December 18, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai
Incumbent aspirant for the mayoral position at the Freetown City Council (FCC), Franklyn Baba Bode Gibson, has claimed that he inherited debt of twenty million Leones (Le20m) when he was first elected mayor in 2012.
Mayor Gibson, who was speaking last Thursday during his official declaration to run for a second term of office at the Brima Attouga mini stadium, east of Freetown, said he has paid all the said debt.
He told his audience he was the only mayor in the history of FCC that took eight hundred and ninety-five million Leones (Le895m) from council’s internally generated revenue fund and disbursed it to councilors for development to their respective wards.
“When I took over FCC in 2012 most of the pupils in the municipal schools were sitting on blocks and stones, but I have been successfully able to provide desks and chairs for all of them. Some of the municipal schools were also in bad shape but I have been able to rehabilitate and reconstruct most of them in the last five years,” he said.
He revealed he had been able to construct and rehabilitate more health, market centres and schools from proceeds of local tax payment.
He disclosed that under his administration, he worked tremendously hard to commence the construction of a 16-storey administrative building, noting that the King Jimmy project, which cost about US$80m, will commence before the end of this year.
“In that project, we will have a guest house, shopping mall, comfortable relaxation centre, among other facilities, for our traders, including those who bring to Freetown vegetables and other items from other riverine communities through the sea to King Jimmy,” he said.
Mayor Gibson boasted that unlike some of his predecessors, he has completed five years in office without being investigated or indicted for corruption and misappropriation.
He also boasted that he has never untied a tied grant since his election as mayor and that he has never misused monies remitted from the central government to FCC for devolved sectors.
“All the numerous dump sites that were all over the municipality have been cleared and we were successfully able to manage our wastes by depositing them in a centralise site. But I want to make it clear that we should change our attitude by stopping to throw our wastes in gutters, the streets or in our neighbours’ compounds,” he said.
Mayor Gibson, who is fondly called ‘Man Na Ose’ by his admirers, said he fought the Ebola disease together with his councilors in Freetown through sensitisation and providing soap and Veronica buckets, and encouraging residents to wash their hands always.
“Sadly though, some people have been claiming all the praises for fighting the disease in Freetown. But let me tell you that I will never stop fighting for the progress of our people and this municipality as well. Very soon people will no longer dwell in slums. Plans are underway to relocate them to a comfortable place in this municipality,” he said.
He warned against violence before, during and after the 2018 elections and urged his supporters that they should maintain the country’s hard-earned peace because there is only one Sierra Leone.
On his part, Councilor Abu Bakarr Nylander Kargbo said that unlike all six of his predecessors, Mayor Gibson was the only one to have successfully completed his term without problem, noting that he has served as councilor and Mayor of FCC for thirteen years.
Aaron Boima, an aspiring Member of Parliament (MP) under the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party in one of the constituencies in Kono district, who works at the Sierra Leone Labour Congress, said Mayor Gibson deserves another term to complete his mission of making Freetown a better place for everyone.
The trade unionist-cum-politician said Mayor Gibson has constructed market centres for his members and assured him of the traders support at all times.
Members of secret society, traders, motorbike riders and drivers unions women and youth groups pledged their support to the man they believe is best to develop the municipality of Freetown.