February 8, 2016 By Sirajin Rollings-Kamara
The creme de la creme and all walks of life of the Port Loko District converged on Saturday January 30 in Port Loko to launch the refurbishing of the Bai Bureh Hall and to reactivate their flagship program, The Self Help Concept.
The program was chaired by the APC District Chairman, who doubles as the Leader of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Rassin Bundu. Dignitaries in attendance include Hon. Ibrahim Kemoh Sesay, Minister of Political and Public Affairs; Hon Isata Kabia, Minister of State 2 Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Osman Yansaneh, National Secretary General of the APC; Hon Binneh Bangura, Hon. Alhaji Alhaji Dumbuya; Hon. Baba, Hon. Abu Bakarr S.A.T. Koroma; Chairman Ahmid Munirr Fofanah of the Port Loko District Council, Mr. Kalokoh of Roads Management Fund, and Mr. Anthony Koroma, Commissioner Youth Commission, among many others.
Several statements were made on the way forward for the refurbishing of the historic hall.
Welcoming the crowd, the host MP Hon. Alhaji Alhaji Dumbuya, who doubles as chairman for the Project Management Team, thanked all for coming and encouraged them to be united as unity is strength.
Speaking on behalf of the Project Management Team, Secretary of the PMT, Sirajin Rollings-Kamara and Engineer Bashiru Kamara gave a synopsis of the work and a projected finishing time of April 27 instant.
On behalf of the fundraising team, Councillor Rugiatu Neneh Turay, deputizing the Chairman, Hon. Dauda Tombo Bangura, informed the mammoth gathering about strides made so far and how the sum of over Le200m has been realized in pledges and payments already.
A member of the fundraising team, Lawyer Ibrahim S. Koroma, intimated the gathering about future fundraising activities including the Great Dinner scheduled for February 13 at Hotel Barmoi.
Hon. Kemoh Sesay’s statement was brief. He thanked President Koroma for appointing Hon. Isata Kabia, a step in keeping the promise and as a result, had the latter speak so as to allow the young to grow. Sesay, a teenager then, played a significant role through the self help concept when Bai Bureh Hall was being built.
Hon. Isata Kabia called on all to work assiduously for the completion of the project and appreciate the support given her by senior party comrades.
In rebirthing the Self Help Concept, everyone was challenged to donate whatever little towards the project. A woman pledged stones and Le50,000.
It was amazing to see ordinary people show their appreciation by pledging their ‘widow’s mites’. This included several women’s groups. Indeed the Self Help Project, legacy of the late S.I. Koroma, resurrected again in Port Loko.
Councillor Neneh read a message from the Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Alpha Kanu. The message included a pledge of Le50m and an apology for his absence as he travelled with the President to Ethiopia.
Other Members of Parliament present all made brief statements in respect of their constituencies’ commitment to the project.
Other pledges so far include: Hon. Bundu Le 10m MPs (altogether) Le55m; Kemoh Sesay (Le40m – Le20m cash and Le20m in materials (half of these given already); Amb. Osman Yansaneh – Le 10m.
Other members in the country and in the Diaspora had pledged and made payments prior to the launching.
Prior to the launching of the project, Paramount Chief and MP Salu Ludgbu gave a brief history of Bai Bureh as a revolutionary fighter and S.I. Koroma, “whose legacy we are upholding today, a true patriot”.
The Bai Bureh Hall was officially opened on 17 February 1977 by President Siaka Stevens.
Secretary General of the APC, Ambassador Osman Yansaneh, officially launched the event and declared the project to start. He personally pledged Le10m and promised to have the party at national level contribute towards the project.
Unroofing and building of bricks formed part of the process.
There was a variety of musical and cultural displays including Millo Jazz, Bubu, Bondo and Ojeh.