Hon. Robin Farley Address PLTC College Student Union Inauguration, 30th November 2013
Theme: Peace and Tranquility
Mr. Chairman, Principal, Staff and Board of Governors, President of the Port-Loko Teachers College Students Union, Elders of Port Loko, Members of the 4th Estate, Students, All Protocols Observed,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. I salute you in the name of peace, progress, tranquility and student solidarity.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Student Union executive of this great institution for inviting me to this wonderful programme.
Today is a very significant and indeed a very special day for me.
The issue of youth and their welfare is one of the things that lured me into politics and also motivated me to join the All Peoples Congress (APC) Party under the leadership of Comrade Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.
I am aware that the organizers of this exceptionally important Ceremony have chosen its theme: Peace and Tranquility.
With your special permission, I have chosen to center my statement on the Role of Youths in maintaining Peace and Tranquility.
As a politician, more so as a former legislator, I have and will continue to take special interest in the political and socio-economic conditions that are essential to the well-being of young people, given that they are the mainstay of any nation.
From this perspective and of the centrality of the needs of young people, it is important to think earnestly about conditions necessary for sustainable socio-economic development.
I am elated that young men and women have started to wake up to their responsibility as agents of positive change and also as strong, energetic and gallant foot soldiers they will be able to collectively provide the security that this nation needs since stability is change.
We are now seeing interesting stories of young people across the globe that are playing very active role in leading their nations, industries and social sectors into a brighter future and providing critical intellectual resources for human society to negotiate the next era in human civilization. This can only be done if we have a generation of disciplined and law abiding young men and women.
Therefore, I am extremely gladdened that our government under the dynamic leadership of Comrade Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has prioritized youth development as one of the core pillars in the Agenda for Prosperity. This is evident in the number of appointments given to young people both in the private and public spheres of our society.
In the just read 2014 Government Budget, this government has apportioned a huge sum of money for the development of young people in Sierra Leone.
This will manifest in functional educational institutions, Port-Loko Teachers College not been an exception, better equipped hospitals and better access to social recreation, safe environment and the like.
It is for this reason that I believe the Theme: Peace and Tranquility is indeed a very significant one.
Distinguished ladies and gentleman, today as we rejoice with our Sierra Leonean youths, I wish them greater achievement in the years ahead. We must begin a serious soul searching exercise.
Each of us must examine his or her conscience and determine whether he or she has done enough for young people on the path of real and lasting greatness, or has ever shamefully exploited them for our personal political fortune.
It is factual that many leading Sierra Leonean politicians who romance with young people are extremely selfish.
With just few Leones, they assign our youths into battle field of election rigging and political violence.
They do this with ease while their children are breaking through the cutting edges of intellectualism and enjoying the luxuries of universities outside Sierra Leone.
This act must be stopped! I therefore call on all young people of Sierra Leone to refuse to be used for election rigging and political violence by self serving politicians.
I am admonishing you to join His Excellency Comrade Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to stand up and defend democracy and fight for a better and peaceful future for every Sierra Leonean.
Modern democracy is underpinned to and for the enforcement of the rule of law.
Our country is a model of this, given that, we are enjoying peace and tranquility putting the scourges of the 11 years of civil war behind us.
This is however the collective effort of our security forces, good political leadership of His Excellency Comrade Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, in promoting political, religious, regional, cultural tolerance and with the overwhelming support from our donor partners in the international community.
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, we are all aware that there is a need to put some more impetus behind the process of national reconciliation and to provide the appropriate mechanism for the spirit of harmony to continue to flourish.
This cannot be fully achieved if we do not endeavour to adopt the lessons learnt from the 11 years senseless and brutal civil war.
The implementation of most of the recommendations made in the TRC report by this government has gone a long way in addressing some of those issues that gave rise to the outset of the most infamous and difficult period in the history of our beloved country.
Nonetheless the issues of lawlessness among young people remain a serious concern to all well meaning Sierra Leoneans.
Hence, I am calling on all present here today, regardless of your tribe, age, political or regional affiliation to join President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma in a public reconciliation to affirm our national purpose of unity, freedom and justice.
I will again at this point join him in re-echoing the need for our youths to dissolve all cliques and gangs that are detrimental to the prosperity that we are yearning for.
For those of us who belong to the white and black camps, it really does not matter which camp you belong. What is paramount is being a Sierra Leonean and having respect and appreciation for each others ideological beliefs.
As the saying goes: ‘‘there is unity in diversity. And out of many we are one. ’’
I have high hopes, that the organizers of this function share the vision of a better Sierra Leone led by young people who are intellectually and culturally endowed to solve problems that are associated with building a strong, peaceful and prosperous nation in a world of increasing complexity and hazards.
I have high expectations that Sierra Leonean youths with better and selfless guidance from Sierra Leonean politicians, their parents, tuitors and policy makers will rediscover activism and realism that made the struggles of our independence an intellectually exhilarating and morally enriching experience.
Just as those young men of yesteryears who struggled for independence, we are today calling on you to fight for more democratic, just, peaceful and prosperous nation.
Just as they succeeded together, together we shall succeed.
Our President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s dedication to bringing young people into the fore of both public and private spheres of society can never be over said. This will not be actualized if we do not have a crop of disciplined and law abiding young men and women. The students of this great institution therefore have a very significant contribution to make. As teachers and educationalists in training, your future role is exceptionally phenomenal.
Let me at this point borrow paragraph 5 of His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s speech while addressing the Well of Parliament on the 5th October 2007 at a time when I was a serving Member of Parliament.
And I quote ‘‘a new dawn has broken on the horizon of our nation, bringing forth a new Sierra Leone, a new era of peace, security, stability and socio-economic progress in our country. A Sierra Leone, where there is no ethnic or regional boundaries.
A new Sierra Leone where we work harder than we did before. A new Sierra Leone where our children learn better in school. A new Sierra Leone where market women and men prosper in their trades. A new Sierra Leone where the youth train and work to live productive lives.’’
This brief statement gives a picture of how he would wants this nation to be, therefore, I am admonishing you to join in making this dream a reality.
Once more, ladies and gentlemen, words cannot express my delight on addressing this important occasion.
I consider it a privilege for the organizers to call me to share this insight with you.
Finally, I pledge my unflinching commitment to work together with young people across our beloved country Sierra Leone to fulfill our great promise and potential as a highly endowed people and as citizens of a nation that is destined to be truly great and prosperous.
I pray to God for this our beloved republic and also ask for your prayers so that God will continue to guide us all in our daily endeavours to serve this great nation of ours so as to ensure that peace and tranquility will prevail at all times.
I thank you all for your lovable audience.