…joins President Siaka Stevens, J .S. Momoh, Tejan Kabbah, others
June 2, 2017 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Death has finally laid its ugly hands on another important statesman, Hon.J.B.Dauda, who served in various capacities until his demise yesterday in Accra, Ghana.
Joseph Bandabla Dauda was reported dead after a protracted illness. He was flown out of the country for urgent medical treatment in Ghana, where he was reported dead.
J.B. Dauda , as he was commonly called, was born on 24 December, 1942, in Bambawo, Nongowa Chiefdom, Kenema District. He was one of the leading Sierra Leone politicians, who retired from government service as Minister of Internal Affairs.
Dauda attended the Government Secondary School, Kenema and later proceeded to Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree with honors in history from 1964 to 1967. He then moved to King’s College, University of London -from 1968 to 1969 and acquired a law degree.
From 1972 to 1986, Dauda was engaged in a private legal practice.
From April 1987 to 1988, he was Minister of State in the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, and from November 1988 to September 1991, he was Minister of Trade.
He then served as Second Vice-President, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice from November 1991 to April 1992, when the then J.S.Momoh led All People’s Congress (APC) government was overthrown in a military coup led by Valentine Strasser.
Dauda returned to politics under President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah in 1999 as Minister of Rural Development and Local Government, where he remained until June 2002, when he became Minister of Finance.
Dauda sought the leadership of the then ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) at its national convention in Makeni on September 3–4, 2005. He took fourth place, with 28 votes, behind Vice-President Solomon Berewa, who won 291 votes, Charles Margai, who won 34 votes, and Julius Maada Bio, who won 33 votes.
Shortly afterward, on September 6, he was replaced as Finance Minister by John Oponjo Benjamin. Dauda could not resign from the SLPP until he was forced to do so by the then Chairman and Leader of the SLPP, John Oponjo Benjamin.
He was commonly called Ngo JB, especially among his native Mende People of Kenema. He served as an elderly statesman and whenever there was a dispute within the township of Kenema, Dauda was always consulted for his swift intervention.
Dauda was closely related to the former resident Minister East, William Juana Smith, and the current Vice President- Victor Bockarie Foh –and all of them have close ties with former President Siaka P. Stevens and President Joseph Saidu Momoh -all from the ruling All Peoples Congress.
Because of his strong eastern region connection, he worked with former president Ahmed Tejan Kabbh, who appointed him Minister of Finance.
The last days of Dauda, especially in governance, was not pleasant. As internal Affairs Minister, he promulgated a bill regarding a contract that was awarded for the production of Sierra Leonean passport.
Because of the controversy surrounding the passport issue, some six Civil Society Organisations called on President Ernest Bai Koroma to sack Joseph Bandabla Dauda and the Chief Immigration Officer, Alpha Kholifa Koroma, for what they described as an unpatriotic and fraudulent passport contract they awarded to a Lebanese national.
“We are calling on President Koroma to relieve Internal Affairs Minister and the Immigration boss for deceiving this nation and for engaging in a fraudulent passport contract. We are also calling on the anti-graft body to immediately take action to investigate these unpatriotic individuals,” the release stated.
Activists then claimed that the contract awarded to Netpage Company, owned by a naturalized Lebanese, Jamel Shallop, was in violation of the country’s procurement laws, thus calling on the anti-graft body to investigate the bidding process.
The activists argued that to own a passport was a right of every citizen not just travelers, and that the astronomical increase in the fees for acquiring the new biometric passport would marginalize the less privileged that may be unable to acquire it.
Despite all of those controversies, the bill was passed in parliament but at the end of it, JBD was relieved from office by President Ernest Bai Koroma.
As foreign Affairs Minister, J.B.Dauda was assigned by President Koroma to work with the government of Guinea to resolve the conflict between Sierra Leone and Guinea over Yenga.
However,Hon.J.B.Dauda was a fine politician and the country will greatly miss him. Traditionalists believed that he would join his ancestors and his former colleagues in governance.