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Controversy over President Bio’s daughter’s birthday image…

APC says it’s a trivial issue, cares only about people’s welfare

September 10, 2018

By Alusine Sesay

controversity

During the inauguration, President Bio handed over staff to his daughter

While some actors on the social media took a swipe on President Julius Maada Bio for allegedly giving the staff of power as a birthday gift to his daughter, Publicity Secretary of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC), Conerlius Deveaux, has on Saturday told Concord Times that, “As a party, we cannot react to such issue. All we care about is the welfare of the people. Anybody who subjects his or herself to such a trivial issue would not be doing justice to the country. We are a party that is well focused on governance and not issues that are very much trivial.”

Amina Lumbeh Maada  Bio turned  three on Friday, April 7th and her photo was circulated on  social media by some sympathisers and supporters of the Bio administration.

The image of President Bio’s daughter holding the presidential staff was posted on social media and certainly some members of the opposition had a meal with it, referring to the gesture as an absolute misuse of power by the presidency. Many have charged that the presidency was doing things out of the way as compared to his predecessors.

Ibrahim Alieu Kanu had posted on Facebook that “Why Sierra Leoneans are backing the president for such sacred national sin rather than condemning him? The staff is our sacred national symbol of authority which should not be used as a toy. That act is only happening in Sierra Leone because of our high level of illiteracy and sycophantic attitude. How can a whole sacred symbol be given to a toddler to pose with on her birthday, when did that staff become a birthday gift?

However, in a mobile phone interview with Concord Times, Presidential Press Secretary, Yusuf Keketom Sandy, debunked the claim, stating that the allegation circulated on social media was absolutely untrue.

Sandy narrated that the said photo of the child was taken on President Bio’s Inauguration day on May 12, 2018, at the Siaka Steven Stadium in Freetown and that it was posted by her mother, Madam Fatima Bio, to grace her birthday.

“That photo was taken during the inauguration of President Julius Maada Bio.You know the excitement during that day and they were all together when her father gave her the staff,” he said.

First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Madam  Fatima Bio, had on Friday ,7th,Sepetmebr posted on her Facebook page that “My baby, our Startime and Starline AMINA Lumbeh MAADA Bio turns three today. Hmm my heart beats with joy for you have made us complete.Saying we love you is an understatement. Happy birthday to the true princess of Sogbini Chiefdom. We wish you all the best in life, yours is not a normal life but a special one. Please guys help me scream for our princess by wishing her Happy Birthday. Happy birthday from daddy, mummy, big brother and big sisters. We love you dearly.”

Meanwhile, Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu, former diplomat of the Ernest Bai Koroma APC regime posted on his Facebook page that, “I love kids so much I feel bad that a child is at the centre of this new storm on the social media. Maybe, the parents should have avoided this by protecting the photo from public glare and the social media. Because of my love for kids, it is a delightful photo to me, seeing a child proudly holding Daddy’s Staff of Office, innocently. For the sake of the kid, I will hold off bashing the picture.”

He continued that “I do not know why it was done. Families do have humor time and the First Family may have been having their fun time with their beloved daughter, which is legitimate.

But in future, kindly protect the kids from the glare and storm of social media by confining such photos only within the family .Who knows? Little Miss Bio might become President too one day ( Many kids like George Bush, Uhuru Kenyatta etc ) followed after their fathers, which is also legitimate. Then the picture would become relevant and worthy of a million dollars. For now though , it reads negatively in the minds of Sierra Leoneans because, to them, it does not depict respect and reverence for the Staff of Office .I know the father or mother did not exercise good discretion in having the photo publicized in the social media , knowing the bad vibes that could emanate from having the symbol of office and power in the hands of a kid but I am feeling sorry right now for the young angel caught in the firestorm. Let us protect our kids, please. Let us stop thrusting them into such situations. It may be funny in the family living room, but not in the social media. Little Miss Bio’s time will come, certainly. Only God knows. I pray for her. She might be our President one day.”