In order to truly give honour to whom it is due and at the same time put an end to too much sycophantic awards in the country, SALONE TIMES editorial team has summed up its usual 10 Most influential Sierra Leoneans for the year under review.

1, President Julius Maada Bio– Julius Maada Bio is the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, having won the 2018 elections in a very tight contest between himself and the then ruling party candidate, Samura Kamara. In the build up to the 2018 elections, many of the analysts had written Julius Maada Bio off.

Some say, he was never going to be President because of his controversial 3 months spell as military leader of Sierra Leone in 1996. He was accused of being part of those who killed over 29 Sierra Leoneans extra-judicially. Amidst all the negative things being said about Bio, he was duly elected President of Sierra Leone on the 4 of April 2018.

2, Nfa Alie Conteh- Nfa Alie Conteh is the Chief Electoral Commission of the recently concluded high-tensioned 2018 election. Despite the fact that he was appointed by the then President, Ernest Bai Koroma, the ministers of the then President bad-mouthed Nfa when he decided to conduct the elections strictly by the rules. Pro-government civil society organisations also joined the bandwagon of lampooning the Chief Electoral Commissioner.

After the first round of vote in which the then ruling party lost, the Chief Electoral Commissioner and the National Electoral Commission was taken to court by a lawyer of  APC to stop the Commission for going ahead with the election and that they should  use manual system of counting. The court slammed an injunction on the process which delayed the holding of the second round of vote. After common sense prevailed, the second round was held. The elections showed the tenacity of Nfa Alie Conteh to ensuring a free, fair and credible election.

3, Mayor Yvonne Aki Sawyer– After working at the Presidential Priority Recovery Programme, Yvonne Aki Sawyer was awarded the symbol of the then ruling  APC for the mayoral election for the Freetown municipality.  Yvonne went into the election when the popularity of her party was dwindling in the capital of Sierra Leone but she proved she is a tough woman as she won the election with landslide.

Aki Sawyer even pulled more votes in Freetown than the Presidential candidate of her party, showcasing her popularity across party lines.

Recently, when Yvonne wanted to ensure transparency and accountability in the monthly cleaning exercise, the Deputy Minister of Local Government confronted her with insolence but the Mayor Freetown was able to show that she is above pettiness.

4, Hon Abdul Kargbo– Hon Abdul Kargbo is the current Member of Parliament representing the people of Constituency 77 in Port Loko district. He is the current Chairman of Parliamentary Youth Affairs Committee. His vibrancy and vociferousness in Parliament have actually shown that there is need for more young people in Parliament.

Apart from his meaningful contribution in Parliament, Hon Abdul Kargbo is among the few opposition MPs that have given huge support to the free, quality education programme by giving his own personal support to schools in his constituency.

5, China Nicky- China Nicky whose actual name is Haja Mariama became very famous when she entered the Big Sister House- an innovative TV reality show initiated by Zianab Sheriff and AYV TV.

Although she is an illiterate, but she was able to garner the support of all Sierra Leone across the political divide in the country. China Nicky is now the brand ambassador of Africel and Sierra Leone Commercial Bank.

6) Pastor Francis Mambu– The Christian Clergy Man has transformed Christianity in Sierra Leone. He is the Founder and General Overseer of Faith Healing Bible Church and the host of the SALONE For Jesus Crusade. Pastor Mambu is not afraid of speaking truth as they are in the Bible as well as preaching against the ills of society. Pastor Mambu is one of the anointed men of God in Sierra Leone.

7,Ishmael Alfred Charles– Ishmael Alfred Charles is the leading Philanthropist in Sierra Leone at the moment. He is not rich but has been able to provide succour to the poor and needy in Sierra Leone.  He became famous after he was able to provide help for Baby Mariam who needed help to do surgery in the India.

Ishmael was able to galvanize support for the baby and the baby ended up having a successful surgery. Ishmeal has been able to do that for many other poor people in this country, sparing time off his busy schedule to galvanize and harmonize support for those who need it.

8, Marcella Samba Sesay- She is a household name in Sierra Leone activism. Her contribution to governance issues is excellent. Because of her passion and dedication to activism, Macella Samba Sesay is now the Executive Director of Sierra Leone’s most credible Civil Society Organisation, Campaign For Good Governance.

9, Abubakarr Turay (KABAKA) His contributions to Sierra Leone entertainment industry has seen the young lawyer leading the transformation of the industry.

He recently hosted the ECOFEST in Sierra Leone, bringing artists across Africa like Patoranking, Kwame Eugine and others to compete with local artist in Sierra Leone.

Despite the few hitches and glitches, Sierra Leoneans gave their maximum support to the ECOFEST which saw a jam-packed national stadium.

Kabaka is the owner of Kabaka Multimedia Entertainment.

10 Beresford Bournes-Coker                                                   Chairman of the Sierra Leone Cricket Association {SLCA} Beresford Bournes Coker under financial constrains 2018 took the U-19 national team to the ICC Division 1 League. They emerged as the runner up in the Division2 qualifying tournament in South Africa behind Nigeria. The performance qualified them to take part in the ICC U-19 World Cup qualifying tournament next year in Namibia, March 2019. The Female team retained the NWACC Senior Female Champion trophy in Ghana. They have won the above trophy twice in a row. In the same year, the senior female team travelled to Botswana and took part in the Botswana Africa Senior female tournament were they emerged as runner-up. Female team brilliant performance sees them back in the ICC Africa World Cup qualifying. They are presently ranked 6th in Africa and 30th in the world. Under the regime of Bournes- Coker, cricket has been the only 11 man sports for both male and female that has brought laurels to Sierra Leone. The Senior Male national team is also in the ICC Division 1 league. The association also organized a junior cricket league which helped non cricket schools like St. Anthony Junior Secondary School to defeat the defending champions POW in the semi-final stage of the Sierra Eye inter Secondary schools cricket league.  The association also took the game to the schools nationwide.

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