By KABS KANU :
TODAY is Sierra Leone’s 55th Independence Anniversary and the day will be marked by festivities throughout the nation.
And a time when there is another Sierra Leone flourishing outside the country, in the diaspora, which is rightly described as the fifth Province of the country , after the Western, Northern, Southern and Eastern Regions, the occasion will also be celebrated in the United States , Britain, Germany, Australia, China and even in African countries like Liberia, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Gambia, Senegal etc.
Though the negativists and the prophets of doom want us to believe that there is nothing to celebrate, we as a nation do have reasons to be proud of ourselves and our country and reasons to celebrate today .
Yes, there are still many challenges in our nation, despite the best efforts of President Ernest Bai Koroma and our past leaders. Nobody is saying that life is easy. Even in the rich and advanced countries abroad, life is not rosy . To survive, people do not sleep in their homes because they are out there working whole day and night to make ends meet. Things are very difficult and the majority of the people are living one paycheck away from bankruptcy and homelessness. All over the world, this is the situation and people are agonizing over the abject economic problems, high cost of living, dwindling social services and lack of adequate medical facilities. The whole world is in economic, social and political crises. It is not only Siera Leone that is facing the pinch.
We in Sierra Leone must at least be proud of ourselves and our nation for many reasons . We must be thankful to God for many reasons .
Firstly, we are a very resilient nation and this resilience will take us to victory . Unlike many of the countries we want to compare ourselves with, Sierra Leone went through one of the bloodiest and most violent wars in modern history which killed over 50, 000 of our precious people and destroyed our infrastructure . Hardly had we recovered from the ravages of war when we got struck by the deadly disease, Ebola, which almost wiped out our country. Yet, as a people, we fought back gallantly. We did not go under. We fought back and we won. We must be proud of ourselves that we have the God-given resilience and capacity to overcome our problems. With our kind of resilience and ability to turn around adversities, we will not remain at the bottom forever. Our sun will shine more brightly one day.
Secondly, We must also be proud and thankful to God that whatever our problems, development projects are going on and we are not static. Development is not at a standstill in Sierra Leone. We are doing better than a lot of countries which have become stagnant and are not going anywhere and they never had our kind of problems.
We must thank God that, in spite of all our problems, we are seeing good signs of socio-economic developments going on in our country. We are seeing good roads being built. We are gradually having a road network system that we must be proud of. We are seeing new clinics and new schools being built. The government is working on electricity and water supplies and other infrastructural developments. Agricultural projects are being launched. These might not be the immediate bread-and-butter problems some may want to see solved, and we see with some of their points but these development projects would eventually unlock the economic breakthroughs we are seeking. Rome was not built in a day. President Ernest Koroma is doing a marvelous job to maintain the momentum of national development. He cannot provide everything during his reign, but if another President with the same passion, zeal and commitment for progress succeeds him, then we can be sure of continuity in national development and ultimately, other areas will be handled.
Thirdly, we must be thankful to God that some of the negative developments that keep a nation backward and in a perpetual state of chaos are no longer part of us. Democracy , with its attendant features of freedom of the press, freedom of expression and association and free-and-fair elections are prevailing in our country. We have staged two post-war elections that received commendation from the international world. We also have vibrant civil society, women’s and children groups and we have overcome the political problems of the past that made us one of the most unstable and war-prone countries in the world. With structures now in place to ensure the wholesome functioning of our political and social system, we stand he chance of enjoying peace and tranquility in our land. As a matter of act, Sierra Leone is the model for post -war peace and reconciliation in the whole world. We are highly respected internationally, as any diplomat will tell you.
Fourthly, our minerals base is not dwindling or depreciating , like other countries. More mineral mining sites are being discovered and there is hope that we could be an oil-producing nation very soon . Though many think that we are not making optimum use of our mineral resources, there is hope for Sierra Leone , with the continued presence of our diamonds, gold, bauxite, iron ore etc.
All the facts above demonstrate that there is hope in our nation, and that is very important. We are seeing signs that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
It is not all gloom and doom . Let us not allow the power-hungry politicians to discourage and frustrate our minds.
With God on our side, if we continue to work very hard and remain united and in peace, we will recapture our old glory of being the Beacon of Light of Africa and the Athens of West Africa.
COCORIOKO wishes you all a happy 55th Independence Anniversary.