By M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia writing from Bo City, Southern Sierra Leone
His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma is a patriotic and exemplary leader who can appreciate the opportunity bestowed upon him to serve his beloved country, Sierra Leone. He recently demonstrated it during his valedictory speech to Members of Parliament at the well of parliament.
The president kick – started the first leg of his nationwide THANK YOU tour of the Northern Region, notably, in the northern towns of Port Loko, Mange, Bamoi, Kambia last week.
In many of the towns he visited, President Ernest Bai Koroma held several fruitful meetings with party faithful and executive officers whom he had worked with for the last decade and also thanked them and the people of Sierra Leone for giving him the opportunity to serve them as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. He also used the occasion as an opportunity to present the All People’s Congress (APC) Party presidential candidate and running-mate, Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara and Hon. Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah to the people ahead of the 7th march, 2018 Presidential, Parliamentary, Mayoralty, and Municipality elections.
The way the people welcomed the President’s valedictory speech in all the towns and cities he toured was a clear indication of their willingness to vote overwhelmingly for the APC Party again in appreciation of the marvelous achievements of the Koroma administration from 2007 to 2017 respectively.
In Port Loko city, for instance, the President was mobbed by tens of thousands of people who had converged on the city to witness the historic commissioning and handing over of the Bankasoka Mini Hydro Station and the distribution network of Port Loko District. The ceremony which was organized by the Ministry of Energy in collaboration with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China saw in attendance Cabinet Ministers, Senior Government Officials, Paramount Chiefs, Religious Leaders as well as other stakeholders of Port Loko District. The commissioning of the Bankasoka Mini Hydro Station was simultaneously done along with both Charlotte and Makali Hydro Dams in line with Government’s promise of transforming the country’s energy sector which is very essential for the development of the country. To President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, “This is not about theory or dreams but rather visibly seeing tangibles on the ground.”
With the commissioning of these mini hydro dams, the Koroma administration has proudly increased energy supply in Sierra Leone more than 500% since the APC came into governance, according to the Minister of Energy, Mr. Henry Macauley who has been very instrumental in energy transformation in the country. With the commissioning of the Bankasoka Mini Hydro Electricity, the Project will hopefully contribute to the living standards and convenience of the People of Port Loko and also attract direct foreign investment to the country to create jobs for the youth population who are believed to be the worst hit by unemployment.
President Koroma will ever be respected by Sierra Leoneans and the International Community for not reneging on his promise to priotize the energy sector in Sierra Leone. Despite the challenges, his administration has done tremendously well in transforming the country in diverse ways. That is why party stalwarts and supporters must be proud of the APC Party’s record since 2007 when the regime acceded to power after defeating the incumbent Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Government just as it did in the 1967 General Elections when APC emerged to power for the very first time since independence in 1961.
The introduction of the APC presidential candidate and running-mate was deliberate in that it was in Port Loko where Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma was elected as Chairman and Leader of the APC in 2005. It was no mistake that he referred to the city as his political home and therefore implored the people to work towards winning the March 2018 polls. Indeed, the development that has taken place in Port Loko city and its surroundings under the Koroma administration will encourage the people to once again vote their beloved party to power so that the presidential candidate and running-mate, who have the requisite experience to effectively run the affairs of the state, will take the country to the next level.
According to the President, “These two will hit the ground running as they don’t need to customize their experience but rather continue the development agenda henceforth”.
It is no exaggeration to assert that the Koroma administration made lots of achievements given where Sierra Leone was in terms of healthcare service delivery, road network, energy, water supply among others, prior to Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s presidency in September 2007 and to where the country is today. Even detractors won’t deny the fact that Sierra Leone is far much developed than she was ten years ago. Development is everywhere in the country including, the South – Eastern strongholds of the main opposition SLPP that neglected its own backyard.
The president’s nationwide THANK YOU tour of the South-Eastern Region of the country commenced this week. He and his entourage arrived in the eastern provincial city of Kenema on Tuesday 19th December on the second leg of his nationwide THANK YOU tour where he is also expected to thank the people of Sierra Leone for giving him the opportunity to serve as their democratic President for two consecutive terms of five years each.
Speaking from the Eastern town of Kenema last night, Jarrah Kawusu – Konte of the Office of the President said, “The president is expected to also highlight, during this farewell tour, his achievements over the last ten years and also present his likely successor, Dr Samura Kamara, who would build on those achievements.”
From Kenema, Konte who is head of State House Communication Unit, added, “The President will continue this leg of the tour to Kailahun, Bo, Pujehun, Bonthe, Moyamba, Kono, Tonkolili and Makeni where he is also expected to deliver the same message to the People of those districts.”
Though the South-East is generally regarded as the traditional stronghold of the main opposition SLPP, the transformation it has gone through over the last decade has given the leverage to the ruling APC Party to make more in roads in most districts in the two regions, including Kailahun which can now boast of good road network, water supply, solar street lights and many other facilities the district had been deprived of during previous regimes. So too are Bo, Pujehun, Moyamba, Kenema, Kono and Bonthe where several projects were implemented over the last decade.
For detractors who have believed the APC Presidential candidate Dr. Samura Kamara has not been talking since 15th October, 2017 when he was chosen at the party convention in Makeni, they would have listened to him speak when he was addressing mammoth crowds during the president’s first leg THANK YOU tour of the country.
In Kambia Town, for instance, the presidential hopeful cautioned the people against what he referred to as ‘false promises from some politicians’. He believes that Sierra Leone belongs to “all of us” and that only we can build her and not foreigners as others want us to believe. The former Top Diplomat in the country who is believed to be the President in waiting told the cheering crowds that President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has already laid the solid foundation and it was just a matter of building on it.
Dr. Kamara is also mindful of unity and therefore appealed to the people for unity amongst the rank and file of the APC and urged them to remain united and determined to win the March 2018 polls in the first round. He asked them to remain focused and vote resoundingly for the APC.
His address to the people was a clear indication that he is ready to take the mantle of power when President Koroma would have retired after the March 2018 polls, that is why many say APC stalwarts and supporters must rally behind their presidential candidate and running-mate to ensure that only the sky would be the limit in their determination to take Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara to State House come March 2018 – so that he would build on the solid foundation which the President Koroma has laid in the last decade.
Based on the overwhelming achievement of the Koroma’s administration, many Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad have no doubt in mind that the governing APC is heading to another electoral victory come 7th march, 2018.