In November 1981, when Siaka Stevens decided to remove me from finance, he wrote, “Dear Sama, Elections are just round the corner and I know that you would like to make frequent visits to your constituency. I have therefore decided to take over the ministry of finance until after the elections.” Of course it was a ruse but at least he did not accuse me of any wrong doing. He even said that he would visit my constituency to reassure my people.
He did after opening the annual Kenema show. At Pendembu he informed the people that I had not done any wrong and that he had full confidence in me. That paved the way for me in those elections and I was returned unopposed even though I was away conducting primaries in Koinadugu district. E T Kamara conducted the primary in my constituency and would testify that Sylvia Blyden’s allegations about threats of violence are nothing but the lies that saturate her mind for mischief and dishonesty.
I was appointed minister of internal affairs with responsibility for local government affairs. Is spent the greater part of that year touring post election violent torn parts of the country. It was quite an assignment. In Bombali north and Koinadugu north east elections had been cancelled. Shaki began to complain both in cabinet and to a small group of us that he was getting tired and wanted to give up. It had become obvious from some of his pronouncements that he did not want S I Koroma his vice President to succeed him.
At the end of one cabinet meeting Tom Smith the leader of the House informed members to attend Parliament the following Wednesday as a bill was to be presented to the House which was a constitutional amendment. None of us had any knowledge of the contents of the bill. Abdulai Conteh, Edward Kargbo, Abu Kamara and I asked to see the President and invited E T Kamara along with Tom Smith to join us. At the meeting Shaki revealed that he was stepping down and that it was necessary that his successor was acceptable to the military, otherwise there would be chaos.
The proposed legislation to make the Forces’ commander eligible to be ELECTED to Parliament and hence as President was a private member’s bill which was to be introduced by Musa Kabia. We were able to persuade him that the procedure planned was not appropriate and Tom Smith was instructed to withdraw it. In Parliament the following week we were taken by complete surprise when we saw the same bill on the order paper and under a certificate of urgency. Abdulai Conteh and I spoke against it and when it came to the vote, S I Koroma who would be its victim voted in favour. I abstained.
The President had planned to visit the other section of my large constituency and I was frantically putting finishing touches to the last preparation for the visit. While I was out shopping the next day my Secretary sent a messenger after me that I was wanted at state house. On arrival his Excellency informed me that due to other pressing matters he had postponed the visit to my constituency. I let him know that the people would be greatly disappointed and I left. Shaki did not informed me that I had been sacked from his government. It was when I got back to my office that my secretary handed me the letter.
Other ministers who had failed to speak positively on the bill were shifted to other ministries. Musa Kabia’s private bill was later presented as an official document and it was amazing the enthusiasm with which my former colleagues, who had been silent, now spoke in support of it. Thus the way was paved for the army commander Major-General Joseph Saidu Momoh to become the official candidate to succeed President Siaka Stevens.
At the special convention of the APC both Abdulai Conteh and I were also removed from the governing council of the party and in the general election that followed I lost my seat but I refused to petition. Many of the people who were around in that period are still with us and can nail not only Sylvia Blyden’s but the lies of hose bought out journalists who continue to yep of my amassing wealth, or of introducing violence against my own people in politics. On one occasion during Momoh’s Presidency a large number of innocent people from Kailahun central were brought down to the CID headquarters on false allegations that they had attacked and destroyed property belonging to the Ngobeh family.
There was no evidence against them. I stood surety for the lot and they stayed with me for over a month. I told them to return home and no one raised the matter anymore.