At the official launch of Late President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah’s foundation, Sierra Leone music’s Godfather Jimmy B in a statement explained about his relationship with the late President. Below is his speech: Let me start out by thanking you Mrs. IJ Kabbah and the Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah foundation for giving me the opportunity to speak at this event I am grateful and humbled by this honor. The bible says blessed are the peace makers for they shall inherit the earth. This year marks the fifth anniversary since the passing of our beloved former president who I was blessed to have a very special father and son type of relationship with. Pa Kabbah as we all fondly called him was a man of peace… a patriot and a democrat in every sense of the word. I saw in him a man who made friends with everyone regardless of religious beliefs, regional or tribal background, political affiliation, class or social standing … what was important to him is that we were all Sierra Leoneans. I saw in Pa Kabbah a successful man who cared less about material wealth or financial gains, because as a man of faith he knew the true meaning of success and wealth is not material or financial gains but rather how one’s actions positively impact the lives of others and he knew that empty we came into this world empty shall we return. Infact he cared so less about money that he hated giving it away … he was a little bit tight fisted … from time to time when I would visit him at his Juba Hills residence after his presidency … he would shuffle the money in his pocket to take out Le 2,000 and call out his former cook … Albert, cam go buy soft drink for jimmy B … that was Pa Kabbah for you. Once he called me to the lodge after a state visit to china … upon my arrival, he took out a red shinny looking cloth from a box and said … look waitin are bring for you … arr know say you go lek am … Infact na two arr bring one for you one for junior, his late son.
Looking at the gift I knew it wouldn’t fit and to be honest wasn’t my style. But that was Pa kabbah for you. The last time Pa Kabbah had a gift for me was when he went on a state visit to Germany. I remember talking to Pa Berewa who asked that I show up at the state lodge on his return. I figured the old man went to China and brought me a red shinny cloth … naturally from Germany I was expecting a Fracesco Smalto jacket or Yves St Laurent blazer … well after descending the helicopter and after the regular protocol with members of his government, he approached me and said look waitin arr bring 4 u … in his hands were about a dozen DW magazines, with him on the front cover….i was like oh wow thank you daddy. Magazines were not the gifts I was expecting. I was a bit disappointed but that was because I didn’t see the big picture. When I returned home I opened one of the 12 magazines and in the middle page was a beautiful, inspiring story of me and my paradise family musical group, talking about how we were making a difference in our war torn country preaching peace and uplifting the spirits of our people through music. It was then I saw the importance of those magazines … you see what we use to take for granted meant a lot more to Pa Kabbah and now I truly miss those days. As members of the entertainment industry Pa Kabbah gave us the space to practice our craft … despite the war and many other challenges … he created a conducive environment for us to thrive. Being the most influential person in the bizness then with all the big name artists signed to my paradise record label and as close as I was to him he never once asked that I discourage any artist from singing anti government songs … he gave us all the freedom in the world to express ourselves through our craft even when at times we would go overboard. Many from within his inner circle would complain or suggest he put a stop to the madness as they saw it.
He would say:
“Bo….wance den nor go na bush
una lef dem mek den sing.”
what a leader…..
One very important thing I want us all to remember is that Pa Kabbah was truly a man of peace … infact an angel of peace … I strongly believe his mission, his purpose in life was to bring peace to our nation especially in those dark days. It is because of his bravery to attain and maintain peace, that yesterday we could complain and say … man dem angry oh and constructively criticize the government of former President Koroma and today complain and say di gron dry oh and constructively criticize the government of President Bio. We can do all this because there is peace. In the absence of peace you don’t have time to complain or criticize because you are busy dodging bullets. To Pa Kabbah we must all be grateful. A lot of people might ask why I’m doing this. Especially after the death of my 15 year old son a week ago today. My answer is simple. Pa Kabbah’s crusade to bring about peace to our beloved mama salone is bigger than the pain, the hurt I feel deep inside … by him bringing peace to our country, he laid the foundation for former President Koroma to build roads and embarked on other projects and now for President Bio to give us free quality education and continue with other developmental projects. Before I live this podium I want to thank you President Bio for your unbelievable support … thank you for accepting to launch the Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah Foundation … though I wish this could have happened much earlier … thank you for appreciating his enormous contributions in bringing about peace to our nation. For those of us who genuinely loved the old man we will forever be grateful. You have done this for him today … by God’s grace we will do it for you tomorrow. May the good Lord Almighty guide and protect you always. May he continue to give you wisdom, knowledge and understanding of all the issues that are to positively impact the lives of our people.
Friday June 21, 2019.
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