By: Foday Manneh
A youth group in the Upper River Region has launched a social media campaign calling on President Adama Barrow’s administration to appoint a young person from the region as the next Deputy Governor.
They also want natives to occupy important offices such as the regional Governor and Chief Executive Officer at the Basse area council.
The call came following the resignation of the Deputy Governor, Essa Conteh, a native of Gambisara village who vacated the office to contest in the just-concluded National Assembly election in the Jimara constituency, which he won.
Essa Conteh was appointed in 2020 to deputize for the current Governor, Samba Bah, who was then the Deputy Governor before being appointed to replace Fanta BS Manneh, the 2018-2020 Governor.
With the position of Deputy Governor now vacant, a section of URR youths wants President Barrow to appoint a native to the second-highest post in the region, and to also consider bringing well-educated, informed, experienced, and dedicated natives of URR as the Governor and CEO at the area council.
“I believe it is time now for the government to appoint and entrust key regional positions to the youths of URR,” said Alieu M. Kebbeh.
“As the Deputy Governor’s position is vacant, we have experienced and trained youths who can handle that position, and other offices like that of Governor and CEO of Basse Area Council. These are youths who are dedicated and have the region’s development at heart.’’
Lamin Waa Fatty also wrote: “URR needs to feel the sense of belonging. Let them give us a Governor who is from the region, who knows what we know, who feels what we feel and we promise to support him to the letter.
“All previous governors are not natives. Now we want someone from us who is humble enough to come and ask for help whenever it is necessary from the youths and the region at large. We are capable to serve ourselves better.”
Yuba Jawara, a youth activist, said: “We are demanding self-governance in URR. Now
we need both the Governor and Deputy Governor to be citizens of URR. We don’t want political appointments.
“We need people who will serve us and, when they are wrong, we can tell them their mistakes.”
Sambujang Sonko also believes having natives in such positions will help to promote and encourage inclusive decision-making in the region.
According to members of the youth group, only one out of the last five persons who served as Governor, including the current head of the region, was appointed from among the natives of URR under both the former and current governments.