The Year of the Un-Opposed by Ahmed Koroma | Fantasy History 12

On May 6, Akibo triumphed. And that song, the one about Akibo, became an instant hit and would forever remain part of the legacy of a community.

APC Central One, 
Na Akibo we want oh
Ah say APC Central One, 
Akibo we want oh
Ah May 6 oh, Akibo win election
For go na palimehnt 
For woke for di nation
Ah Nancy Oh, e lef pan you oh
Akibo Betts! 
Na man way we want oh
For we minister

Nineteen seventy-seven was a turning point in Salone (Sierra Leonean) history. It was one of the most intense campaign-elections in Freetown. [With] the Fourah Bay College (FBC) Student protest during Convocation, January 29, 1977; an attack by All People’s Congress (APC) party supporters at the Mount Auroel campus, January 31, 1977; premature dissolution of parliament, April 4, 1977; and a hurriedly held election on May 6.

It was the year of the "un-opposed" but in Freetown Central One the election was anything but 'APC un-opposed.'

The stage was set not (just) between the two major parties, Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and All People’s Congress (APC) but between the APC candidate and an Independent who was denied the APC symbol.

The SLPP candidate, Eustace King, was irrelevant.

Nancy Steele, popularly known as Mammy Nancy, was as formidable a candidate in the community as her opponent. But she was running against one of the most charismatic and enigmatic figures of the era: Alfred Abraham Akibo-Betts.

Native Freetonian Steele referred to Akibo as a carpetbagger. But Akibo had the support of then Themneh chief, Ya Alimamy Thorlu-Bangura. Steele's house was a block away from Ya Alimamy's -- at the heart of the constituency.

Mammy Nancy Steele had the support of the [influential] Krio community and beyond. And it all played out along Horton Street. There were violent clashes on several occasions.

But on May 6, Akibo triumphed and that song, the one about Akibo became an instant hit and would forever remain part of the legacy of a community.

"APC Central One, Na Akibo we want oh
Ah say APC Central One, Akibo we want oh
Ah May 6 oh, Akibo win election
For go na palimehnt 
For woke for di nation
Ah Nancy Oh, e lef pan you oh
Akibo Betts! Na man way we want oh
For we minister"


Source: "Forty Years Ago Today - The Song about May 6 1977" by Ahmed Koroma

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