The turn out at the meeting was great. Chief Somano kapen had summoned a meeting of SLPP NEC Members which was attended by 71 (seventy-one) members. According to Lawyer Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie, former National Secretary General of the SLPP, “this is the largest turnout of SLPP NEC Members since the Party’s last National Conference.” Tejan-Sie disclosed that the SLPP NEC is comprised of about 150 (one hundred and fifty) members and one-third of that number forms a quorum for any NEC meeting.
The SLPP NEC comprises of all National Officers, current and former SLPP Members of Parliament, District Chairmen and five Regional Executive Chairmen
Prominent among those who responded to the invitation of the”suspended” Leader and Chairman of the SLPP Chief Somano kapen, was former Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Albert Joe Demby who was one of the Speakers at the Meeting.
Earlier it had been reported that former Vice President Solomon Berewa would attend the meeting, but on enquiry, this Writer was informed that he was ill, so also was Dr. Kadie Sesay for whom Christian and Muslim Prayers were said for her speedy recovery.
20 (twenty) current SLPP Members of Parliament were present at the meeting led by the Minority Leader of Parliament Dr. Barnadette Lahai and her Deputy. Dr. Barnadette Lahai also addressed the capacity filled Miatta Conference Hall.
One of the three Legal Advisers to the SLPP Abu Bakarr Shangari also attended the meeting and explained what he called “the controversy over the elections.” He summarised the controversy as he put it “some people want to play foul with the SLPP Constitution but the Leader and Chairman Chief Somano Kapen blew the whistle for foul play.”
He painstakenly explained the functions of the Leader and Chairman of the SLPP.
Lawyer Abu Bakarr Shangari quoted a legal dictum, namely, “he who seeks equity, must come to Court with clean hands”, and warned that “the SLPP is in a very serious state today so let this meeting not repeat the same mistakes of the purported NEC meeting.”
Former Sierra Leone Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Lawyer Foday Daboh also attended and addressed the gathering. HE said the Party was in a “very bad state and this meeting is very crucial for the survival of the party..” He warned against what he called “mortgaging the SLPP to an individual (who he did not name) and who has no respect for elders. That must stop”, he emphasised. He disclosed that some NEC members were not invited and infomed about the December 17th, 2016 NEC Meeting which he described as “unconstitutional,” and added “another palace coup should not be allowed in the SLPP.”
The second woman to address the meeting was former Member of Parliament Madam Zainab Kamara who described the meeting as “the authentic SLPP NEC Meeting.” She said “Law and order is being eroded in the SLPP” and stressed for the maintenance of law and order in the party.” She spoke about the “illegal occupancy of the SLPP National Headquarters in Freetown and called for UNITY in the Party. without which the party cannot win the forthcomimg elections.”
Mrs I. J. Kabbah, wife of former President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah was also in attendance and addressed the meeting. She said that “PAOPA has become a cancer in the SLPP” and “Chief Somano Kapen is the legitimate Leader and Chairman of the SLPP.”
She called for all those members of the Party who had been expelled to be brought back into the fold. She said “the next President of Sierra Leone is in this Hall.
Former UN Under Secretary General Dr, Kandeh Yumkella was also in attendance but kept a low profile; so also were Lawyer Timbo and Engineer Andrew Kelli, Emmanuel Grant who addressed the meeting and Dixon Thomas of Regent.
Former Leader and Chairman of the Party John Benjamin was also present and addressed the Meeting.
The opening statement was delivered by Chief Somano Kapen.
The PPRC was accused by some speakers of being part of the problem in this latest SLPP issue as it has gone ahead to hurriedly recognise the suspension of Chief Kapen as Leader and Chairman of the SLPP. President Ermest Bai Koroma was commended for addressing his Christmas Greetings card to Chief Somano Kapen as Leader and Chairman of the SLPP.