Canada News

Meet ABK, the APC-Ontario Chairman

By  | 1 September 2016 at 04:35 | 2443 views

Abubakarr Kamara is the Chairman of the APC chapter in Ontario, the number one province in Canada.

I have had countless telephone conversations and email exchanges with ABK, as he is known to close friends in Toronto, but had never met him. Toronto is the largest city in Canada and a home away from home to thousands of Sierra Leonean immigrants and Sierra Leonean-Canadians.

I finally met with Abubakarr on a recent trip to Toronto and he was exactly as I imagined him: Cool, quiet, polished, polite. Sharp intellect. It was a pleasure to have a conversation with him on any topic but we could not avoid talking about about the increasing presence and stature of Sierra Leone’s ruling party, the All People’s Congress (APC) in Canada.

It has not been easy to have APC chapters and now an APC branch in Canada, the main reason being Sierra Leoneans in Canada hardly ever see dignitaries from their native country; most Sierra Leonean government officials usually fly into the United States to conduct official business like attending UN functions (New York) or World Bank or IMF meetings (Washington DC) and then fly back to Freetown. If they ever come to Canada it’s usually to quietly visit family members or friends. This is not a deliberate policy, it’s just the way things were.

But all that has changed. We now have a very vibrant APC-Canada branch that is always ready and willing to officially welcome to Canada any dignitary from the motherland and arrange meetings with Sierra Leoneans and potential investors in the country.

But in the midst of all this is the APC-Ontario chapter, the biggest and most vibrant in Canada, the foundation on which stands the national branch, APC-Canada. Its chairman, Abubakarr was elected in 2014. He is very popular and respected in the Sierra Leone community in Toronto.

Abubakarr, 51, was born and grew up in the Fulla Tong community east of Freetown. He attended one of the city’s leading schools, the St. Edward’s Secondary School, after elementary school in Fulla Tong. After high school he proceeded to Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, where he read Political Science.

After university in 1990, the civil service beckoned and the young Political Science graduate found himself in the strategic position of Senior Administrative Officer after a stint as Assistant District Officer, serving a long line of Ministers of diverse colours and hues. But the country’s brutal civil war (1991-2002) stifled the young technocrat’s shining career. He relocated to Canada in the year 2000, two years before the end of the war.

Today he works for the city of Toronto, dealing with housing matters. He is still using the skills he acquired in Sierra Leone as an administrator and manager.

Abubabakarr, who is a family man with three kids (two girls and one boy) is usually very busy because of the nature of his job but not too busy to serve his beloved Sierra Leone and Sierra Leoneans in the APC-Ontario chapter.

But his support is not limited to APC supporters in Ontario, Toronto to be specific. He is also involved in other Sierra Leone community activities. He played a prominent role in raising funds to help fight the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone.

After the first executive meeting of APC-Canada in Toronto recently at around 11pm, Abubakarr turned to me and asked me to accompany him to another Sierra Leonean event somewhere in Toronto that night. After a hectic five-hour flight that morning from Vancouver, I politely declined.

"Sorry, I will see you later. I have to go, I must go to this event, " he said and dashed outside to his car.

That’s ABK for you, a man of the people.