President Ernest Bai Koroma is different from all other presidents we have ever had in Sierra Leone. Firstly because of his charm , friendly and pleasant dispositions , people never have enough of him. They are always drawn to him .When he left New Jersey for a tour of four other states, hoping to take off from Teteboro Airport in New Jersey after the tour , Sierra Leoneans who had been with him whole week while he was in New York, still looked forward to meeting with him again ,to say goodbye to him.They were disappointed when it became known that President Koroma will no longer come back to New Jersey but will depart to Freetown from West Virginia.
Secondly, because of his being very approachable, humble and simple, everybody who wants is capable of having easy access to him. At his hotels in New York and New Jersey, there was nobody who wanted to have access to President Koroma who failed to do so. President Koroma is not the kind of man anybody can be blocked to see because he is very accessible .Anyone who therefore complains that people tried to block him/her from having access to the President is making wrong assumptions and conclusions.
The President’s attitude to the press is second to none in Sierra Leone’s history. It was virtually impossible to ever appear before President Siaka Stevens, not to mention General Saidu Momoh or President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. Whenever our Presidents used to arrive in New York to attend the UN General Assembly, they lived in a virtual cocoon .In fact, the public never knew their hotels, not to mention have access to these facilities. The cause was firstly that some of these presidents were unapproachable and introverts. The other reason was that those around these leaders built a fortress-like cordon around them and went all out to deny access to them. Thirdly, some of these presidents, with the exception of Pa Shaki , lacked appeal and popularity. Today,Sierra Leoneans should be proud that they have a President who is a man of the people. President Koroma draws people to himself like a magnet and those around him do not set impossible barriers to people who want to hob-nob with their President. It was gratifying to see APC stalwarts, visitors -some of them SLPP and PMDC members- family , diplomats and journalists alike freely interacting with the President in his hotels, many even seizing the opportunity to take pictures with him sitting on the same sofa with him. Messrs Foday Morris, Dennis Kabatto , the Patriotic Vanguard’s Anthony Kamara and other journalists who were with the President could attest to the truth of these statements. Sierra Leone has never had a President so friendly and accessible to media men and women.
We hope all these qualities of the President will be emulated by those who serve him. We have heard lots of complaints about some ministers and other public officials who are virtually impossible to see in Freetown. Diasporans who have been to Sierra Leone return home with lots of complaints that though they spent months in the country they were not able to see certain ministers or officials whose complaints at all times was that they are very busy. A public servant should never be too busy for his people.
Our leaders and ministers are public servants and should make themselves accessible to people who have genuine, credible and compelling reasons for wanting to see them. They must copy President Koroma who is never too busy to see people at State House or hang out with them in his hotels abroad. The President is always smiling and prepared to meet those who have genuine reasons to desire to see him or who just want to hang around him. He should be emulated because that one moment somebody is provided with by a public servant might change his/her life or the country’s for good. Many people who want to see ministers and public servants have bright ideas they want to share or investment possibilities they want to pursue.