...thanks President Koroma
October 6, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi
The atmosphere was pomp last Friday as residents of Sambaia Bendugu chiefdom in the Tonkolili district received their Paramount Chief, Alimamy Kulio Jallon II after a successful medical treatment in the United States of America for two years.
The heroic homecoming of Chief Jalloh was colourful as Kuranko traditional dancers and singers, in a jubilant mood, went from one village to another to show gratitude to the chief and his entourage.
A cross-section of illustrious indigenes of the chiefdom, including councillors and the Member of Parliament representing that constituency, were all in attendance.
The three days event, lasting from dawn to dusk, did not surprise the people of Sambaia as everyone in the four sections of the chiefdom had been expecting the triumphant return of the chief.
Elders, youths, women and children within and outside the chiefdom converged three days ahead of the event to prepare for a befitting welcome of the chief.
Special cloths were designed and worn by each of the four sections, distinct from the others.
PC Alimamy Kulio Jalloh is a member of the Kuranko ethnic group which occupies a large section in the mountainous region within north-eastern Sierra Leone and on the southern border with Guinea.
The Kurankos are regarded as peaceful and have peacefully co-existed with different ethnic groups in the chiefdom for years.
Sambaia Bendugu hosts one of the biggest mining companies in the country, Shandong, formally African Minerals.
Towns and villages are largely remote, lacking pipe-borne water, good healthcare and other basic facilities despite the huge concentration of iron ore, gold and other minerals in the chiefdom, while the road linking to Sambaia, the headquarters, is in a bad shape.
However, residents said they were pleased that their traditional ruler was back as he would bring his influence to bear on companies operating in the chiefdom and the government to develop the area.
“We are happy the chief is here today with us; he is our hero and we are ready to give him the best of our cultural dance, songs and all in our possession to offer,” said Sana Marrah, 40.
Mohamed Jalloh, a sibling of PC Jalloh, said the chiefdom had been very peaceful and calm since his brother left its administration in the hands of Chief Tamba Koroma as caretaker chief.
“The past days, all works have stopped in the chiefdom, not because we were forced but to come out in our numbers to welcome our chief. He has ruled this chiefdom for over 40 years. We do not have money to give to our chief, but we love him,” he said. “The chief has demonstrated leadership to his people and showed to us that he is indeed our leader. The Jalloh family is pleased to have got PC Jalloh to lead us in this chiefdom.”
There have been suggestions from different organisations for the reformation of the institution of chieftaincy in the country.
The National Council of Paramount Chiefs say they are committed to reforming chieftaincy to ensure it remains relevant and more responsive to the needs, concerns and interest of the people.
It is quite evident that the people of Sambaia Bendugu are well pleased with their paramount chief as was clearly expressed by caretaker chief, Tamba Koroma.
“We fought very hard in his absence to ensure that there is no Ebola in this chiefdom,” said Chief Koroma. “We achieved all of these because of the blessing and love Chief Jalloh has always demonstrated to us. I want to thank all of those who have been supporting our chief, especially Colonel Jalloh and Daniel F. Koroma for their relentless support to our chief. God will abundantly bless them.”
Responding, Chief Jalloh thanked his subjects for their enormous support and respect for his leadership. He said a lot of friends and indigenes of the chiefdom were very helpful in ensuring he got the required medical treatment.
He thanked subordinate chiefs for taking care of the chiefdom in his absence and for maintaining the peace and ensuring that everyone worked together in the interest of the chiefdom.
PC Jalloh further thanked President Ernest Bai Koroma, describing him as “diligent, committed and friendly”, having personally supported his trip to the United States. He said African Minerals workers were also helpful in giving support.
“I appreciate the colourful traditional displays; I hope this unity among our youths, women and elders will continue. We need to continue working together for the development of our chiefdom,” he said and assured the youths of his commitment to promoting youth activities in his chiefdom.