time is an unshakable commitment to see that the APC succeeds as a political party in our nation of Sierra Leone. I have no doubt that you two will work with me to perfect our political union in the North America branch and in our country.
Former Chairman Osman Conteh:
To former Chairman Osman Conteh, I say thank you for your passionate love and service to the APC. On behalf of the good men and women who had served in the same capacity as you did, I take this opportunity to thank you very much for all the work you have done over the years for this great political party. Please find favor in your heart to forgive and forget because it is another great value of leadership. I invite nothing else into your life but the spirit of forgiveness so that the good favors of God almighty will visit everything that you do.
The Honorable Ambassador Bockarie Stevens:
To honorable Ambassador Stevens, I say thank you very much for your tolerance, resilience and high sense of accommodation. You demonstrated to us in North America and to the rest of the world that when it comes to Sierra Leone, you could take anything – good or bad. Thanks for overseeing the entire process and for the leadership oversight that you provided through out the electoral process. I look forward to working with you as a fellow Sierra Leonean, as my Ambassador and fellow party member. We have a lot that we can accomplish if we all work in unity with the common but important belief that “We are one another’s keeper”.
The Honorable E. T Kamara:
To the honorable ET Kamara, commonly known as “Pa ET”, I salute you for your service to our nation back then and now. I thank you for serving as this year’s Convention Chairman. Thanks for your inspiration and your dedication to serving the APC and Sierra Leone. At a time in your life when most people would prefer to sit back and enjoy what life has done for them so far, you decided to use every bit of your energy in all APC business in the North America branch. I ask that God almighty continues to grant us the enjoyment and the blessings of seeing more of you around even as younger men and women like us now take part, very actively, in the business of our country’s politics.
The accreditation, Elections committee and Elections Secretariat:
If I say I don’t know how to thank the members of these committees, it would sound like I am not appreciative of the wonderful job that they did in the whole process. The heads and members of these committees represent what true democracy is all about. They have proved to us that when it comes to the APC, we can always count on their impartial leadership. I pray that the good lord continues to bless you and strengthen you for better assignments in future. The whole of North America, and indeed Sierra Leone, will remember your invaluable contributions to the development of our nation. I want all of you to be rest assured that I will always tap into the skills and leaderships that you all embody and demonstrated in these elections. God bless you all.
APC Party National Secretary,
Mr. Victor Bockarie Foh:
To Mr. Victor Foh, I say thanks for calling and congratulate me as the newly elected chairman of the APC North America.Â Many thanks also for all the work you do for the party and the people of Sierra Leone. As my party’s Secretary General and my fellow Sierra Leonean, I wish to extend a hand of fraternity to you as I look forward to working with you on all of the issues confronting North America. We need you now more than ever before. We want to make sure there is an open line of communication between your office and the APC NA branch so that every activity of the APC NA branch would be transparent and well coordinated. The success of the APC is all we seek and in partnership with your office, we would do greater things for our party and our country.
To all Chapter presidents of APC North America branch and all of their assistants, I say thank you and bravo for exemplifying leadership on a voluntary basis with such pride and commitment and with such high level of patriotism. You are the real embodiment of the true APC philosophy of “working for the good of all and never complaining”. The APC NA branch owes you a great deal. We cannot function effectively as a branch without your contributions. Your role in our success is very important and highly cherished. We need you at every level of our development endeavors. We appreciate you and we are ready to work with you every day to make sure that we achieve our governance agenda.
It took men a long time to realize and accept the basic truth that we cannot do well in our daily lives and indeed in our politics without the effective participation of women. Now we know and we have learned our lessons. I appreciate and respect all the women, young and old, who are actively involved in the politics of our branch and our country.Â You all represent the finest that could happen to any group of people. Your blessings are always an addition to our strengths and we welcome such blessings at all times. I will work to insure that we coordinate our efforts to recruit more women into the APC branch and work to absorb them into our branch executive. I pray that the almighty God continues to enhance that very softness in you which usually draws people closer to you and to any group you belong.
Part of the reasons why the APC is able to metamorphous from every stage of its existence is the party’s ability to create a formidable and active youth league from which future leaders could emanate. I will therefore work with all of you to promote and strengthen a vibrant youth wing so that our legacies would be sufficiently represented through the leadership of the great men and women that we would have produced as a result.
Newly Formed Minnesota Chapter:
We, as a branch of the APC, pray everyday for new supporters to join us in our endeavors to see that the APC is successful at all levels. In line with those prayers, I now take this opportunity, on behalf of the branch, to welcome the Minnesota Chapter into the North America Family of the APC. Within three months, this Chapter has been able to recruit more than 100 members. We would not let such organizational dynamism slip through the cracks. We will work with Minnesota to insure that they take their rightful place in the APC NA branch and APC Sierra Leone.Â In our quest to bring in these new family members, the normal protocols would be followed in accordance with our Bye-Laws i.e. verification of membership forms and fees, inauguration etc.Â I share your pain and frustration but understand that we will find ways to compensate for what seemed like a bitter loss. The fact that you decided to stay in the convention hall, after the decision not to allow you to vote in the elections, means a lot to all of us. We will respect your humility and work to enhance a vibrant partnership between your Chapter and the NA branch.
The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections:
This group sprung up over night to represent what seemed to me like the rudiments of democracy; which is the ability for people to conduct themselves in a free and fair manner as they choose the people that they trust and believe would represent them and their interests. Your role is highly recognized and I will work with members of the administration of the NA branch to bring about the kind of support that this coalition would need to participate actively in future elections not only for electing the branch’s Executive members but also at Chapter levels. Keep up the good work and count on us for the support you may need as you carry out your civic duties.
To the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone:
To President Dr. Earnest Bai Koroma, I say, thank you for your trust in our ability to resolve our indifferences and move forward with your government’s agenda. The APC North America branch is fully aware of the role we played in the 2007 elections. We owe the APC that same level of commitment as we look forward to the 2012 elections. We have great trust in your leadership and we look forward to working with you in a clean slate and on a clear line of communication so that we could consolidate our mutual and symbiotic alliance. We voted you into office because you shared with us your leadership agenda which we accepted and appreciated because of the trust we have in you. All we ask for, as a branch of the APC, is your blessings so that we could be strengthened and motivated to do even more.Â Â
To All Members of the APC NA branch:Â Â Â
Words cannot express how much I appreciate and respect all of you. Your love and willingness to sacrifice for the APC is unimaginable. All of us have demonstrated, once again, that we are capable of anything. We went from grass to grace and came out smiling as if nothing bad ever happened between us. This is part of our greatest strength. We all have a responsibility to make this work. We sacrificed our time and energy to attend the convention and participated in the democratic process of choosing our leaders for the NA branch. We did that voluntarily without asking for a dime by way of reimbursement. We disagree to agree and remain steadfast in our commitment to help the APC succeed. We cannot work in isolation of one another and hope to succeed. Teamwork is what we know how best to do. I therefore appeal to every one of us to assume the spirit of teamwork so that we could once again turn this branch into the real APC political powerhouse that it used to be.
I thank every one of you and look forward to working with every sector of the NA branch. I pray that the Almighty God inculcate a sense of community in all of us as we strive to perfect our political union. Long live the NA branch; Long live the APC; and Long live Sierra Leone.
AL-Aziz Turay - Chairman APC - N.A. Branch