By Mohamed Mackie Wurie (OBBA, Admission Number 1926), erstwhile Secretary-General, APC Maryland Chapter, USA.
The spectacle created by Julius Maada Bio and his political handlers in the recent Old Bo Boys Association (OBBA) Easter celebrations in Bo, was appalling, provocative and clearly unacceptable. It goes against the uniqueness of the core elements of OBBA, which are its national character and non-partisan or non-political nature.
Mr. Bio and his supporters brazenly hi-jacked our OBBA celebrations and turned the events into a Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) affair. His supporters came to the prize giving day fully clad in their SLPP regalia to await his well-timed and orchestrated arrival at the ceremony. He deliberately came late to attain maximum exposure. His arrival, of course, produced a tumultuous reaction from his supporters, with much commotion and side-talk. This prevailed for the rest of the programme, robbing the event of its essence and usual dignity.
During the marching ceremony on Easter Sunday, Mr. Bio’s campaign organizers went even further to defile the usually serene and colorful event, by elevating their Presidential candidate to the lofty status of Grand Commander and Chief Patron, posting him at a special spot to review and salute the hundreds of Old Bo Boys, current students of the Bo School and the scores of his supporters who were tagging along in the marching ceremony.
This is the height of extreme maniacal and egotistical behaviour, which can only be expected from one who is dead confused about the glaring differences between OBBA and the SLPP. By OBBA standards and protocols, Maada Bio is a very junior fellow in our ranks. So what gives him the audacity to think that he has reached that imperial level to inspect and salute our ranks? What gives him the temerity to want to undo this fine and delicately woven fabric that we call OBBA? Mr. Bio should not make even the unintended mistake of destroying this fine masterpiece of a work diligently done by so many of Sierra Leone’s finest men.
Mr. Bio must know, from now on, that OBBA is an alumni organization that consists of the entire spectrum of political affiliations in this country, which include APC and SLPP, PMDC, UDP, RUFP, UDM etc… It is clearly NOT the same as SLPP. A good number of us, OBBA members, particularly this writer, are not going to vote for Mr. Bio, but for his opponent, President Ernest Bai Koroma, the APC candidate for President. The elections are about character, temperament and general fitness to lead our nation, and are not about choosing an OBBA favourite for President. By comparison, the stakes far transcend the miniscule concerns of our beloved Bo School, “our alma mata dear.” All patriotic Sierra Leoneans, particularly OBBA members who were rigorously trained to the tilt to think and behave national and not parochial, must be able to discern this difference and then act on it accordingly.
The current President of OBBA, a very competent man by the name of Dr. Andrew Turay, made several impassioned notations in his many speeches throughout the Easter week-end celebrations, to buttress the fact that OBBA is an apolitical entity and will therefore not be drawn into the divisive politics of the nation. His orders and recommendations were largely ignored by Mr. Bio and his supporters. They just went on with their pre-planned agenda of colouring OBBA “green”. Well, this is not the OBBA of the early 1960’s which was more or less synonymous with the then SLPP. Times have changed and so has the character of OBBA.
Yes, Mr. Maada Bio is one of our own members, but that does not of itself give him a leg up in our support for who is to become our next President. There are many and more important factors to be taken into consideration when making this choice. Being a Bo School Boy is not a sufficient condition, but may even lie at the lowest rungs of that ladder. In my opinion, Ernest Koroma far outstrips Maada Bio in all the relevant factors we need to examine before making one’s choice for President, and as Bo School Boys we are too intelligent and trained too well to think otherwise.
In the interest of fairness, I would hereby recommend that President Koroma skip this year’s Magburaka Old Boys Association (MOBA0 celebrations. If he however chooses to attend, then he must do so only as an ordinary MOBA member and not as the APC candidate for President of Sierra Leone. As argued above, I am certain that there are MOBA members who are not going to vote for him, but would rather do so for the hapless and rudderless Maada Bio. This is the nature of politics in a democracy. Because this is an election year, I would rather have the President miss this year’s celebration so as not to invite the occurrence in Magburaka of an imitation or clone of what unfortunately happened in Bo over the Easter weekend. Ernest Koroma is after all, the President, and much more is therefore expected from him. He should not want to bring out the indignance of his opponents in MOBA as Mr. Bio did with me and others in Bo.