The newly elected President of Sierra Leone Athletics Association (SLAA) Rtd.Maj Palo Conteh issued a strong caution to the Sports Minister, Paul Kamara and others that he will not tolerate any form of dictatorship towards the Association.
The former national track and field standout was on Friday November 20th 2015 elected president of the association in what could be described as a controversial election which did not have the backing of the Sports minister, Sports council and the National Olympic Committee of Sierra Leone (NOC-SL).
Addressing delegates and observers, before and after his election, Palor Conteh said he decided to run for the presidency because he wants be seen as mentor and inspiration for the athletes since he was once an athlete who knows athletics.
He said athletics over the years have lost its remarkable standing because of several reasons including external interference which he will not tolerate.
“Ebola didn’t dictate to me, nobody including the minister, no minister or politician will dictate to us as an association. If you want to challenge me, know that you are challenging an elephant,” Rtd. Maj Palo Conteh said.
The tall and athletic former 400meters runner also took aim at his other elected members that he has come to raise the profile of the association and they must deliver on their jobs diligently.
He said: “My aim is to develop the athletes and the sports, please consider me as your servant. For the other members of my executive, let all of us do our job diligently … because it is either you do the job or you quit the office.”
Palo Conteh and Dauda Sundufu Sowa both went unopposed for the positions of President and Secretary General respectively. However, despite the absence of other contenders for the two position, the delegates were asked to vote as per the associations constitution.
Conteh pulled 30 votes with two void votes recorded whilst Sowa secured 24 votes with eight voided. For the position of Vice president, Michael Felix-Rowe secured 29 votes to defeat Michael Kamara who only pulled two votes.
Martin Bangura was elected as assistant secretary general with 27 votes defeating his opponent who registered five votes.
Suma K Brima secured the same number of vote as Bangura to defeat Michael Sesay who secured five votes for the position of Marketing/organising secretary whilst Samuel Jalloh defeated Abdulia Conteh for the Public Relations Officer contest. Jalloh secured 23 votes whilst Conteh secured seven votes.