Leicester village clocks 200 years as Landor Woh Union calls for unity
The Loko Chieftaincy Western Area, Loko Tribal Head and the general membership of the Loko Union called LANDOR WOH at the weekend met at the Leicester Community in the Mountain Rural District to take a retrospective look at development, unity and the future of their children.
In his welcome address, Leicester Village Head, William Kalokoh, warmed embraced the meeting and happily disclosed that their community clocked 200 years last December.
He called on the meeting to observe a moment of silent prayers for the departed relations.
According to Chief Sorie Kanu, the purpose of the meeting was for the Loko Chieftaincy Western Area, the Loko Tribal Head Alhaji Alpha Saidu Sesay and the general membership of the LANDOR WOH Union to familiarise with each other and to further cement the need for unity among the ethnic group.
He disclosed that the Loko tribal leaders have divided Western Area into six zones, noting that Zone 2 comprised Leicester, Regent, IMMAT, Hill Station and Congo Town respectively.
The National Chairman, Mr. Abubakarr Sidikie Koroma, said that formally the Loko ethnic group was known for town and political clubs.
He said Dr. Sheku B.B. Sankoh’s initial intervention to unify the ethnic group was politicized, adding that after the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections, it was observed that the erstwhile Loko Association succeeded in disuniting the association instead of unifying it; hence, the emergence of the LANDOR WOH Union which he stressed comprised both Loko and non-Loko ethnic groups.
Mr. Abubakarr S. Koroma also disclosed that the National Executive heads of the ethnic group are all based in Freetown in the Western Area which he is serving as National Chairman.
He stressed that the union cannot achieve its objectives without the ceremonial chiefs, adding that the cost of membership card is Le10, 000.00, monthly subscription Le5, 000.00 and membership is open to those at 18 years and above.
The National Chairman disclosed that during an interactive meeting with President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, they prevailed on him not to forget the Loko ethnic group, adding that the President hearkened to them by nominating some of their tribesmen for ministerial, ambassadorial and other mouth-watering positions in his administration.
Mr. Koroma also pointed out that the National Executive Committee consists of education and agricultural branches with plans to incorporate the cultural branch. He said the union is supporting girl-child education at Bat Kanu in Bombali District as a result of the union’s realization that Loko girls lack the competitive spirit in education as compared to other ethnic groups.
The National Chairman noted that the union has also succeeded in prevailing on traditional rulers to pass bye-laws that would further protect girls from getting pregnant in school because, according to him, many of the male members of the tribe have taken predilection in marrying to other ethnic groups instead of their own sisters because they are less educated. This, he said, has to stop.
Mr. Koroma recalled that during the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in the country, the union provided three motorbikes, three trucks loaded with protective gears and mobile phones for youths manning checkpoints in all the Loko settlements in the Northern Region and Western Area.
He emphasized that the union intends to prove to the nation that the Loko ethnic group is not in the minority, adding that they also intend to bring all the Loko artistes together to showcase their talents.
The Community Relations Department Mountain Rural District, Inspector Omoh Anderson, said the police have been working amicably with the community, noting that without community policing the confidence of citizens would be dampened.
The officer maintained that their relationship with civilians has improved remarkably and that crime rate in the community is on the decrease as a result.
In his statement, the Member of Parliament for Constituency 92, Hon. Patteh Bah, said the Loko ethnic group is lucky to have Alhaji Alpha Saidu Sesay as their Tribal Leader in the Western Area.
He described the Tribal Leader as a blessed man and that the union should expect to see more of him, adding that an interactive meeting of such nature is just the tip of an iceberg.
The MP noted that leadership comes from God and that leaders should not be ungrateful but to be always grateful to their subjects.
Giving the background of the Loko Chieftaincy Western Area, Pa Alimamy Mansaray disclosed that the first Loko Tribal Head was Pa Kandeh Bangura of Savage Street, who was crowned in 1960. He furthered that Mohamed Kandeh Conteh of Aberdeen became the next Loko Tribal Head in 1974 followed by Bai Kandeh Kanu of Calaba Town, Alhaji Freeman, Alhaji Aruna Sesay and the current one, Alhaji Alpha Saidu Sesay.
He disclosed that many of them were dethroned for various reasons, including Alhaji Alpha Saidu Sesay’s predecessor.
In his keynote address, Alhaji Alpha S. Sesay expressed mixed feelings of happiness and disappointment.
The Loko Tribal Head expressed happiness because his subjects were present to respect his call for the meeting; while he expressed disappointment because of the low turnout and the conspicuous absence of most of the high-profile personalities of the ethnic group he invited to the interactive meeting.
He took cognizance of the fact that the Mountain Rural District is predominantly Loko and Limba.
Alhaji Alpha Sesay however lamented that since the 1960’s the Loko ethnic group had continued to lag behind other tribes because they were never proud of their own tribe.
He observed that Dr. Richard Conteh and Dr. Jalloh are not the only prominent Loko personalities but majority of them are hiding under the veils of other ethnic groupings in the North and Western Area.
He maintained that there is no planning without success and entreated all ceremonial chiefs to be pacesetters, adding that they have some prominent tribesmen who include lawyers, magistrates, doctors and many others who have consented to walk with him.
He concluded saying knowing your tribe is part of once religion.
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