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J B Dauda Once Believed ‘Country First Before Party’

J B Dauda Once Believed ‘Country First Before Party’

The remains of the former Minister of Internal Affairs in the APC Administration of President Ernest Bai Koroma, the late Joseph Bandabla Dauda, before his death on Thursday 1st June, 2017 in a Ghana hospital was paid his last respects by many who attended a civic laying out ceremony at the Mitta Conference Centre on Thursday 6th July in Freetown.

75 years old Dauda was born on December 24, 1942 at Bamawo, Nongowa Chiefdom, Kenema District and went to Fourah Bay College in 1967 where he graduated with a B.A. Hons and proceeded to the University of London to read law, and was bestowed with LLB. Hons and later called to the bar at Middle Temple in 1972.

Traditionally known for the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) as a member until the 1978 One Party Constitution swept him to joining the APC, Sierra Leone’s current ruling party under which he contested the General Elections in 1986 and elected as a Member of Parliament representing Kenema Town Constituency.

In the APC, he rose to become Minister of State in the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice (1988 – 1991); and Second Vice President, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice (1991 – 1992). When the APC was overthrown in 1992, J.B. Duada returned to the SLPP in 1996 and became appointed as Minister of Rural Development and Local Government (1999-2002), and Minister of Finance (2002).  In 2005 he contested as SLPP Presidential Flag bearer at the party’s National Convention in Makeni but lost to Solomon Ekuma Berewa, the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice and later Vice President of Sierra Leone.

He was later dismissed from Government by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and replaced by John Oponjo Benjamin as Finance Minister. Luckily for him, President Ernest Bai Koroma picked him up and appointed him as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation under the APC led administration, after Mr. Dauda decided again for the second time to pitch tents with the APC, a move that sparked off chaos in the SLPP which considered the act as betrayal and therefore suspended him from the party. In response, Mr. Dauda resigned his membership from the SLPP on February 8, 2011.

In his resignation letter dated 8th February 2011, he blamed his resolve on the decision of the SLPP to suspend him from the party, following his appointment by President Ernest Bai Koroma to serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

During the laying out ceremonies yesterday, many tributes attribute that J.B. Dauda’s political principle was putting the country first before party. While he was alive, he had defended this principle by blaming that the decision of the SLPP to expel him from the party following his new appointment by President Ernest Bai Koroma contradicts his principle.

At best, he was remembered for this statement: “As the decision of the leadership of the SLPP clearly contradicts my principle which I intend to continue to uphold and practice, I have decided to reconsider my membership of the SLPP. Accordingly, I hereby resign from the SLPP with effect from the date thereof (8th February 2011),”

While alive, Mr. Dauda served successfully as Foreign Minister and was transferred to the Internal Affairs Ministry in a cabinet reshuffle after the 2012 elections.

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