Indications reaching this paper are that the All Peoples Congress (APC) led by President Koroma as Chairman, Leader and 2012 Presidential Candidate and the United Democratic Movement (UDM) led by Mohamed Bangura as Chairman, Leader and 2012 Presidential Candidate might soon fall apart or at least, cease their non-formal working alliance.
The impending APC-UDM brou-ha-ha is predicted to be one that will be full of fireworks as the two political entities slug it out on the political landscape in a spectacular manner which is akin to the type locally dubbed as “scatter crowd”.
All efforts to contact the two leaders or their spokesmen yesterday July 10th 2012 proved futile but other competent sources confirm the UDM Presidential candidate is “furious and gravely disappointed” over Koroma’s recent awarding of Sierra Leone’s Offshore Oil Exploration Blocks.
A senior UDM executive, speaking on condition of anonymity said UDM “might soon be issuing a press statement condemning corruption within APC”.
The main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) is also reported to be planning to issue out a release condemning the awards. If this happens and UDM also carries out what our sources claim, this will see UDM and SLPP coming out to strongly condemn the APC.
It is a fact that despite strenuous denials otherwise by UDM and APC executives, the UDM has been long demonized by SLPP to be nothing other than a tool of the APC. Interestingly, SLPP has never been able to provide concrete proof of their suspicions. If our sources prove to be correct, the significance of a UDM-SLPP Joint Effort with elections just four months away will be politically very interesting.
“For so long now, we have been labeled as an APC appendage but this is the time that people of Sierra Leone will know the UDM is an independent political party,” one of our UDM sources said.
Another interesting development this week was peace-making between another key political entity Charles Margai of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) and his erstwhile political enemy, the APC President Koroma.
UDM is an offshoot of the PMDC which was formed when PMDC’s Margai broke off his alliance with APC a few years back. That bitterness between PMDC and APC seemed to have ended this week if utterances by Margai are anything to go by.
Our UDM source however denies that the recent peace between Charles Margai and APC President, had anything to do with UDM’s possible decision to lambast APC.
“It has nothing to do with Charles Margai or with PMDC. This is UDM doing what is right for Sierra Leone,” our UDM executive member stated.
The Release from Office of the President which announced the awards are down below on this page. It is pertinent to note that the blocks were “provisionally awarded” and are “subject to further negotiations”.
Office of the President - Press Release
Award of Offshore Exploration Blocks
Last December, the Government of Sierra Leone through the petroleum directorate, issued a call for tender for its 3rd bid round, and invited applications for nine (9) open offshore exploration blocks.
The tender was extensively advertised in both local and international media from 29th December 2011 to 30th March 2012 and it attracted a total of 59 applications in the following order: sixteen (16) applications were received for block SL 4A-10; twelve (12) applications for block SL 7A-10; four (4) applications for block SL 7C-10; thirteen (13) applications for block SL 8A-10; ten (10) applications for block SL 8B-10; two (2) applications for block SL 9A-10; one (1) application for block SL 9B-10; one application for block SL 10B-10 and no application for block SL 10A-10.
Government wishes it to be known that these applications were consequently assessed and the most responsive bidders determined through a painstaking and time-consuming technical evaluation process.
Government further wishes to inform the public that the key objective of the process was to provide an opportunity for the determination of credible companies with the requisite technical expertise/experience and financial capability to advance the nation’s oil and gas prospectivity.
Government is pleased to announce that Sierra Leone’s open offshore exploration blocks have been provisionally awarded as follows, subject to further negotiations:
SL 4A-10 - AFRICAN PETROLEUM CORPORATION AND KOSMOS.
SL 7A-10 - ELINILTO (SL) LTD, SIGNET PETROLEUM AND MINEXCO.
SL 7C-10 - MASTERS ENERGY.
SL 8A-10 - CHEVRON SAHARA, NOBLE ENERGY, AND ODYE.
SL 8B-10 - CHEVRON SAHARA, NOBLE ENERGY, AND ODYE.
SL 9A-10 - GNBH SIERRA LEONE EXPLORATION
SL 9B-10 - GNBH SIERRA LEONE EXPLORATION
SL 10B-10 - VARADA PETROLEUM AND HYDROCARBONS.
The Government of Sierra Leone wishes to thank all applicants for participating in its third bid round, and particularly congratulates the successful bidders.
The government looks forward to a long-term partnership with these companies in advancing the nation’s deepwater exploration activities and prospectivity.
STATE HOUSE, 9th July 2012.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.