By M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States–
The Government of His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma is performing remarkably well as a result of his wisdom to make the right appointments of officials with proven ability.
Amb. Timbo addressing his nationals
Many a time His Excellency appoints officials to positions of trust based on their past performances. For example, prior to President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s appointment of Architect Siray Alpha Timbo as Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the fine gentleman was the Special Envoy of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the UAE, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Middle East from 2009 up to the time of his appointment.
He also served as the Chairman of the Presidential Implementation Committee on Investment and Development (PICID) in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) and Middle East.
A cross section of S-Leone Executive in UAE
A cross section of S-Leone Executive in UAE.
Before his appointment as Ambassador, he was the Chairman and Commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) – a position he held from 2008 – 2013. As Chair and Commissioner of NATCOM, Mr. Timbo embarked on restructuring the Commission in terms of personnel, focus and policy direction. He and six other Commissioners collectively advised the President on matters of telecommunications, television and wireless broadcasting services.
Envoy Timbo who is also the Proprietor and Chairman of MJ Motels in the provincial towns of Makeni, Port Loko and Kabala from 2005 to date was widely known in the country as an established Architect running a very successful architectural firm, IDEAS Limited – a firm which largely influences the national infrastructural landscape as evidenced in many projects, including, SLTU, NASSIT, RITCORP, Banks, Hotels, Hospitals, Cooperate Offices, among many others.
Sierra Leoneans in the UAE listening to Amb. Timbo
IDEAS Limited also provided consulting services for projects financed by the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), African Development Bank (AfDB), UNOPS, BADEA, Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the European Union. Besides his architectural prowess, Ambassador Tmbo is well known for his leadership qualities, good interpersonal relationship with people and his unending compassion and generosity for the needy.
Because of his openness and generosity, his office in Freetown was often jam-packed with visitors who wanted their numerous problems to be solved by him and he would willingly offer them what they wanted. He assisted thousands of Sierra Leoneans in need before he took up the appointment as Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the UAE.
His kind heartedness, patriotism and generosity seemed to have sharpened his performance in his diplomatic mission, and I think President Koroma must be very proud of having made the right choice by appointing him as Ambassador to this region.
Because of his love for his country and people, he had sleepless nights during the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Sierra Leone. The soft-spoken Ambassador engaged the authorities of UAE and several institutions to see how best they would aid Sierra Leone in the fight against Ebola. The outcome of his efforts to solicit assistance for Sierra Leone was very positive and thank God the deadly epidemic has finally been declared over by the World Health Organization (WHO) at the weekend.
But as we all know, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has been making tremendous efforts in appealing to the international community and development partners to support the post-Ebola Socio-Economic Recovery Plan even before the end of Ebola. The response to his appeals has been very positive; as many countries and organizations have pledged to support the Post-Ebola Socio-Economic Recovery Plan one way or another.
Ambassador Siray Timbo has also been extremely busy engaging the authorities in the UAE and business institutions to aid his country’s Post-Ebola Recovery plan and taking into consideration the strong bilateral relations between the two countries, many believe that the UAE will assist Sierra Leone for the implementation of the plan.
In a letter addressed to Friends of Sierra Leone 24 hours after the WHO declared Sierra Leone Ebola-free, Ambassador Timbo expressed sincere thanks and appreciation for the generous contribution the UAE Government, Friends of Sierra Leone and other institutions made to eradicate the deadly Ebola virus. He also appealed to all of them to make the widest possible dissemination of the good news of the eradication of the Ebola Virus Disease to Friends, Family and the Business Community in the UAE and beyond.
On the other hand, Ambassador Timbo hosted a meeting with the Executive of the Sierra Leone Nationals’ Association in the Emirates (SLNAE) 24 hours before the WHO declared Sierra Leone Ebola-free.
During the meeting, the Ambassador, through his shrewd diplomacy, made the Sierra Leonean community in the UAE realized that the Government of President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has made several remarkable developmental strides across the country aimed at alleviating poverty among Sierra Leoneans through the successful implementation of the President’s Agenda for Change.
He also informed them that the President’s Agenda for prosperity, which was aimed at consolidating the gains that were made under the Agenda for Change, was suddenly interrupted by the Ebola outbreak in May last year which had devastating effects on lives and the national economy.
He, however, assured that the country will soon recover from the damages done to its economy during the Ebola outbreak. For this to happen, the Ambassador appealed to them to assist Government towards the Post-Ebola Socio-Economic Recovery plan aimed at kick-starting the Agenda for Prosperity whose development package would make life meaningful to all Sierra Leoneans in terms of poverty alleviation.
He also assured that once the country is declared Ebola free, the Government will redirect most of the country’s resources towards national development in tendon with the consolidation of the gains already made under the Agenda for Change.
“It is very important for all of us to come on board to help our country in the Post- Ebola Recovery Programme, as part of our contributions towards national development,” the Ambassador said to his nationals. He also appealed to them to prioritize the investment of their resources in their country in order to create job opportunities for their brothers and sisters back home. In a brief interview after the meeting, the Ambassador disclosed to me that some Investors in the UAE have expressed interest in visiting Sierra Leone in the not-distant future to invest in the Energy, Tourism, Agriculture, Mining, Marine, Aviation and Telecommunications sectors.
“It feels like home for us in the UAE, in that; this is the first time we have got a diplomatic representative in this country that cares for our welfare and always consults with us on national issues,” Ibrahim Talleh Bah, President of the SLNAE told me after the meeting.
Sierra Leoneans, he added, are delighted that they have now got a diplomatic mission in the UAE and they are enthused about contributing towards national development for the benefit of their people back home.
After the meeting, most of them were touched by the Envoy’s appeal to them to contribute to the Post-Ebola Socio-Economic Recovery Plan and to help their families and relatives back home; given the devastating effects of the Ebola outbreak to the national economy and the lives of thousands of Sierra Leoneans across the country.
In his usual engagement with Sierra Leoneans in the UAE, Ambassador Siray Timbo has always harped on patriotism and the necessity to contribute to national development as true Sierra Leoneans, instead of thinking regionally or with ethno-centricity. He has always appealed to them to put the country first and contribute to its development.
The quintessential Ambassador and his Embassy Staff are working very hard to identify every Sierra Leonean living in the UAE in order to know their concerns and how to address them at all costs. The Ambassador’s concerns about the welfare of fellow compatriots have made him a hero in the Sierra Leonean community in the UAE, which is very appreciative of his efforts aimed at reconciling and uniting them for the development of their country.
A Sierra Leonean businessman in the UAE, who is very impressed about Siray Timbo’s love for fellow Sierra Leoneans, told me that if only all Sierra Leoneans would be as compassionate and generous as the Ambassador, Sierra Leone would be at absolute peace; where no one would think of partisan, regional or tribal differences. “Ambassador Siray Timbo is a likeable Ambassador who has brought all Sierra Leoneans together in the UAE. And this had never happened until President Koroma saw it fit to establish a diplomatic mission here for which we are very grateful as Sierra Leoneans,” said the businessman.
He believes that it is time for them to start contributing to national development through the admonition of the shrewd Ambassador. Many Sierra Leoneans I have spoken to about the performance of Ambassador Timbo have made complimentary remarks about his kind person; thereby commending the President for giving them a perfect gentleman as their Ambassador.
Ambassador Timbo has so far justified why President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma appointed him to represent his country in the UAE by not only rebranding Sierra Leone and cajoling investors to invest in his country, but also by making Sierra Leoneans in that oil-rich Gulf State have a sense of belonging and that their Government cares for them greatly even when they are far away from home.
He has in every meeting with the Sierra Leonean community reminded them of their duties, responsibilities and obligations as Sierra Leoneans and urged them to portray the true image of their country abroad, instead of getting involved in issues that would smear and tarnish the good image of their country.
Ambassador Timbo is seen by the Sierra Leonean community in the UAE as a mentor, adviser and true brother who always expresses concern over their welfare to ensure that they are not hurt by the authorities of the UAE. He is held in high esteem for his patriotism, diplomatic finesse, compassion and generosity towards humanity.
To crown it all, the Envoy is doing an exemplary work in the UAE by rebranding the country, wooing investors to do business in Sierra Leone, bringing Sierra Leoneans together and admonishing them to be nationalistic and instrumental to national development, and by using his professionalism in International Relations in engaging the appropriate authorities in the diplomatic circles on the issue of national development. In short, Ambassador Siray Timbo is an embodiment of true brotherhood, diplomacy and patriotism.