By KABS KANU
One of President Ernest Koroma’s most fervent admirers is Ambassador Adikalie Foday Sumah, the country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
In an interview with the COCORIOKO NEWSPAPER yesterday , a day after his return to New York after attending the 30th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Ambassador Sumah disclosed that one of the enduring features of the summit was the valedictory or farewell address President Koroma gave to his colleague heads of state, both as President of Sierra Leone and Chair of the AU Committee of 10 (C-10) on the UN Security Council Reform.
PRESIDENT ERNEST KOROMA
Ambassador Sumah said President Koroma’s farewell address was not only emotional, it was very captivating and he confessed that he was one of the many people at the hall who fought away the tears from his eyes. He said that President Koroma was so genuine that he fascinated everybody in the hall and after he finished, he got a long standing ovation from all, including his colleague heads of state.
Ambassador Sumah told COCORIOKO that the standing ovation given President Koroma was emblematic of the tremendous respect, acclaim , admiration and approval he had galvanized from the international world for the great job he did as President of Sierra Leone and Chair of C-10.
Ambassador Sumah stated that his colleague ambassadors could not help expressing their heads of state’s admiration of President Koroma to him. They could not understand how President Koroma turned Sierra Leone around from a post-conflict nation to a modern and progressive country within the 10 year spectrum of his rule.
Ambassador Sumah said the international leaders were highly impressed with President Koroma’s Agenda For Change, Agenda For Prosperity, youth and women’s empowerment , respect for fundamental human rights , democracy and the rule of law, which are enshrined in the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission ( TRC). Ambadsador Sumah said he told them that President Koroma is guided by his wisdom, commitment and recommendations of the TRC .
He disclosed to his colleague ambassadors that President Koroma is also guided by his pledge to his compatriots and the world to consolidate peace and security in Sierra Leone and to embark on inclusive governance by mainstreaming youth and women into the public life, investing in the educational system from primary to tertiary , making school fees and tuition affordable , amidst adverse economic challenges in a post-conflict surrounding, while extending free tuition to the girl child to university level.
Ambassador Sumah noted that as a former President of the National Union of Sierra Leone Students (NUSS) , he stands in testimony that these were some of the problems students were challenging previous governments to address.
Permanent Representative Sumah stated that his colleagues at the UN also want to know how, in advancing good governance in Sierra Leone, President Koroma was able to rule without any prisoner of conscience , without imprisoning any journalist for his/her views .
The ambassadors at the UN , the PR continued, were also amazed at how President Koroma has been able to infuse resilience in the system in the wake of the twin shocks on the economy—The downturn in the commodity prices in the international market and the effects of Ebola, which devastated the country and her Mano River Union neighbours, as well as the adverse effects of climate change , occasioned by the mudslide disaster which killed over one thousand people.
Ambassador Sumah said the conclusion reached by these diplomats and stakeholders is that President Koroma’s performance in office spoke volumes of his personality, charisma , character and leadership acumen , dexterity and his profound appeal to his compatriots.