By KABS KANU :
Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations , Ambassador Adikalie Foday Sumah, was the keynote speaker at the inauguration ceremony of the new executive of the ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) Carolina Chapter held in Charlotte, North Carolina, last Saturday, November 19, 2016.
In the speech, the erudite ambassador challenged APC-USA and diasporans to “sustain the conveyor belt set in motion by our Party Chairman and Leader, His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, in rebranding our country by accentuating his achievements and the indisputable positive elements of our nation’s transformation since 17th September, 2007.”
We bring you the full speech delivered by Ambassador Sumah, which was widely applauded by the hundreds of members of the APC , distinguished Sierra Leoneans and other guests , who attended the program . As usual, the eloquent envoy delivered his statement with finesse and authority and stirred his audience .
KEYNOTE ADDRESS by HIS EXCELLENCY MR. ADIKALIE FODAY SUMAH , AMBASSADOR EXTRAORDINARY AND PLENIPOTENTIARY/PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF SIERRA LEONE TO THE UNITED NATIONS on the occasion of the
Inauguration of New Executive , APC – Carolina Chapter
Saturday November 19, 2016
Mr. Chairman of the APC-USA;
Chapter Presidents and their Respective Esteemed Executives;
Dynamic Members of our Great Electable Party (GEP);
The All People’s Congress Party (APC);
Excellencies and distinguished Guests;
Friends of Sierra Leone;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
- I would like to commence my Key Note Address by conveying to the distinguished Executives and Members of the North Carolina Chapter of our beloved Party, the ALL PEOPLE’S CONGRESS, the warm and fraternal greetings of the National Chairman and Leader of the A. P. C. Party, His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
During my Diplomatic Mission in the Republic of Guinea, and in the cause of my numerous engagements with the Guinea Chapter of the Party, I purposively coined a special acronym for the All People’s Congress (Party) i.e. the: Great Electable Party (GEP). Like the acronym, GOP, of the Republican Party in this Great Federal Nation State of the U.S, the GEP, should be accorded wider usage and application here, in the U.S, so that, the rest of the world would catch the cold of its existence. Especially so when, its origin is deeply rooted to the Diaspora Constituency of the Party, and coined by one of your distinguished Party Comrades.
- Without any iota of doubt, I feel honored and gratified to be called upon; to serve as the Keynote Speaker at the inauguration of your esteemed Executives of the North Carolina Chapter. For this rare accolade of honour bestowed on me, I would like to extend thanks and appreciation to you, and the rank and file of this Party branch for the honor. I feel indebted with profound gratitude and admiration for the tremendous work you are doing in carrying the Party and the Government’s vanguard in the U.S. From newspaper and social media reports, your worthy activities and programmes engendered to help promote the Party and the Government are well documented and appreciated by the Parties’ Executives and members in Sierra Leone. Your sacrificial efforts conspicuously demonstrate your commitment and dedication to the Party, Government and the Nation as a whole.
You also deserve to be commended for helping to revive national pride and patriotism in the Diaspora, through your many programmes designed to bring together, Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora in this way, celebrate the largely magnificent socio-economic and political developments going on in the country under the capable and inspiring stewardship of President Ernest Bai Koroma.
- In various ways, some of you are also involved in rebranding and showcasing our nation in a positive perspective to the international community. Some of you have been travelling to Sierra Leone to engage in a range of projects and activities which, in their unique ways, have contributed immensely to the catalogue of achievements which will serve as part of the fascinating legacy of President Ernest Koroma and the APC Government. I am confident that your enterprising spirit will bear good dividends far beyond the period under review. We must sustain the conveyor belt set in motion by our Party Chairman and Leader, His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, in rebranding our country by accentuating his achievements and the indisputable positive elements of our nation’s transformation since 17th September, 2007.
Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Comrades;
- I challenge the officials of your chapter who, barely a few moment ago; were sworn-in to their elective offices of the North Carolina Chapter of our Great Electable Party, the A. P. C; for the purpose of expending their level best in their respective capacities to justify the confidence reposed in them as Executives and, to make the chapter more functional, effective and fit for purpose.
- I am sure, you are aware of the supreme importance our astute President attaches to the Diaspora. It is an accepted fact that, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, has acknowledged the importance of the Diaspora by declaring you, the entire Party Chapters outside of Sierra Leone as the Fifth Region of Sierra Leone. It therefore behooves you now, to play your own part in becoming transformers of your country’s destiny by widening the role of the Diaspora beyond the remittance flows you now provide to family and friend at home, to contributing significantly, towards the nation’s development through Diaspora investment and entrepreneurship, as well as the much needed capacity building and Human Resource development in the governance of the Home Country.
Mr. Chairman and Revered Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen;
- As a government official who lived in the Diaspora (United Kingdom), before taking my appointment by His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, as his Principal Representative of the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the Republic of Guinea, Republic of Mali and the Republic of Niger with Residence in Conakry, and most recently, his Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations with accreditations to the Republic of Cuba and the Republic of Mexico, I was and, still is; part and parcel of your esteemed personalities; the Sierra Leonean Diaspora Communities across the global village. My nuclear family still resides in London, the United Kingdom. This incontestable fact was clearly stated to the Party Officials of the New York and New Jersey Chapters who, in an historic milieu, on the 5th September, 2016, received me at the JFK International Airport on my arrival to take up duty in New York. I want to assure you of my availability always to help work with you, in the interest of our Party, Government and Country.
- Under the progressive leadership of President Koroma, our nation has made tremendous achievements over the past nine years in infrastructural development and the provision of electricity, health care services, water supply, quality education, food security, good governance, the rule of law, access to justice and road network infrastructure etc; that reflect his desire to make Sierra Leone not only one of the most developed nations in Africa but a better place for us, our children and future generations. Recently, he turned the sod for the construction of three ultra-modern hospitals in Freetown which will go a long way to relieve the burden on Connaught Hospital and the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH). This is the first time in Africa that; a President had begun construction of three hospitals at the same time.
- Another impressive achievement we must be proud of is, the peace and stability that reigns throughout the land due to the political tolerance as evident in an independent vibrant media, the respect for fundamental human rights of citizens and the Rule of Law by President Koroma and his government.
My fellow compatriots;
- Admittedly, we are facing some challenges with the economy but as I said in a newspaper interview recently, the economic slowdown is not a result of economic mismanagement by the government but because of the two twin shocks of the Ebola Outbreak and the drop in the prices of commodity in the World Market which has inflected debilitating impact on iron ore and bauxite. Cognisant of this fact, we are not giving any excuses; we just want people to understand because, all the economic indicators from the IMF and the World Bank showed that, President Koroma managed the economy well. As President Koroma himself assured the nation while turning the sod for the hospitals, we must all remain resilient and be confident that, we will have a turnaround in the economy soon.
- I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have been sparing no time to make these facts known to our critics online and the social media. All that is needed in a democratic society like Sierra Leone, is constructive audit of government activities by the citizenry, and this calls for, inter-alia, applauding the Government on its conspicuous achievements; challenge it to improve in other areas and make a difference by offering a viable modus operandi for the benefit of all and sundry.
I would like to conclude my Key Note Address at this august occasion, to through you, Mr. Chairman, implore the A. P. C- USA to strategize a working and collaborative synergies through and by which, far distant Diaspora Chapters could empower the capacity of the ballot based potentials of the Guinea Chapter. Being close to the home country which is under 30 minutes by air, 5 hours by road and approximately 6 hours by sea, the Guinea Chapter could enhance and augment the entire efforts of the Diaspora Chapters in ensuring that, the Party sustains it electable fortunes again and again and again. This could be achieved by empowering the Guinea Chapter to participate in voter registration exercise and, by so doing they would earn themselves with the prerequisite license to exercise their civic right in major elections including Presidential, Parliamentary, Municipal elections and Referenda.
- Their ability to mobilize Party Members and supporters to exercise this civil right is, without saying, fundamentally challenged by their resource incapacity consequent to the unfavourable economic climate in that country compounded by social deprivations. Your resource capacity here in the affluent Diaspora, could be deployed to a potential electoral dividend for the Party at elections.
I would therefore, like to call on the Chairman of the most affluent Chapter on earth in collaboration with the various Chapters of the Party around the world to give serious thought and consideration to this idea. Perhaps, a field trip to Conakry on a fact fining mission would go a long way to ascertain this proposition. The 2012 Multi-tier elections is a case in point to buttress this fact.
- Once again, I thank you for inviting me and, I wish your Chapter and wider the chapters of APC-USA well in your collective determination to make a difference in the interest of our country.
I Thank you for kind attention.