By Alhaji Jalloh
Sierra Leone’s President, His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma is confirmed to receive the African President of the year 2013 Award and participate as Special Guest of Honour during the 6th International Summit on African Leadership slated to hold on February 27, 2014 at The St Regis, Washington D.C, U.S.A, in an event organized by the African Leadership magazine.
President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma in a special letter to the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the African Leadership Magazine, Dr. Ken Giami, on 6th February, 2014, expressed thanks and appreciation to the editors of the magazine for finding him worthy of receiving the prestigious award. The President further noted that the award is a confirmation of the transformative leadership which has been the cardinal focus of his administration and assured that the recognition would spur him to even greater accomplishments. President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has dedicated the award to fellow Sierra Leoneans who have reposed great confidence and trust in his administration. The President promised to justify the confidence Sierra Leoneans have reposed in him.
The award means that President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone will join a distinguished list of past recipients of the African Leadership Magazine President of the Year Award, including Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. President James Michel of Seychelles, ex- Ghanaian President, John Kuffour and late President Dr. John Evans Atta Mills of Ghana. Other past recipients of African Leadership Magazine Awards include H.E, Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President of Nigeria; H.E, Xavier Luc Duval, Vice Premier of Mauritius; Mr. Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank; Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi, Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service; Dr. Mo Ibrahim of Mo Ibrahim Foundation among others.
This latest award to His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma as African President of the Year 2013 is a clear manifestation of his recognition at global level for the transformative leadership which has been the backbone of his administration since he acceded to power in September 2007. The President has also been recognized by several international organizations for the exemplary leadership he has provided for Sierra Leone, including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Economic Committee of West African States (ECOWAS) among others. These are all partners to the development strides his administration has made under the Agenda for Change and now Agenda for Prosperity which have transformed every facet of society.
It would be recalled that sometime last year; President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma was invited by President Barrack Obama of America, alongside three other African Leaders to White House in Washington D.C. to help promote good governance and democracy in Africa. They were recognized as emerging democracies in Africa with penchant to promote the tenets of democracy in their respective countries, including Sierra Leone, where six national elections have been successfully conducted between 1996 and 2012. Under the dynamic leadership of President Koroma, many development projects have been successfully implemented and many more are in the pipeline. For example, road infrastructure is felt in almost every corner of Sierra Leone, including areas that were ignored by previous regimes, such as the Kenema/Koindu road in the heartland of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). The first phase of the Kenema/Koindu road will soon be completed while the second phase will also commence this year to give the people of Kailahun District a new lease of life. This district has long been deprived of development despite being one of the most agriculturally viable areas in the country. Kailahun District is the largest producer of Cacao but because of bad roads, unscrupulous produce buyers smuggle their produce to neigbouring Liberia or Guinea, thereby; depriving Sierra Leone of much needed revenue. But the Koroma administration believes that with the completion of the Kenema/Koindu road, such nefarious practice will stop through effective monitoring of border crossings.
Forget about what detractors say about President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s administration, they criticize negatively as if things are not working because of frustrations and disappointments. But the fact remains that all well-meaning Sierra Leoneans do recognize and appreciate the wonderful performance of their President. Even donors and our development partners do shower praises on the good leadership President Koroma is providing for his people on a daily basis. Very recently, the Country Manager of World Bank in Sierra Leone, Francis Ato Brown, was impressed and satisfied with the different projects the Bank is implementing with its partners in the country especially those relating to agriculture which he noted is very important for the country’s economic development. He made the remarks after the World Bank and its partners: West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAPP), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) and a cross-section of journalists jointly toured different projects sites in Kambia, Lunsar and Kono respectively.
The remarks made by the Country Manager of World Bank is a clear manifestation of government’s commitment to taking agriculture to higher height in order to achieve economic development; one that would lift the status of the rural poor. Though Sierra Leone has not achieved self-sufficiency at this moment, yet there are indications that it would happen in the not-too-distant future given the fact that many agricultural projects have been successfully implemented across the country.
Many other sectors such the energy sector, health, education, human rights, democracy and good governance, and economic governance have improved tremendously under the indefatigable leadership of Sierra Leone’s Chief Executive. His commitment, honesty and sincerity of purpose have therefore earned him great recognition across the globe. President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s latest Award therefore comes as no surprise to most Sierra Leoneans who have reposed faith in him for working the work instead of talking the talk. “Sierra Leone’s President, His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma selection as the African President of the year 2013 Award did not come out of the vacuum. Rather, it’s the fruit of his diligence and remarkable performance,” a Sierra Leonean at the King Saud University here in Riyadh wrote on his face book page last night. The questions begging for answers are: Who can deny that fact? And will the critics learn any lesson from the latest award President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has bagged?