By Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia
Sierra Leone’s President has hailed and congratulated the Saudi King and his Government on the success of this year’s Hajj.
Speaking in a telephone interview from State House last Friday evening, His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma showered his unreserved praise on the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and his entire Government for what he described as “excellent facilities and arrangements put in place for use for the pilgrims in this year’s Hajj.”
The Head of State praised the Saudi Monarch for the high standard and services he and his able and concerned Government invariably offer to pilgrims from every part of the globe, without the least discrimination of any nature.
The President furthered that the outstanding performance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the period of Hajj epitomizes the grand valor and the authenticity, generosity and true image of Islam. He added that the facilities made available to pilgrims every year are unique and immeasurable.
The President was pleased to learn that Sierra Leone pilgrims performed the Hajj rituals with ease and comfort which he attributed to the excellent services and facilities provided to them by the Saudi Government.
He also commended the Saudi Government for the effective security measures it takes annually to ensure the safety of all pilgrims. The Head of State considers the current Saudi Monarch’s era as a golden one, not only for Saudis, but also for the entire Muslim nations, as far as Hajj is concerned.
The Kingdom has once again proved its capability to carry out successful Hajj and care for the guests of Allah to the fullest, President Koroma told me on the telephone line from his office.
The President also beseeched the Almighty Allah to bless the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its people with further prosperity under the sagacious leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
On behalf his Government and People of the Republic of Sierra Leone, His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma also wished the Saudi Kingdom and its people progress and welfare under the wise leadership of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
In the interview, the soft-spoken President congratulated the pilgrims for a successful performance of the pilgrimage. He also appreciated the most heartfelt supplications and prayers the pilgrims offered for Sierra Leone in the Holy land. He asked Allah to answer all the prayers and supplications offered by the pilgrims in the holy land. However, he advised that such supplications should be regularly offered for the general development of Sierra Leone by the pilgrims when they return home.
In the same vein, His Excellency said he was tremendously proud of the Hajj Delegation headed by Alhaji Sheka Sahid Kamara (aka Shekito) and his team for the spectacular job they have done so far. He characterized their services as a glowing example of patriotism. He said he has been told how effectively and satisfactorily the Hajj team carried out its functions, and that is what has been most pleasant to him.
His Excellency highly commended the Hajj Committee for translating his directives into action. He thanked them for being a match to the immense tasks and the responsibilities delegated to them. He appreciated their accountability and diligence.
On the other hand, the Head of State also sincerely thanked Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and his “formidable staff” at the Embassy of Sierra Leone in Riyadh for the pivotal and essential role they played to ensure that the well-being and safety of Sierra Leone pilgrims were duly and properly taken care of in a highly notable fashion. In brief, he expressed his total satisfaction with the Embassy.
The Ambassador received special accolades from his boss when the His Excellency the President expressed his sincere appreciation and profound gratitude as regards the exceptional role his Envoy, Alhaji Mohamed Sillah Kargbo has played to facilitate the smooth running of the Hajj rituals for the Sierra Leone pilgrims. The President was also pleased to learn that Ambassador M. S. Kargbo has been oftentimes seen physically and laboriously aiding pilgrims.
On a special note, the President also commended the Sierra Leone nationals resident in Saudi Arabia for their invariable essential assistance. He said he has well noted the exceptional role these patriotic Sierra Leoneans have been quietly playing over the years expecting reward from no one, but Allah, the Almighty.
As a booster, he encouraged them to keep assisting their people who will always be in need of such services from their compatriots living in the holy lands for they not only know the terrain better, but also they are more knowledgeable in terms of how to perform Hajj rituals and in the internal affairs of the host country.
President Koroma furthered that the concerted efforts exerted during the Hajj season every year by all Sierra Leonenans is a clear and tangible example of how best “we can stand as a nation” to attain our national goals when “we work in unison with a sincerity of purpose.”
Unity of purpose, he emphasized, is one most useful lesson to derive from the entire Hajj process. He said he wishes that the Sierra Leone pilgrims, (past, current and future ones); irrespective of their various affiliations, would carry this spirit of unity and oneness they have enjoyed during their performance of the different Hajj rituals to their people in Sierra Leone and propagate the message of unity as one people, one nation, and one goal.
The country’s Chief Executive said if Sierra Leoneans in their homeland get united as they do during the Hajj season or in any parts of the world, he would not have an iota of doubt that Sierra Leone would move forward in all aspects and directions; and, of course, the fruits of such a binding unity would be enjoyed by none, but Sierra Leoneans themselves.
His Excellency was also elated to learn that the Ambassador, the Head of the Hajj Delegation, representatives from all over Sierra Leone and a good number of pilgrims were present at the slaughter site to ensure that the number of animals slaughtered this year conformed to the exact number of the pilgrims. That act of the Hajj team, President Koroma added, was unprecedented and was an immense source of relief to all the pilgrims and to him as well. He thanked Allah that the mission was effectively accomplished in a transparent manner to the satisfaction of all.
Finally, he implored the Almighty Allah to help return the 800 Sierra Leone pilgrims of 2016 to the shores of Sierra Leone safe and sound. However, he said he hopes that the performance of Hajj will reflect on the attitudes and behaviour of the pilgrims upon their safe arrival in their homeland.