By Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia
In a remarkable display of unity and true nationalism, Sierra Leone nationals in Saudi Arabia’s second largest city of Jeddah warmly welcomed His Excellency, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s new envoy to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Alhaji Mohamed Sillah Kargbo at the Chinese Great Wall Hall over the weekend.
In his welcome remarks, one of the highly respected Sierra Leoneans in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Nabie Musa Turay, who works at the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jeddah as the Project Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa and Special Assistant at the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) welcomed his fellow Sierra Leoneans and dignitaries including Mr. Mamoudou Habib Kane, Senegalese Consul General in Jeddah for turning up to the meeting in such a marked number at a short notice. He appreciated this remarkable show of patriotism of his compatriots in Jeddah. He prayed for the audience and the Saudi Government and people. Immediately after the wonderful and touching welcome remarks by Mr. Nabie Turay, the Chairman of the occasion took the floor.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman, M.B. Jalloh, Information Attaché at the Sierra Leone Mission in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh introduced the new envoy and stated that Ambassador Kargbo has made it a point of duty to meet with Sierra Leoneans in all the regions and cities of the Kingdom.
The primary purpose of Ambassador Kargbo’s meeting with his fellow Sierra Leoneans, Jalloh said, is to familiarize himself with his nationals as much as possible and to take Government to the people by giving them the opportunity to ask questions about Government policies and developments in their home country, and to make a difference in the Embassy’s working relations with its nationals.
When Ambassador M. S. Kargbo delightfully took the floor, he conveyed His Excellency, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s fatherly greetings to his nationals everywhere in Saudi Arabia. The Ambassador also offered heartfelt supplications for the audience, and Sierra Leone. He also prayed for the host country, its Government, the Monarch and the people. Ambassador Kargbo took the opportunity to express his sincere appreciation and profound gratitude to his nationals for the spectacular welcome he has been accorded in Jeddah, the pearl city of the Kingdom.
He furthered that he was appointed to represent his home Government in this vitally important region and to also represent all Sierra Leoneans without the least discrimination. He stated that he is not here to represent any party per se; rather, he is here for Sierra Leone and every Sierra Leonean. He went further to declare that his tenure is to introduce an open door policy with all the Sierra Leone nationals resident in the Kingdom and other countries of his accreditation. He appealed to his nationals to be Ambassadors of Sierra Leone here in the Kingdom and to make meaningful contributions to the economy of their country.
He also advised and warned Sierra Loeneans in the Kingdom strongly against engaging themselves in backbiting, backstabbing and any form of undermining their fellow compatriots. He said he is an advocate of unity, peace, transparency, hard work and love for “Mama SALONE” and its citizens on equal footing. He further advised all and sundry to desist from any malpractices against the laws, rules and regulations of the host country. He advised everyone to be a law abiding citizen in an aim to continue to portray the good and unblemished image of Sierra Leone. And, he fervently appealed to Sierra Leoneans to embrace themselves and work in unison in order to help develop their country in whatever capacity possible.
Making a statement, the invited Senegalese Consul General, Mr. Kane, first of all expressed his happiness to take part in what he described as “a magnificent and memorable gathering” comprising nationals and their leader. He commended Sierra Leoneans in superb terms for this great opportunity presented to them by their Ambassador.
He said he has always held Sierra Leoneans in high esteem since he met with them during his university days in Cairo, Egypt. He made it known to the audience that he was once an employee of the IDB where he had again the opportunity to work closely with Sierra Leoneans and enjoy their camaraderie.
He highlighted the pivotal and vital role Sierra Leoneans are playing at IDB. He said they are considered as a face-lift and great pride for the bank.
On the other hand, the Senegalese Consul General went further to strongly advocate the unity and integration of Africans for the best interest of the continent.
To crown his remarks, the Senegalese diplomat lauded Ambassador Kargbo for the patriotic stance he has taken and for his willingness to meet and consult with his nationals. He described the Ambassador as a true representative of his President and his people. He then prayed for Ambassador Kargbo’s success in his new mission.
Responding on behalf of the nationals, Ibrahim Marouf Barrie, another high profile cadre who is the Lead Financial Management Specialist at the Financial Control Department of the IDB thanked Ambassador Kargbo for is initiative to meet his nationals in every nook and cranny of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Mr. Barrie expressed in no uncertain terms their readiness to work and cooperate with the envoy and his staff in order to achieve laurels for their beloved country. He also commended President Koroma for making the right choice in sending Ambassador Kargbo to this very vital region.
He also commended him for the open door policy that he is putting in place. He said that Sierra Leoneans living in Jeddah were proud of the stability and economic development that the country has recorded in the recent past. He concluded that as Sierra Leoneans in the Kingdom, they are committed to making a meaningful contribution to the discourse of development back home.
Mahmoud Sheikh Kamara, another highly respected Sierra Leonean working at the IDB as the Manager of West Africa Country Programs Department, gave the vote of thanks. In his remarks, he thanked the Ambassador and his team for the remarkable national interest they manifested in meeting with their nationals and the open door policy the envoy has introduced. He said he hopes such meetings would be held from time to time.
He also thanked his fellow Sierra Leoneans for displaying their national spirit by responding to the call at a very short notice. Dr. Kamara expressed special thanks to the Senegalese Consul General and all the other foreign attendees for sharing with Sierra Leoneans the joyous and memorable occasion. He prayed to Allah to guide and help His Excellency, President Ernest Bai Koroma spearhead Sierra Leone to the promised and long coveted prosperity enshrined in the His Excellency’s “Agenda for Prosperity”. He also prayed for Ambassador Kargbo for greater wisdom and glowing successes in his mission.