No political party thrives on ethnicity and regionalism in today’s politics, and the main opposition, All People’s Congress (APC) is no difference.
The party, founded in mid 1960s, has always cherished the ideals of unity and cooperation regardless of tribe and region.
No one should be left behind in the party’s business, and none should be discriminated since all are comrades of the same and one party. Oneness and togetherness was a path chose in the early years of its existence.
In its formative age, all tribes, regions, districts, towns and chiefdoms were represented in the party.
It was through this liberalism that the party gains popularity that transcends tribes and regions in Sierra Leone.
The party was also able to rule Sierra Leone because it allowed everyone to have a stake.
Those in Kono, Kailahun, Bo Makeni PortLoko, Kambia, Pujehun, Moyamba, Kenema and other towns play a role that keeps the party going even in the most difficult time.
Despite attacks the party went through in the decades, it was able to keep its head above waters owing to the unity. APC prevailed in almost all elections the party contested in history because unity was strength as almost all those from different regions played different roles.
It was through this unity that men from south-east regions became prominent in the party. The time is here again, as the party faces other critical elections that demand the unity and cooperation of all as one family.
APC would like to take back power from SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party) which has ruled only for a term.
The ruling party would not like to go in 2023 to avoid making a sad history.
No political party has ruled for only for a term in post-war Sierra Leone. President Tejan Kabba of blessed memories ruled twice, and former President Ernest Bai Koroma also ruled two terms before he handed over power to President Julius Maada Bio. But, it is now clear that APC has sustained its opposition throughout Bio’s tenure.
APC has taken on SLPP government on several governance issues forcing SLPP to know that the time to leave State House is up.
To ensure that APC takes back state command, the politics of ethnicity and regionalism should not be allowed to hunt and weaken APC in 2023 elections.
It now goes without saying that many of APC’s stalwarts are running for the party’s flag which each wanted to fly in the next elections.
The APC flag-bearer contenders are many, hail from different backgrounds with Chief Sam Sumana and Dr Samura Kamara being the most favourites. These two remain heavy political weights.
History has taught that Chief Sam Sumana was born and bred within APC, and has always gone the APC way. Chief Sam has been a committed party member who worked tirelessly to ensure that APC is alive today.
He became a member of a party he cherished so much even while he was away in the diaspora.
Feelings of nostalgia and eagerness to serve APC brought Sam Sumana home. Many thought he would go to SLPP upon his coming since the party is closer to home. SLPP was also the party in power at the time of Chief Sam’s arrival.
In spite of the commonalities, he threw his lot with APC at that time to ensure that the party took back State House.
Chief Sam did not spare any of his resources to make sure that APC achieved their goal.
Chief Sam made no mistake as the party took back State House in a manner that brought surprises to the minds of many.
Without any hesitation, Chief Sam became a tested and trusted lieutnant of ex-President, Koroma.
He served Sierra Leone as Vice President for over seven years, and left the party after he fell out with his former boss, President Koroma. Gossipers caused the fall-out.
Since APC is his root, Sam came back to boost the APC fight to take back State House because he believes in the party’s ideology. APC has seen much strength and revival after the return of the former Vice President.
Party members are witnesses to the strong campaign put by Chief Sam for honourable, Kadie Davies who was struggling to return to parliament after her seat was declared vacant in a petition upheld by the courts.
The former Vice President gave away his former status and campaigned for the MP to take back her rightful position in parliament.
He used the microphone to call on grassroot to vote for Hon Davies for the party’s effective representation in parliament. Chief Sam’s voice was never let down.
He got the votes he campaigned for and the female MP returned to parliament with pride and glory.
APC also saw first-hand Sam Sumana’s heated campaign for Issa Oye Kamara in the bye-elections in the Koya constituency in PortLoko district. The chief’s call for votes was also honoured.
Despite resources poured by SLPP into the people of Koya, they never got what they wanted.
Chief Sam must take partial credit for the victory as well other APC members who help him achieve the honoured goal.
The former Vice President is also ever ready to put up strength and vigour in next year’s elections if he is given the platform.
He has shown signs of putting up with every situation that confronts him.
When bullets were pelted at former Vice President by trigger-happy police officers in the northern town of PortLoko, he did not fight back, but maintained peace out of patriotism.
Failure by government to investigate those responsible for the violence against the former Vice President is the most embarrassing side.
When Chief Sam’s membership right still became a plight at the convention in the northern capital of Makeni, he still remained loyal to APC.
He however abandoned his own party, Coalition for Change which has eight seats in parliament for APC.
It is one of the biggest sacrifices Chief Sam has made for a party he is ready to take back to State House.
Many Sierra Leoneans saw Sam’s move as unnecessary when they look back at how he was treated by APC.
One of the most admirable statements of the former Vice President was the expression of willingness to work with Dr Samura Kamara if he lost the flag-bearer elections.
Politicians hardly make such declarations ahead of elections of whatever nature.
Dr Samura Kamara too has made his own mark in the country’s body politic. He has served Sierra Leone in many capacities as finance, foreign affairs and international cooperation as Minister. It was during his tenure as finance minister that Sierra Leone’s economy became the fastest in the world.
The two personalities are a real blend and they have much to offer to the party.
However, unity is needed for the party to get its mission accomplished. APC has reached crossroads, and must take hard decisions during such times to correct the errors weighing hard on the party.
Most of those from the southeast have left the party for their old root- SLPP with Robin Fallay’s defection being the latest.
Former Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Moijueh Kaikai has also left the party. Sources say the former minister is on the way to go back to SLPP. No doubt, APC would hardly make it in 2023 polls if Chief Sam is left out.
The neglect and discrimination of south-easterners within APC is gaining ground owing to Sam’s unfair treatment, and would become an evergreen topic if he is denied the party’s flag.