Africa Diaspora Leader to Convene Special "Unity" Press Conference As Sierra Leone Heads into Run-off Vote

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Sidique Abou-Bakarr Wai
 
[AN OPEN LETTER TO THE LEADERS AND PEOPLES IN THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE]
 
 
“Patriotism and Nationalism must trump ethnicity, political party loyalty, regional politics and guarantee the rule of law in the Republic of Sierra Leone”--Sidique Wai.
 
On the occasion of the much anticipated March 7, 2018 Presidential and Parliamentary election results in Sierra Leone just announced on March 13th, 2018, I must weigh in with this message to my dear countrymen and women inside our beloved country, to the Sierra Leone Diaspora, the business community, international observers and friends in our native country.
 
The results were fast moving and anxiety-driven and in my view, constitutes the most consequential election in Sierra Leone history. Special thanks to MAMBA TV for sending me the most recent and perhaps “official” numbers as noted below;
SLPP 43.3%
APC  42.7 %
NGC 6.9 %
C4C  3.5 %
ALL OTHERS 3.6 %
TOTAL VALID VOTES CAST 2,537,122 VOTES. 
 
Votes from 221 polling stations were cancelled for various types of reasons ranging from over-voting and fraud in those disqualified polling stations.
 
In providing my own personal views on this unfolding drama, I would like to state from the onset, my own credentials and involvement in Sierra Leone politics as I comment on the elections that just took place in Sierra Leone on March 7th, 2018. Please bear in mind that I do not hold any membership in any political party in the Republic of Sierra Leone, although my families in both the South and North are members of various national political parties in Sierra Leone.
 
In 2007, I was the selected choice of the then newly elected President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to deliver the “WELCOME ADDRESS” on behalf of the Sierra Leone Diaspora in the United States at the esteemed  Riverside church in Manhattan. My remarks elicited a “standing ovation” with the entire text of my statement published by local newspapers inside and outside the Republic of Sierra Leone.
 
In 2015, I collaborated with other well- meaning Sierra Leone Diaspora activists to protest the “sacking” of the then elected Vice President Alhaji Sam Sumana in violation of the Sierra Leone constitution.
 
In 2015, I also collaborated with a diversified cross-section of the Sierra Leone Diaspora non-governmental organizations, friends and philanthropic organizations and institutions to mobilize private sector resources to send medical supplies for the peoples of Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic. We  also hosted a spectacular Ebola Awareness concert held in the distinguished  United Nations General Assembly hall in New York City that was attended by the UN Secretary General and high level delegates of the three most affected countries, namely Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea as well as the United States, Ethiopia, Sao Tome, Italy China, Great Britain and other countries around the world. The event will go down in history as a fitting civil society intervention highlighting a world -wide epidemic that caught so many by surprise.
 
We further vigorously agitated several governments by protesting the “mismanagement of Ebola funds” by persons who were never held to account for their misdeeds. I even publicly –and politely-raised this sensitive matter directly with President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma during his High-Level session on Ebola, that further pledged to provide the three countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia with billions of dollars to “ rebuild after Ebola”.  I was invited by Secretary General of the United Nations to speak on the rebuilding efforts, which I was happy to do. Similar interventions and appeals were made to friends and to the Government of the City of New York to assist Sierra Leone during the tragic Mud-Slide in the country. 
 
During the Mamei Sam “ breast augmentation” crisis with little help coming to her family, I was approached by my brother Mustapha Wai, Niece Zainab Wai and nephew Alfred Jamiru to assist in facilitating the needed medical intervention for this young girl. Working with then Social Welfare Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden, I managed to seek the commitment of the NYU Medical team in New York City to provide free medical service for Mamei Sam. While the offer unfortunately fell through due to “politics” other people of goodwill facilitated the desperately needed assistance for the young and helpless young lady and her family.
 
Several months ago, I published several articles in Black Star News, urging our national leaders to conduct a peaceful and transparently free and fair election, while appealing to their supporters and followers to put their country first before party. Last month, I predicted that the March 7th, 2018 President and Parliamentary elections will end in a “RUN-OFF”. By the results just announced on March 13th, 2018, my predictions have come to pass.
 
Finally, I know a bit about elections as I too contested as the first African Diaspora candidate to run for Public Advocate of New York City in 2013 (a city-wide elective office ) gaining almost 14, 000 electoral votes that ended in a run-off as we are now seeing in Sierra Leone. 
 
One week before the Sierra Leone elections, I wrote an article that I posted on FACEBOOK stating that I will not be endorsing any candidate for elective office but wish my best to all the contestants. A huge number of people across the globe commended me on my principled and right stand. I am happy that I took that position and still continue to wish my best to the two remaining contestants as we reach the final step in this evolving contest scheduled to take place on March 27th, 2018.
 
In this message, I appeal to the Sierra Leone Diaspora particularly in cities of New York, New Jersey, Washington DC and elsewhere where there are large numbers of the Sierra Leone Diaspora to rise above party politics and join me and my Pan African Diaspora colleagues in co-hosting a SIERRA LEONE FIRST UNITY PRESS CONFERENCE in New York City on Saturday March 24th, 2018 from 12 noon to 2 p.m to appeal to our nation’s leaders to promote peace, security and transparent elections during the RUN-OFF ELECTIONS SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 27TH, 2018.
 
Those interested in becoming members of the host and planning committee of this event must RSVP directly to me via e-mail at wai.sidique@gmail.com, no later than Tuesday March 20th, 2018 close of business. Upon receipt of your plans to participate, you will be provided with a telephone conference call number to participate in an invitation- only planning meeting with the approved leaders only to decide on the way forward. 
 
This invitation is extended to all peace loving patriots of Sierra Leone from all political parties, as well as faith based, women and youth groups and all civil society including civil communities residing in the United States. Our country needs us during this time and we must respond in the name of peace and national unity.
 
Respectfully,
 
Hon. Sidique Abou-Bakarr Wai,
President and National Spokesperson,
United African Congress
 

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