DISCUSSING ALPHA TIMBO BY PHODEI IBRAHIM SHERIFF

AN OPEN LETTER TO RETIRED BRIGADIER-GENERAL JULIUS MAADA BIO

Publisher’s Comment:  Alpha Timbo’s name has been swirling in Social Media circles immediately after the flagbearer elections.  People are rooting for him for the Running Mate position to Maada Bio.  Social Media is debating the following letter from one avid supporter of Timbo.  We are bringing you the most thoughtful opinions that we can lay hands on in the social media.

Dear Brigadier-General (Retired),

After a lot of contemplation and careful consideration, in my capacity as a Patron member of the Grand Old Party, the Sierra Leone People’s Party, and Secretary General of one of its vibrant North American chapters based in Houston, Texas, I hereby tender in this open letter to you, contents of which I ask your kindness to consider as you make that important decision of choosing your running mate for the slated March 7, 2018 Presidential election in Sierra Leone.

I submit this letter to you, considering the fact that this will be the second time you will be privileged to make an important decision that will impact the lives of millions of Sierra Leoneans who believe in, and stand with the Sierra Leone People’s Party whenever the party participates in electioneering processes in Sierra Leone. Your decision will have a significant impact on their lives – either for the better or the worse. And so, many of us do agree with your moment of silence on the issue of presidential running mate since your election as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2018 elections. We do agree with you believing that you are putting a very serious thought into the decision you will end up making; and by extension, taking a very telescopic look at the individuals who have so far presented themselves to you, or whom you might be thinking about to run with you in the slated elections. I am pretty convinced beyond doubts that you are taking a hard look at the individuals’ records as people; looking at their contributions to the party – especially after the party lost power to the All People’s Congress (APC) in 2007, their participation in the party’s activities – such as conventions, meetings, etc., and their connections with the grass root voters of the country, and especially in the northwestern axis of the country where the Sierra Leone People’s Party needs to make more inroads in order to clinch the presidency.

Brigadier-General sir, per the constitution of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, the presidential candidate, duly elected, uses his/her prerogative to choose any member of the party as his/her running mate. While the according of that prerogative seems very simple and casual, it carries a very heavy load of meaning, and plays a significant role in deciding the future of the party, and on millions of its members, supporters and sympathizers. In your case, I repeat sir, this will be your second shot at the opportunity. Of course, the framers of our constitution, at the time they were writing the party’s constitution understood that, in order that the president does his/her work effectively and efficiently, that he/she must be very comfortable with whom he/she chooses as his/her presidential running mate during electioneering period preceding their election into the office of President. Henceforth, understanding the premise you will base your decision on, you must also remember that the decision will be your very first leadership test. It is my hope and assurance therefore that when you finally decide on who you will be choosing as your running mate, that your decision will not be influenced by sentiments, emotions, trivial and unconnected personal relationships, miscalculations, poor analyses of the individuals, and poor judgment on your part. Rather, that, your decision will be another display of your patriotism – country and party before self – which is what the people of Sierra Leone are appreciating you for by their show of massive support throughout the country.

Brigadier-General sir, per the constitution of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, the presidential candidate makes this all-important decision in consultation with the party’s administrative leadership. Using your most frequently used word, “arrogate”, you cannot arrogate that decision all by yourself as that may be detrimental and counterproductive. The party can indeed not afford a repeat of 2012. And being elected to serve the Sierra Leone People’s Party, the administrative leadership and other leaders of the party understand that any critical advice they give you on this matter must be done in consultation with the internal structures of the party – including the diaspora branches – because, we are all in this together. Their advice to you on this matter must be free from sentiments, emotions, biasness, favoritism, miscalculations and callousness. The entire country is jittery – just contemplating on that decision you will make. Some of us are being contacted frequently on whether we have any iota of idea about who you will choose as your presidential running mate. So the decision is very important.

Brigadier-General, it is an open secret that some names have been floated around for the position under discussion,

Alpha Timbo

Alpha Timbo

and I want to use this moment to talk to you about one of them – Alpha Timbo. I am not sure how comfortable you are with Alpha Timbo, but many of us in the party are. We are comfortable with Alpha Timbo for several reasons: his simplistic approach to life; his grass root approach to politics; his understanding of the national issues; his devotion and loyalty to the Sierra Leone People’s Party; his endless services to the party and country; and the voting blocs he potentially can bring along to the party. Of course, the Sierra Leone People’s Party being a political party with the best human resources in Sierra Leone, surely makes it difficult for any member who is in your position to make a choice among highly qualified people – and that’s why many of us are patient with you as you take your time to make that important decision. Exponentially articulating further on this issue though, I strongly believe that Alpha Timbo will be the best candidate for that position. After hearing about his name since the 1990s when he was Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Teachers Union, I was always curious to meet him and get to know him more. My curiosity was satisfied in 2010 when we met in Fullerton, California, at an SLPP North American convention where I heard him speak about his candidacy for flag bearer of the party. I made my decision to follow Alpha Timbo’s leadership style and acumen from that day – and I have been with him since. When you look at the man and his mild-mannered posture, you may be convinced to downplay his abilities and capabilities, until you talk to him, or hear and/or see what he has done in public service. If I was in your shoes Brigadier-General, I will not scratch my head to choose Alpha Timbo because this man gets the job done. If one of the criteria you are using to vet the names in front of you is what they have done in the past in public service, I am pretty convinced that you must have chosen Alpha Timbo. First thing I noticed about Alpha Timbo is that he always takes up jobs in unpopular places, but then ends up turning things around for those places. He did it at the SLTU, Labor Congress, Petty Traders, SLFA, Ministry of Labor and Industrial Relations, SLPP Secretariat, etc. He always leaves positive trail of marks wherever he works. After working with him, I also noticed that this man has God involved in his daily life, in every decision that he makes in both private and public. And I am pretty convinced that you will be more comfortable with Alpha Timbo than any of the names we are hearing now. The last thing you need in your administration is a semblance of the Ernest Bai Koroma/Sam Soumana type of relationship with your Vice President. I foresee that happening with you and the other names. Remember that when you talk to Alpha to do anything, he hardly says NO especially when he is convinced that what you ask him to do falls within reasonable judgment, and within acceptable rules and regulations. You need someone who can deliver, who has been there for the party, and who has a clean record of delivering results.

On my final note Brigadier-General sir, I reiterate to you on the importance of the decision you will make about the running mate to you – that your decision will affect the lives of millions of Sierra Leoneans. Inasmuch as you have the prerogative to make that decision, it will be your first test of leadership, and a deciding factor for whether the Sierra Leone People’s Party will go in the direction of retrogression or progression. Your choice must meet all the thresholds of success – it must be about someone who has the potential to make a serious dent into the APC northwestern votes. As many say, they know you will choose Alpha Timbo, please make the choice using the prerogative the constitution has accorded you. I pray for the Almighty God to guide you as you make that very important decision.

Yours in Democracy,

Phodei Ibrahim Sheriff

Patron, SLPP

2 Comments on "DISCUSSING ALPHA TIMBO BY PHODEI IBRAHIM SHERIFF"

  1. JOHN BENN-HIRSCH ASKS, WHO SAYS WE WANT A TRAITOR FOR A VICE PRESIDENT?

    If what you are saying is true, that is who Alpha Timbo is and that alone disqualifies him from being a Running Mate.

    That nonsense argument aside, a running mate is not someone who you like but someone that can help you win by delivering something you do not have.
    Timbo does not have anything different from Bio and has even less as he never won an election for Flagbearer he ran in and recently backed out cowardly from the flagbearer race to endorse Bio failing to show the people that he had the fortitude to go all the way and also showing that he could not be trusted to STAND UP when things get tough but exit sideways.

    We need someone made of sterner stuff than that as the APC is not going to be easy to defeat and the battle will be after the last vote is cast not just before or during.

    If what you say is true, Timbo showed that he is not reliable and if he had already been beaten once by Kandeh in the SLPP what makes him think he will again in the same area in the North which will now also have the APC, ADP, C4C, and more like Musa Tarawalie??
    The objective is to have a running mate that will help Maada AND THE SLPP WIN, not some bromance that will make us lose the elections.
    Dr. Kadie Sesay looked good on paper last time and led to a disaster where we were whooped in all of the constituencies they claimed she would deliver, women and northwestern vote.

    We do not need another paper tiger to derail an SLPP victory.

    We have a chance knowing the choices of the APC and our recently departed people in the NGC.

    Bio has to go bold or be broke.
    Simple – Manyeh can give us Kono almost beat the current Chairman were it not for Maada and in 5 years can step down for a successor to Maada if all goes well.

    Tick tock…..

  2. Response from Stephen Manah

    Great analysis and assessment John. I was disappointed when Timbo left the race to “work with Maada” (Maada’s words, not mine) which portrayed him as a weakling. This could be one of the reasons Maada is dilly-dallying to pick him as a running mate and I don’t think he will, otherwise why the very long delay?

    Politics is brutal and most times it’s a game of chance. Timbo and Kandeh were the two leading “Northern candidates”. Then, Kandeh left which was all the more reason for Timbo to have stayed in the race – to demonstrate his standing in the North and in the Party. Instead, he backed out and supported Maada (which Maada did not really need).

    Now, there is nothing he can show to lay a solid claim on the ticket except that he is a nice chap with unquestionable loyalty to the Party.

    By supporting Maada with an eye on the #2 spot, Timbo did not understand that most times running mates are picked because they were adversaries and are picked to complement, not supplement, the ticket. It may have been, but I don’t know of any FB here or in Africa who has picked a running mate because they were friends, or because of his or her prior support of the candidate.

    The choice of RM is Maada’s decision and his only. However, in the interest of the Party and the campaign, Maada should take his pick, Timbo or non-Tombo, now as time is up.

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