Opinion

Dr. Sama Banya (Puawui) VS APC’s Off-side Trap(Part 2)

19 December 2007 at 07:43 | 1089 views

By Abrahim Alimu Jalloh, Maryland,USA.
alimjay@yahoo.com

The 1997 AFRC Johnny Paul Koroma’s coup saw big vons
fleeing the country. As usual Dr. Banya stayed to gain
favours from the junta government.

This turned out bitter for him. Dennis Mingo, alias Super Man (RIP) and Sam Bockarie alias Maskita (RIP) accused him of plotting a coup against them. They spared his life by
giving him few heavy slaps on the head and face!

This humiliation paid off when Pa Kabbah returned from exile
in 1998. Banya was made Foreign Minister. But the hue and
cry of the nation against his incompetence made Pa
Kabbah to relieve him of his ministerial duties as fast
as he was made minister. He was returned to his former position of chief adviser to the President.

During the 2002 Bo SLPP convention, Charles Margai, as
the front runner against Pa Kabbah, was outlawed and barred from entering Bo town. Pa Kabbah went un-opposed. Dr.Banya, using some old APC tactics, also went un-opposed as
party chairman.Meanwhile the new APC was watching and putting in place new strategies to get rid of the SLPP.

Needles to say,Dr. John Ernest Leigh, who had worked
very hard for the party left the USA to vie for the
party’s running mate position when it was known that Pa
Kabbah and his adviser had decided to dump Dr. Joe
Demby.Dr. John Leigh was allowed to enter Bo town
unlike Charles Margai, but was not invited to enter
the convention hall!

The 2002 national general elections was nicknamed
WUTEH-WUTEH. Surplus votes in incredible abundance entered into the polling boxes for the SLPP. Dr. Banya never said a
word.He was a smiling man all the way to WUTEH-WUTEH! The APC did not go to court but quietly squeezed its way to become the leading opposition party in Parliament. Dr. Banya became jittery.

Relatively young and energetic APC members gave a face lift to the party and relegated the old guards such as E.T.Kamara,S.A.T.Koroma,Dr.Abdulai O.Conteh,Hassan Gbessay Kanu and et al to the back seat.They then infiltrated the SLPP.

As the saying goes "if you cannot beat the man,join him".
Before and after the 2005 Makeni SLPP convention, Pa
Kabbah and his adviser had appointed many
northerners: people like Dr. Alpha Wurie,Dr.Bobson
Sesay,Dr.Kadie Sesay,Alpha Timbo,Momodu
Koroma,F.M.Carew into his cabinet.And many more headed
parastatals.

It was like throwing water on the back of
a duck.Northerners,no matter how the SLPP pleases them,
would find it hard to vote WUTEH-WUTEH for SLPP.
What made things worse for the SLPP more than ever before was the nomination of Dr. Christiana Thorpe by Pa Kabbah
with the advice of Dr. Banya and her approval by the
SLPP majority parliament to be the Chair of NEC!

I had a chat with my cousin who remembered Dr. Thorpe who
had weathered the storm against her mission to refuse to spend her whole life as a nun. Who never took it lightly with her teachers and
students at the Convent School for Girls in Makeni. Who
withstood the guns and threatening remarks of
Strasser’s NPRC government as Minister of Education.

I told my cousin that Thorpe will never succumb like
James Jonah and Walter Nicol to SLPP WUTEH-WUTEH
votes.

The APC’s dream was always coming true and through.The
Makeni SLPP convention made Berewa,the most
unmarketable politician that ever lived,as party leader and
presidential candidate.Dr. Banya had sleepless nights
to see Berewa endorsed as party leader and forgot to
campaign for himself for the party chairmanship which
again saw him being defeated shamefully by Alhaji
U.N.S.Jah.

Charles Margai,the popular candidate for
the leadership abandoned the SLPP and formed the PMDC.
Ernest Koroma and the APC wasted no time and ’signed’
a marriage contract with Charles Margai from day one.

The SLPP conclave refused to see this as its
downfall.They were always boasting that they needed no
more campaigning for the elections since they had
finished doing their ’home work’! What led them to be
boasting like that?

The APC was at work, day and night.During every SLPP rally,the APC would come out in their large numbers in green
T-shirts,which they got from Berewa with five thousand
leones,and sang ’praises’ for the SLPP. APC youths would line up at Berewa’s house to collect their five thousand leones and T-shirts.

The APC pretended all these years that they were never
united which the SLPP saw as a weakness in the
APC. The APC organized court cases against and among themselves! Puawui was always writing articles demeaning and laughing at the
APC for their marathon court cases.

I saw it coming and sent my warning in some articles I
posted on the Cocorioko website and Concord Times news
paper:1)THE DAY OF RECKONING IS NEAR! 2)WHO KILLED
CHIEF HINGA NORMAN? 3)WHO IS FOOLING WHO...?

Some newspaper editors and owners(you know them)kicked against neutrality and openly warned and preached for the
SLPP.But the SLPP leaders never listened! Or to be fair to them,they did not know where the mysticism of the APC
success lies.

Ironically,the SLPP was in power with
all the arsenals at its disposal. But they were always
complaining that the APC wanted to rig the elections!
How on mother earth,especially in Africa, could a ruling
government let for the second time during a year
ending with a seven (1967,2007) an opposition party to win
an election? Every Jack and Jill,rank and file gave
their warning.

In August 2007,votes were cast and counting was going
on.Results were coming in and out as fast as the
whirldwind."...APC is leading...Ernest Koroma is on
top...Berewa the Bomber is trailing with a huge
margin...SLPP is losing seats fast..."

SLPP stomachs were rumbling like an earthquake! There
were frequent bowel expulsions in the toilets at home and abroad! There were frequent
seizures,collapses,blackouts,fevers,headaches that
professional doctors like Dr.Banya would never
diagnose!

I called a number in Kailahun.I asked for the
results.I was told that "Kailahun is for SLPP,but...!
The line went dead. What was that BUT?

I was later to know that the SLPP was banking on the
run-off elections.But where would they get the
desired votes to secure a victory? (the APC had already
got two points: One from the north,and one from the
western area).It was either in Kenema or Kailahun.

Kenema is a cosmopolitan city very similar to Southern cities like Bo who had demonstrated their disgust with the SLPP. Kono had seen their chances with the APC for a Vice President and a First Lady.Kailahun was the best bet.

The APC,with its seasoned politicians and smart strategists,knew about all the
SLPP plans more than the SLPP knew about them.To open the
box of Pandora,Ernest Koroma and Charles Margai,who
had just sealed their ’marriage’ bond,travelled with a
convoy of about twenty vehicles to Kenema. It was
peaceful and quiet in Kenema.They decided to travel to
Kailahun to test their strength.

Just at the outskirts of Segbwema in the Kailahun
district,far away from Kailahun town, hell was let
loose and the dogs of war were howling and barking like
doomsday was near!

Ernest and Charles made a tactical retreat to Freetown
and prepared for the final soccer match termed
run-off. Kailahun town-field was slated for the
match.

The APC-PMDC team had Lamin Vonjo Ngobeh,another son
of late Hon.Takplima Ngobeh, as the attacker.Ernest
was the goalie, Charles Margai,V.B.Foh,and William
Smith were the defenders.The pressmen were Karamoh
Kabba, Morie Mousaffa,and Nabay.

The SLPP team had Dr. Banya as the defender,John
Karimu,John Benjamin,and Momoh Pujeh as attackers.The
goalie was PC Mohamed Banya.The technical team were
Dr. Hindowa Momoh,Eddie Nyalley and Winston Minah.The
pressmen were Sia Tiayama,Morikeh Fofanah, John
Leigh,J.J.Saffa,and Dr.Muanah.

The commentators were Philip Neville,I.B.Kargbo,Tam
Mbayo,Sylvia Blyden and Kabs-Kanu.

The linesman was Angelo,and the referee was Christiana
Thorpe.

Prrr! The whistle sounded. Lamin Vonjo received the
ball,but his immaturity and the fact that he was a loner in the attack were impediments. Very soon, Dr. Banya, using his hands as cleverly as Diego Maradona against England,which the
referee and linesman did not see,made a quick pass to
Momoh Pujeh to the left flank. Vonjo cried foul and
relayed the message to the APC radio station in
Freetown.Pujeh, scared of V.B.Foh,the master
dribbler,made a quick pass to John Karimu to the right
flank.

Charles Margai and William Smith,professional
players,withdrew into the midfield leaving John
Benjamin,very desperate for a goal,standing close to
Ernest Koroma.

John Karimu made a quick header to John Benjamin.The
linesman’s flag was up for an off-side. John Benjamin
did not see it.He was focussed on Ernest and listening
to the thunderous cheers of the SLPP
fans.Simultaneously as the Thorpe whistle sounded for
off side,John Benjamin, who did not hear the sound of the
whistle,dropped the ball from his head to the
chest.From his chest to his left knee mesmerizing and
entertaining his fans.He passed the ball to his right
foot and gave Ernest a volley that even the American
Patriot Missile will not capture.

The ball passed through the post,burst the net and landed in Yenga.Dr.Banya ran maliciously and viciously towards
Christiana Thorpe demanding the reason for the sound
of that whistle. Thorpe clearly explained that the
velocity and the speed with which that ball entered
the goal was unacceptable. That John Benjamin was
off-side,and he(Dr.Banya)did not play to the rules of
the game.

The old Dr.Banya has forgotten the APC’S 99 tactics.He
was baffled,and kept on asking. Thorpe, very angry, expalined that the number of votes cast in the Kailahun
district polling stations far exceeded the number of
registered voters.Therefore the invalidations had to occur, etc.

The applause and shout of the APC fans was
deafening.They would not listen to anything but
VICTORY.

Berewa the Bomber,who was the captain of the team,and
Pa Kabbah the Manager, conceded defeat immediately.They
saw,as trained lawyers,the ’off-side trap’ from a
vantage point,and advised against a petition which
would be detrimental for the future of the SLPP.

Victor Reider did not wait for the APC fans to give
him an invitation for the victory dance.He fled to
Liberia and did not feel safe there. He jumped over to
Guinea.But Guinea is very close to the APC fans. He
flew over to the USA,land of democratic values,and
begged Ernest to restrain his youths,or else he(Reider) would never go back to Mother Salone.

The cup was given to Ernest Koroma’s APC team to
occupy the ’golden seat’.

Dr. Banya,who do you think is going to reverse that decision? Try to accept what V.B.Foh said about restructuring the SLPP.We need a complete change of old guards like you.Give a chance to the younger generation.We do no believe in continuity in conservatism.

The future and survival of the SLPP lies in a COMPLETE CHANGE.There is an adage in Mende:"Kpaku Ngahun gboa eh-ta bay-bay".The excitement of an adult should not be executed in excess.That should be done a little at a time.A child would say:" ...If you cannot leave,then get out of the way." Good night Puawui.

Photo: Dr. Sama Banya, alias Puawui.

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