By Elkass I.L. Sannoh
It is arguably the first time Members of the Sierra Leone Parliament from all political parties, especially the two main political parties- APC and SLPP, have been strongly united towards a common purpose as they unanimously elected Hon. Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah as Deputy Speaker on Friday.
In fact it was the SLPP MPs that commended and nominated the young and dynamic APC MP, Hon. Chernor Bah, as the most outstanding and suitable person for the position of Deputy Speaker.
During the swearing-in ceremony of newly elected members of Parliament to the utmost surprise of many parties supporters and other guests, the SLPP members of Parliament led by the Hon. Komba Eric Keodoyema of Constituency 27 Kono District first nominated Hon Bah for the position. The motion was seconded by Hon. Ibrahim Bundu of APC representing Constituency 52 Port Loko District.
Making his contribution, Hon. Rado Yokie of SLPP representing Bo District said Hon. Bah deserved to be elected unopposed.
“He started manifesting his good leadership character at Fouray Bay College as a member of the Auradicals club,” said Hon. Yokie. He went on to say that Hon. Bah demonstrated leadership character as a member of the fraternity and also in students’union politics. He said during the last Parliament Hon. Bah associated himself with all members of Parliaments irrespective of their political ideologies.
Hon. Yokie took the opportunity to advise the APC to make good care of Hon. Bah as he put it, ‘our new deputy speaker is a good material’.
In addition, Hon. Paramount Chief Kanagbaro Sanka II, on behalf of the paramount chiefs, expressed optimism that Sierra Leonean politicians were now putting the country’s interest first and politics second.
“This nomination shows that Sierra Leone is united and the whole world will be surprise to hear this news,” he said proudly. He said as paramount chiefs they were happy to see politicians coming together to work in the interest of their country, and not for self.
Similarly, Hon. Alimamy Kamara of APC representing Bombali District said the election of Hon. Chernor Bah as Deputy Speaker is a clear manifestation of youth leadership. He advised Hon. Bah not to betray the confidence of the youth and should be ready to provide the right leadership example for young people.
“What the SLPP MPs have demonstrated show that Sierra Leone is above all,” he said.
The newly appointed minority leader of the main opposition SLPP, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, said she had two daughters and no son, but since Hon. Chernor Bah entered Parliament in 2007 she adopted him as her only son.
“My son is someone who does not believe in ethnicity or tribalism,” said Hon. Lahai. “He has good rapport with all Members of Parliament irrespective of political party. He absolutely deserved the position of deputy speaker.”
The incumbent Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Justice Nathanial Abel Stronge, also went unopposed for that position. All the MPs spoke good about the Speaker as they all commended him based on his past works.
Other MPs who emerged for various positions include Hon. Sheku B.B. Dumbuya as Majority Leader; Hon. Ibrahim Bundu as Deputy Majority Leader; Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai as Minority Leader; Hon. Ansu Kaikai as Deputy Minority Leader. Hon. Dr. Mathew Timbo became the Chief Whip of the APC, deputised by Hon. Claude Kamanda whilst Hon. Sidi Tunis of SLPP emerged as Chief deputized by Hon. S. B. Mansaray and Hon. Brima Conteh as Liaison Chairman for SLPP.