As his political rival’s image is cranking for survival with the infamy of an international pariah; meaning, as Maada Bio’s name continues to be sullied (ranging from the NPRC stigma to the ‘thank you’ mayhem in Bo), President Ernest Bai Koroma, on the contrary, is putting both his name and that of the country of Sierra Leone on an iconic international map.
As Sierra Leoneans around the world have been expressing delight in seeing their President seated around a UN-luncheon high table with the world’s two most powerful men, Barack Obama and Ban Ki Moon, most have been asking the question as to what exactly the trio (Barack, Ban and Bai) were discussing. “I am so proud to be called a Sierra Leonean. Before now, many Australians in Sydney do not even know anything about Sierra Leone. Or if they do, all they know is that it’s a war-ravaged country. Now I can only point at the picture where President Koroma is seated with President Obama, and they’ll know what I’m talking about,” Ibrahim Sillah in Australia told The Torchlight, “It will just be an added joy if I should know even just a bit of what President Koroma and President Obama were talking.”
President Koroma himself solved the riddle last Sunday 2nd October 2011 (on his birthday) at Panlap village, the headquarters of his natal chiefdom, Makari/Gbanti, Bombali District, where a church service was held at the Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone in celebration of his four years in power. The theme of the occasion was ‘When the Righteous Rule, The People Rejoice’ (Proverbs 29:2); with the women’s auxiliary singing the theme-song: ‘Four year nar power, four year development; with waetin we dae see, e fiba lek say e don tay wae u dae nar power; Ernest Koroma, nar God go bless you…” , loosely translated ‘Four years in power, four years of development; with what we are seeing, it’s as if you’ve been in power for a long time; Ernest Koroma, God will bless you.”
Responding to the various presentations and accolades, President Koroma thanked the people for recognizing the achievements of his stewardship. He said this recognition has also been registered internationally by no less a person than the most powerful man in the world, the President of the United States of America, Barrack Obama. “It was not only a pride for me, but a pride for all Sierra Leoneans that the President of the United States should specifically call on me as the President of Sierra Leone to sit by his side at the high table… We had an opportunity to discuss several issues.
President Obama told me that he was also proud to publicly associate with me because of the tremendous strides we have been making in moving Sierra Leone forward. He said he has been monitoring events in Sierra Leone and he is comfortable and impressed with what the government has been doing, and he is prepared to be on our side all the way… When I told him about some of the hardships we are going through, he replied that the same was going on in America because of the financial crisis currently plaguing the world.” President Koroma however disclosed that they came to a conclusion that the problems will certainly be surmounted. “I can tell you that even though we are going through hard times; those hard times will be over very soon. With all the work that we are doing, with all the prospects of great returns from our huge investments across the country, we will all soon be enjoying the great benefits of this country.”
The Head of State used the occasion to also reiterate his stance on the submitted reports on the political violence that erupted just before his departure to the UN General Assembly, emphasizing that no culprit, no matter their status, will be spared by the law. He also thanked the Wesleyan Church, ‘in which I grew up. My childhood character, molded in the formative years, was a product of the Church. I will continue with the Christian faith, I will remain a member of the Wesleyan Church.|” The President also thanked the entire membership of the All People’s Congress (APC) party, at home and abroad, for giving him the opportunity to be their presidential candidate leading to him becoming President of the country. He said the ceremony has made him more determined to continue on the path of progress for the country. He paid tribute to other government functionaries, including ministers, parliamentarians, traditional chiefs, and local councils, for working with him in implementing the Agenda for Change.
The preacher, Rev. Moses Kanu, Assistant National Superintended of the Wesleyan Church, preached on the characteristics of righteous and wicked rulers.