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Farewell Speech by former APC-NA Chairman Al-Aziz Turay

16 December 2013 at 01:08 | 1521 views

Fellow APC supporters in North America and around the world,

The Past Struggle

Comrades, for a branch I led for almost four years) as Chairman, I realize a two to thirty minutes statement is not enough to say good bye to the fine men and women I served; as such, I decided to make this statement to the branch and the wider world.

The past four years have been charged with tension, disagreements and challenges within the APC North America branch. Many people expressed different passions and intentions for different issues within the branch. Today, I want to thank the Almighty Allah for providing me the strength, wisdom and understanding to deal with each and every one of you throughout that period. I also want to thank the high-power Presidential delegation headed by the charismatic problem solvers: the Deputy Leader/Chairman of the APC Hon. Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray, Minister of Mineral Resources and the Secretary General of our party Ambassador Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh to resolve our differences. As I call it quits today, an interim executive has been announced without the presence of local, state or federal security personnel at the event. With that I say, A New Day has come to the APC – USA Branch.

Ladies and gentlemen, the past is behind me now, as I look forward to what the future holds. I cannot go back and overturn every word or statement made nor every activity that contributed to the conflict. I did not fix all the problems or heal all wounds of the past; but one thing I was able to do as Chairman of the North America and the Diaspora Alliance was to provide you a honest leadership in my own little way and thereby open a line of communication between us and the parent body in Sierra Leone.

Ladies and gentlemen, in the just concluded national delegate conference/convention in Freetown, I requested from the parent body to assist me in conducting elections for a reputable leadership in all the branches in the Diaspora. That request was honored, resulting in the dispatch of a thirteen-man Presidential delegation to the Diaspora that held consultations and put in place new executives to carry out their duties in overseas branches.

Furthermore, what I do know is that I now have a clear conscience and can go to bed with the belief that those problems have been solved. Therefore the current leadership now has the great responsibility to map the way forward so that they can once again continue to realize the true benefits of working as a team. I ask every one of you out there to give them the necessary support they may need and make this happen.

Comrade Hassan Kamara, our branch Secretary

A gentleman I can only call my trusted and reliable partner in the four years struggle. I say bravo for your commitment and steadfastness in discharging your duties. I have worked with you in good and bad times and what you have demonstrated to me through out this time is unshakable commitment and honesty to see that our branch and the APC succeeds as a political party in Sierra Leone. I have no doubt that you will work with the current interim executive to perfect your political union in the USA branch and our country.

The APC –NA Executive

To my dynamic executive, what great people you are! What could I have done without your dedication and support? You became my second family in life for sharing all the difficulties, pain and challenges over the four years period. I enjoyed the unconditional support and steadfastness you provided our administration; you made me who I am today in the political arena. You gave me the support and courage I needed to face every and any battle out there, you answered all my calls i.e. day, nights and mornings, you provided financial, physical and moral contributions to our party, you did genuinely all I asked of you. As I leave you all, 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”. The APC – USA branch owes you a great deal. Know that the branch would not have functioned effectively without your contributions. Your role in everything is very important and would be highly cherished. With that being said, I can only pray that the Almighty Allah reward you abundantly in all your endeavors.

Now to the general Membership of the APC – USA and the Diaspora branches:
I became part of this Presidential delegation because the President in his wisdom believes leaders have the ability to influence their people in various ways. As I hand over the mantle of leadership of the APC North America Branch, I still remain as Chairman of the Alliance. At this defining moment of our party, words cannot express how much I appreciate and respect you all regardless of the difficulties and challenges my administration faced.

I always know that your love and willingness to sacrifice for the APC is unimaginable. Together we have demonstrated once again, that we are capable of turning any situation and anything around. This is happening because we have the passion to see our party continue to win elections and remain in power for as long as it can provide for the people of Sierra Leone. We all know, over the period unaccepted and despicable things were said, yet we came out smiling as if nothing bad ever happened between us. This is part of our greatest strength and our ability to change things in split seconds.

From this moment henceforth comrades, we all have a responsibility to make this peace initiative work for ourselves and the common good of the party. Together we sacrificed our time, we risked our jobs, we deprived our families from their daily love and time, we used our resources in promoting the Aims, Ideals and Aspirations of the party, and along the line we lost good old friends and neighbors. We used our energy to attend meetings and participated in the democratic process of choosing our leaders all over the globe. We disagreed to agree and remained steadfast in our commitment to help our party succeed. Counting from it all, we now realize that we cannot work in isolation to succeed. Since team work is the name of this game called politics, I therefore appeal to every one of you to shoulder that spirit of teamwork so that we can once again turn APC – USA and the Diaspora branches as a political powerhouse people used to admire.

Lawyer Sorie Tarawaly - The Chairman, Peace Committee:

As my appointed Peace Committee Chairman, let me seize this opportunity to thank you for serving us in that capacity and providing us legal advice. I also want to thank you for your financial contributions towards the party. 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 North America and beyond. I ask that God almighty continue to grant us the blessings of seeing more of you around. Even though younger men and women like us are now taking part very activel, in the business of our country’s politics, we still need the likes of you around us.

A man called Pa Yamba Lawyer:

The 2nd in-command and enforcer of the eleven (11th) commandment of the APC, what a great fighter and spontaneous responder you are! Your loyalty and trust in the almighty Allah is impeccable. I have seen you at work in defense of our party, you have a gift that no one else can take away from you. You tell it as you see it. We need more of your kind in our communities. I know you can easily compromise where and when necessary, please play your role to uphold the 11th commandment (No one speaks or do negative things against a fellow APC member.)

Former Chairman Mr. Osman T. Conteh:

As my chief executive adviser, I say many thanks to you for accepting that position and worked with every one of us without malice; you are like every one of us, you love the APC with great passion. I therefore, on behalf of the good men and women who formed the great team in my administration, we take this opportunity to thank you very much for all the hard work (both in open view and behind the scenes) you have done over the years for this great political party. Please find favor in your heart to forgive all those you perceived you wrongly, forget their wrongful deeds because it is another great value of leadership. Invite nothing else into your life but the good favors of God almighty.

Reliable Allies:

To the following people: Mr. Alusine Fofana of Atlanta, Georgia, Madam Yabom Taslim Sesay-Koroma, Mr. Mohamed Lamin Fofanah, Mr. Alie Badara Kargbo, Mr. Abdul Sesay of Boston and a few others out there who did not initially support my candidacy nor voted for me, but turned out to be my greatest allies and partners in promoting the aspirations of my leadership. Let me use this moment once more to salute you for believing in the true spirit of working together as comrades in the APC. Therefore, to those of you who created and supported my candidacy, people like , brother Kebbie Turay of Pennsylvania, James Borbor KumbuSmart (WAJA) of Arizona, Pa C.B. Amara of New York, the great Victor Kinnie Simbo of New York, Mr, Hamidu Mansaray of Washington Seattle who worked with me from the start to the last day, I say you are the embodiment of our branch and party and I salute you graciously. I want you all to know that I respect you, I cherish you and I will always leave a place in my lion heart for you. I assure you to count on me and feel free to call if you need my help.

And to those whose support I never got, I love you too and I look forward to working with you in the future so, we can demonstrate the type of good leadership you seek to share with others; and for which I will be seeking your support.

The Voice of Wisdom:

I will do injustice to a gentleman called Mr. Banister Mansaray of Washington Seattle Chapter if I do not include his name in my statement; I want to thank you for your stance behind our administration. The administration appreciates you for your wisdom and understanding on how to manage complex situations. Of course Mr. Banister is a veteran police officer who served several branches of the Sierra Leone Police force. His service to the APC is immeasurable, he went through victimization from the SLPP regime of former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. He was thrown into Pademba Road prison without any reason other than being an APC supporter, a Limba by tribe and a Northerner. Wow… I pray that the almighty Allah reward him for his service to the APC.

To Ms. Nathalie Rogers-Wright:

My political story will never be complete if I fail to mention your name in this statement. Your sacrifices are in immeasurable, you are one those who create leaders. Your vigorous campaign for me and the administration, your resistance to several acts of intimidation made it possible to reaching the finishing line. You worked hard in support of our campaign financially, morally and physically. Your work will not go unnoticed so, I just want to say thank you and may the almighty Allah reward you abundantly.

The beautiful and lovely Women:

Need I say, you form the most important part of the party? Well, it took us (men) a long time to realize and accept the basic truth that we cannot do well in our politics without the effective participation of our women; but now we know and we have learned our lesson. I have always and will always appreciate and respect all the women, young and old, who are actively involved in the politics of our branch and country. You all represent the finest things that could happen to any group, be it a political group or otherwise. Your blessings are always an addition to our strengths and we welcome such blessings at all times. I enjoyed every bit of working with you and I pray that we keep the mutual respect and 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.

The Youth of the Diaspora:

With the motivational speaker Mr. Bai Mamoud Bangura, who doubles as youth President and Presidential Youth Aide, I have no doubt that he will serve as a good role model for all the youths in the Diaspora. So, it is my firm conviction that the APC party is able to metamorphose from every stage of its existence because of its ability to produce a vibrant and energetic youth league from which future leaders are spotted. On that note, I call on the youth to work with the interim executive to promote and strengthen our vibrant youth wing so that we continue to make leaders who will step in and fill any gap. Surely, our party secretariat will always tap into these young but great men and women that we vividly rely on to take the mantle of leadership now and in the future.

My baby Chapters - Minnesota and Houston Texas:

What a great deal for us, as a branch of the APC, we pray everyday for new supporters to join in our endeavors to see that the APC is successful at all levels. In line with the daily prayers, I now take this opportunity, on behalf of the branch, to appeal to your indulgence to give your genuine service to the branch and the party. Your turn out in numbers made me feel proud of you. With your commitments and caliber, we would not let such dynamism slip through the cracks. Know that I will personally monitor the Minnesota and Houston chapters to ensure that you take your rightful place in the APC – USA branch and APC Sierra Leone. I will share your pain and comfort you with my love to understand that we will find ways to compensate for what seemed like a difficult experience.

The APC Party Secretariat:

As for the dynamic Presidential delegation headed by deputy leader/Chairman Hon. Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray and Secretary General of our party Ambassador Alhajie Osman Foday Yansaneh, Chairman Western area, Hon. Momodu Alieu Pat Sowe, National & International elections coordinator the Hon. Leonard Balogun Koroma, , the Organizing Secretary the Hon. Musa Tarawaly, the deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, the President APC women’s Congress Madam Elizabeth Mans, the President of the Youth League and Presidential Youth Aid in the office of the President Mr. Bai Mamoud Bangura, the former vice Chairman of the U.K. Branch Me Yonnie Emanuel Sesay, I say thank you for all the work you do for the party and the people of Sierra Leone. As our party’s representatives and my fellow Sierra Leoneans, I wish to extend a hand of fraternity as I look forward to working with you on all on issues confronting North America and the APC. The branch needs you now more than ever before. As chairman of the Diaspora Alliance, I am appealing for an open line of communication with the branches so that every activity would be transparent and well-coordinated. The success of the APC is all we seek and in partnership with your offices, we would do great things for our party and the country.

His Excellency Bockarie Stevens - Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States:

To the honorable Ambassador, I thank you very much for your tolerance, resilience and high sense of accommodation and true love for our party. Indeed, you demonstrated to us in North America and to the rest of the world that when it comes to our party, you can take anything and I mean good or bad. Many thanks for your warm reception and opening you place for all Sierra Leoneans and for the leadership oversight. I doff my art for you and look forward to future engagements as a fellow Sierra Leonean, as my Ambassador and as a 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."

To the party Chairman/Leader and President of the Republic of Sierra Leone:
I say Wow to this gentleman - President Dr. Earnest Bai Koroma. I say, many thanks to you for dispatching a wonderful team of problem solvers of diverse caliber, who tackled various issues within the Diaspora. Your leadership style is unique and could be one we can only emulate in this party. On behalf of the great men and women of the APC Diaspora Alliance, I thank you for believing in this region and we in return want you to know that we have great trust in your leadership. We owe the APC that same level of commitment as we look forward to working with your government with a clean slate and on a clear line of communication so that we can consolidate our mutual and symbiotic alliances. The people of Sierra Leone voted you into office because you shared with us your leadership agenda which was digested and accepted as a way forward for our country. Therefore, the Diaspora as a region under the APC can only ask for your blessings so it could be strengthened and motivated to do more, better and better, again and again.

At this moment, I just want to thank each and every one of you for the numerous sacrifices and hard work you put to our branches and the part. I look forward to continued networking with every sector of the branches. I pray that the Almighty God inculcate a sense of community and love in all of us as we strive very hard to perfect our political union around the world.

God Bless the APC Diaspora branches,
God Bless the APC party and its leadership,
Long live our beloved country - Sierra Leone,
I say Peace, love and a sense of oneness in you all,

God Bless you.

Al-Aziz Turay
Outgoing Chairman of the APC North America branch,
Chairman of the APC Diaspora Alliance.

Editor’s Note: Aziz, who lived and worked for many years in Arizona, USA, has now returned home to Sierra Leone to continue to contribute to national development while serving as Chairman of the APC Diaspora Alliance which brings together all the APC branches overseas.