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Tribute: Recounting the words of Hon. Lavalie while at FBC

Tribute: Recounting the words of Hon. Lavalie while at FBC

My heart bleeds into a landslide of pieces, my thinking faculty goes into collision and then tears run down my cheeks like the river Tiber in Julius Caesar.  Am I still drunk with a spell or indeed the PEOPLE’S MAMA is gone to rest in God’s bosom?  (Photo: Late Elizabeth Alpha-Lavalie)

I came in contact with the Honourable Elizabeth Alpha-Lavalie when I was the Coordinator of the University of Sierra Leone Summer Tutoring Programme (UNISST) at Fourah Bay College. UNISST was founded by my humble self and the current Public Relations Officer of the University of Sierra Leone (USL), Ms. Titi-Lola Aforo.  UNSSIT was later approved by the USL administration to provide holiday jobs for students under the USL.  As the Coordinator, I was bent on ensuring that at the end of every academic year students are transported in places where pupils were deprived of better education.  Among those places that benefited are Fadugu and Lunsar in the North, Kono in the East and Jimmy Bagboh in the South.

Fortunately at that time in 2010, I called a general meeting at FBC Amphitheatre, and students from the three constituent colleges were in attendance.  One of the recommendations brought forward was that I am to officially write to private institutions and some Members of Parliament soliciting financial and moral support.  The recommendation was endorsed and I had to meet Hon. Elizabeth Alpha-Lavalie in the canteen at Parliament.  She did not only pledge her support but recommended that UNISST be embarking on such venture so that it becomes a national contribution from students.

She said very accommodatingly: “I am very happy for such initiative, FBC students over the years have been looked at in bad lens. We want to see students becoming nation builders and not nation destroyers. You have my support and blessing”.

In recounting her words, she practically manifested it when I was in Lunsar to meet with the erstwhile MP of Marampa Chiefdom Hon. A.O.Daramy (who was also the head of Education Committee in Parliament).  I received a distress call that one of the students, Mohamed Kabba, was sick and needed urgent medical attention.  Hon. Lavalie footed the medical bills which did not prevent me from meeting with Hon. Daramy and some officials from London Mining Company.

Oh God! Why so soon when the gap is yet to be filled?  I cannot cry because I am certain that she has been called by God to take a peaceful but everlasting rest.  Nonetheless, when grief over death, strikes us, it becomes difficult to be able to think rationally.

Indeed, though the heart grieves, most of us don’t know how to express our sorrow, or comfort those who need our support through some thoughtful words. Let me borrow from John 5:24-26:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

The fact that we will not be able to speak to Hon. Lavalie again, to hold, touch, smile, or even argue with her, is enough to make us feel vulnerable and helpless.  Life would never be the same without her presence, but it is important to move on, as she has been deliberately moved on from this journey of life to eternity.

Although she is gone at the age of 66, Hon. Lavalie left an indelible footprint on earth, despite appropriately serving as the first female Deputy Speaker of Parliament from 2001 to 2007, her father (Late Joseph Henry Tucker) also served in similar position from 1961-9167.  She prudently served as MP for almost 16 years until 2012.  She has served as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Chairman of the Human Rights Committee, a member of the ECOWAS Parliament, Second Rapporteur Foreign Affairs Defense and Security Committee, and distinguished member of the ECOWAS Council of the Wise.

She was one of the brains alongside President Ernest Bai Koroma who advocated for the establishment of the National Revenue Authority (NRA).  She was President of Women in Action, National Coordinator of the Women’s Movement for Peace and was a former Internal Auditor and Deputy Secretary General of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). Before her sudden death, she contested for the SLPP flagbearership in August 2011.

After being denied the SLPP symbol, she retired from mainstream politics and founded the Civil Society Parliamentary Advocacy Network in Sierra Leone.  The reason behind such formation was to educate the public about the functions of Parliament, and how CSOs could influence the ratification and domestication of international treaties and protocols.

Before she became an active politician, she worked as a banker for various banking institutions including the Standard Chartered Bank of Sierra Leone.  She was also a member of the Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.

I want Sierra Leoneans to join me and extend our support to the grieving family with warmth in our hearts, comfort in our words, and assurance in our actions that no matter what, we are with them during this trying time. I know that no words can help ease the pain and loss that the family is feeling right now.  As for the children, be rest assured that you are in our every prayer and thought.

As I rest with tears, let me tell the Tucker and Alpha-Lavalie families that “as you comprehend this profound loss, let us remember that she has been called for a new assignment”.  Despite her departure, her memories still remain captured in our hearts.
Let me state here that the life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living. REST IN PEACE MAMA.  We would continue to celebrate your departure. God bye.

The pain endured cannot be relieved, the loss can never be replaced, the memories can never be cast away; but with some amount of compassion, thoughtfulness, gentle words, one can surely help ease the pain.

by  Elkass I.L.Sannoh Pen of The Voiceless

by Elkass I.L.Sannoh Pen of The Voiceless

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