There is hardly a tougher period for what has always appeared to be a Scramble for the North West District of Port Loko between the two Opposing Political Parties in the Country than now, when the conduct of the 2023 General Elections has become sacrosanct. Analysts have predicted nothing less than a fierce contest between the Ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party [SLPP] and the main Opposition All Peoples Congress [APC] Party with each hoping to clinch an overwhelming victory over the other. The Leadership of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party seems to be running out of patience with the People of Port Loko District for what President Julius Maada Bio has often referred to as a ‘lack of appreciation’. In an open address during his recent visits to the District, the President reminded the Locals about his unfading love for the People of Port Loko, citing how he has always picked up his Running Mates from this District whenever he had the opportunity to serve as a Flagbearer. ‘But that has never reflected in the Votes from the District at Elections’ – President Bio has often observed.

On the other hand, this same District is perceived to be the Political and Operational Headquarters of the All Peoples Congress Party, whose Electorate is always at its disposal. Whether this is the prevailing situation or not, is a question of wait and see, especially now when one of the ‘Sugar –quoted tongued men in the person of Alhaji Alpha Kanu has seemingly defected to the Ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party. It appears there would be no turning back for Alhaji Dr. Alpha Kanu whose nomenclature has already changed from both a ‘Navigator and an Apprentice to an AK 11’ upon his appointment as a Resident Minister with Cabinet Ranking in charge of the North West Region. Although he is in records to have said – this is now the ‘Evening Hours’ of his Life, Alhaji Dr. Alpha Kanu alias AK 11’ is appreciative to President Bio for according him an opportunity to serve in the Capacity of a Resident Minister in his Native Home and Region at this stage of his Lifetime. ‘That is the more reason why I will do anything that is persuasively possible in ensuring that the narrative is changed’ – Dr. Alpha Kanu opined.

The aging ‘AK 11’ assumed office with a barrage of sensitive concerns in the Region. It is therefore an undeniable fact that he has come to drum support for the Sierra Leone Peoples Party [SLPP] – a Party that is believed not to have been faring well with the Citizenry of this Nation especially in the North West Region. The bulk of People in this Part of the Country believe they have been discriminated against by unjustifiably shacking them from their gainful employments. Undoubtedly, the first complication for Dr. AK 11 is for him to debunk rumours that he is desperately working underground to replace Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh as Running Mate to President Bio in the 2023 Presidential Elections – a blood relation that influenced his appointment as Resident Minister, a rumour that has the potential to destroy the cordial link between the two of them. Another uphill task for Alhaji Dr. Alpha Kanu is how to market a Political Party whose reign is belief to have victimized and wrecked so much havoc in a Region with limited opportunities. Interestingly, the immediate test case for Dr. AK 11 has to do with the Bye –Elections in Constituency 073 in Lower Koya Chiefdom scheduled for 26th. March 2022. It is a Seat that has always been possessed by the All Peoples Congress Party at least in the past decade.

Alhaji Dr. Alpha Kanu has just served host to President Bio and his large entourage for 3 consecutive days in the sister Districts of Kambia and Port Loko which marked the start of his sleepless nights. He returned to Briamaya Chiefdom in the Kambia District barely 24 hours later to settle a dispute in the Community. He has also been to Thambaka Chiefdom in the Kareneh District on a similar venture. The ability of the Resident Minister for the North West Region with Cabinet Ranking to influence decisions and usher in support for the Ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party [SLPP] is now on the Spotlight. At Romendy Chiefdom in the Kareneh District where an Elected Paramount Chief has not been allowed to govern his Subjects for over one year now, could be a case in point. Similarly, the People of Marampa are closely watching how the Resident Minister would address the issue between Land Owners and the Directorate of the Marampa Mines where the Locals are demanding the immediate replacement of the Directorate of the Community Relations Department whose leadership is being accused for total disregard for the Land Owners. There is also the thorny issue of the Sierramine Bauxite Mining Company at Yainkaysa where Workers are languishing without salaries for nearly one year now. It all started after the death of their Chief Executive Officer and he subsequent Conciliation of their Mining Licence.

A Cross Section of the aggrieved Workers at the Sierramine Bauxite Mining Company stormed the Office of the Resident Minister in Port Loko City late last Week to brief him on their plight and ask for his immediate intervention. Sierramine Bauxite Mining Company has 95 percent of its Workforce as Sierra Leoneans. It started exploration in 2014 and was on the Mine Development Stage when its Chief Executive Officer died. This was followed by the cancellation of its Mining Licence. As a result, its Management is being marred with a lot of challenges. Senessie Rogers, Musa Turay and Abdul Rahman Alieu Fofana who spoke on behalf of their colleague Workers, informed the Resident Minister about their degrading status and how their homes were being broken due to the unavailability of their monthly salaries. ‘We have become so much indebted that many of us were now at loggerheads with our friends and relatives. Therefore, we are here to ask for your immediate intervention. We want you –Mr. Resident Minister, to help us get our backlog salaries and for Government to allow the Company to resume miming operations’ – the Spokesmen appealed.

The response of the Resident Minister – Alhaji Dr. Alpha Kanu to all the aforementioned concerns is somewhat unenthusiastic. He however promised to pick up their concerns with the appropriate Authorities. He admonished all to keep their cool and not to take the Law into their Hands. He said President Bio is a listening President and is always desirous to address the concerns of his People. I want to thank you all for using the appropriate approach instead of running in conflict with the Law. ‘I am your brother and Resident Minister for our Region. It is my duty to serve you well. So I will take up you concerns with the relevant Authorities and I am pretty sure Government, under the Leadership of President Bio, will make you happy’ – the Resident Minister assured. Alhaji Dr. Alpha Kanu received a thunderous applaud of affirmation when he asked whether they will all be ready to support President Bio in the pending General Elections for the development of Mama Sa Leone. But will President Bio give the People of Romendy Chiefdom their elected Paramount Chief and revoke the cancelation of the Mining License to Sierramine Bauxite Manning Company and allow the great AK 11 player to bring the first Batch of his Converts to the Sierra Leone Peoples Party. Is a million Dollar Question