OCTOBER 13, 2014 By Ibrahim Sillah, Saudi Arabia
Much has been said and written recently with respect to the ineptitude and irresponsibility demonstrated by the then Minister of Health & Sanitation, Ms. Miatta Kargbo at the early and initial stage of the Ebola outbreak. And, unfortunately, the same trend of attacks continues outpouring, and the spit of venom at the Government of His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma continues unabated. The “If she/they had done….” Had they………” “He/They should have…….” The “If’s and but’s” often fill pages of newspapers. Such continues to be ongoing expressions of the day, as if all Sierra Leoneans have become philosophers, soothsayers, predictors of tomorrow overnight. Ironically, among the majority of attackers and critics, only very few would come up with a viable solution of any sort to the menace of Ebola.
Fellow Sierra Leoneans, I think it is about time we stop criticizing EBK’s Government for the gross failures of his team workers; it is about time we give a break to crying over spilt milk; and it is about time we ceaselamenting over the loss of our loved ones and infected ones, for such acts would take us nowhere. In a nutshell, this is no time for political bickering, wrangling, and name calling; and neither should it be taken as an opportunity to make any political gains. Rather, what Sierra Leoneans of all walks of life need at the moment is to help provide solutions which could eradicate this killer virus from our midst. We should all be aware of the fact that the very fabric of our society is at stake and that our very existence as a nation is poised for extinction. This is a fact that might be hard to imbibe, but it is definitely the undeniable fact that we should unequivocally accept and believe in.
It must be abundantly clear to all and sundry that Ebola is here to ravage and annihilate our being. In just a few months, Ebola has taken the lives of more than 3000 people in the sub-region; this is just the official estimate. In reality the death toll surpasses that figure in high numbers. What is more perplexing today is the bitter realization that no one knows the exact figure of the Ebola infected persons who have not been clinically diagnosed; there are infected individuals who are at large walking in our midst unwittingly infecting others.
To rid our nation of this deadly virus, all hands must be on deck making concerted efforts, leaving no stone unturned until Sierra Leone has been cleansed of this scourge. It is only then that the process of political scores should commence.
The fact of the matter is that President Koroma himself is today in a state of confusion, bewilderment and sorrow. No one can figure out the amount of agony of soul he is passing through as a result of the calamity that has befallen his nation out of the blues. Ebola was absolutely unpredictable a few months ago. And since its outbreak, we have seen how the entire world, including the developed world, has been staggering and struggling to provide a vaccine that can not only cure the infected ones, but which can also put a halt to its rapid spread. We are now seeing how citizens of the United States of America are growing agitated fearing that Ebola may invade their homes. Hence, the dangers and hazards of Ebola have become a cross-continental issue, the solution to which must be searched and found as soon as possible before it becomes an international disaster.
Such being the reality, I see no reason behind casting blames on the Government for shortcomings that can by no means be undone. Our duty today as a nation is to stand by the leadership of the country to find viable solutions to the speedy spread of this lethal virus, which is indiscriminately ravaging the nation. President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma surely needs helping hands of patriotic Sierra Leoneans. Such help could be in the form of counseling as to how to handle the epidemic; it could be in the form of collecting materials, equipment and medical supplies needed to combat the virus; it could be in the form of garnering international support and aid to meet the needs of the hour and, equally important, it could be in the form of supplying food stuff, sanitizers and detergents to every household in Sierra Leone. Government must realize that because of the slow flow of business and the limited movement of people, masses are starving in their homes dying a slow death.
It is absolutely incumbent upon every Sierra Leonean with means to help their nation. Such assistance is essential to help to stop the crazy spread of the Ebola virus, thereby reducing the death toll of our very people whom we call mums and dads, grandpas and grandmas, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, cousins, schoolmates, friends and neighbours. Hence, everyone is a stakeholder in the fight against Ebola. It must be reckoned that Ebola is worse and more ruthless than any war that has been fought in recent years. Unless it gets timely wiped out, it may soon become the third world war, because it has already begun crossing continents. Countries after countries have in earnest started bracing themselves with all their might and expertise to prevent Ebola from crossing their thresholds with the sole purpose of safeguarding their nations from annihilation.
Most importantly, it must be clear to Government and the people of Sierra Leone that we must not solely be dependent on international help. We should be seen helping ourselves with whatever meager resources that might be in our possession. It would be indeed degrading for the outside world to see us standing with folded arms, as if Ebola is of no concern to us. It is about time we improvised ways and means how to take care of our businesses. We cannot hang around waiting for spoon feeding at all times. Allah helps those who help themselves.
With the millions of USD and EUROS that have been pouring into the affected countries, the leaderships of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia must make it a do or die matter to hasten to put in place well-equipped health centers in every nook and cranny of their countries with the capacity to handle such emergency and health hazards. Sierra Leoneans particularly will never forgive President Koroma for any further shortcomings and failures; Sierra Leoneans will no longer be camouflaged with cosmetic developmental maneuvers; Sierra Leoneans want to see the impact of their national resources being exploited on the ground.
On the other hand, every Sierra Leonean is of the firm belief that His Excellency, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma is fully cognizant of the incompetency of some of his cabinet ministers who are not only bent on amassing the riches of country, but who are also just wasting taxpayers’ money. Sierra Leoneans are no longer blind to realities; rather, they have eyes to see and noses to smell. And President Koroma should know that Sierra Leoneans are by and large growing impatient with his Government’s ineptitude and lack of proper concern for the masses. Since the Ebola outbreak it is the poor masses who are dying and starving. It is no hidden fact that a good number of Government officials have taken their families abroad; those who have not done so are ensconced in their fortified castles and mansions. With the multitude of ordinary and helpless citizens left uncared for, a recipe of civil obedience and insubordination may be the natural outcome.
It would indeed be a great pity if President Koroma allowed the credentials that he has earned himself since his ascendance to the highest office in the land in 2007 to crumple before his very naked eyes. Time is scarcely is his favour. Thus, he needs to urgently purge out those incompetent and unpatriotic officials in his Government and get them replaced forthwith by pro-active and competent individuals who have the know-how and the national will to sail the nation to safety and prosperity.
Downtrodden Sierra Leoneans are growing exasperated by the day. Every hour of the day that elapses makes them grow more despondent and make them feel more abandoned and more uncared for. President Koroma and his Government, therefore, need to speed up their search for viable and convincing solutions as soon as possible before the situation worsens.
Indeed, some may say that President Koroma might not possess such miracles. That could be true. However, as a father of the nation, he must go the extra mile to ensure that the nation is protected from this epidemic and that people in their homes are fed enough on a daily basis. This is the least that the President can offer in these untold times of tribulations and agony. The time for flimsy excuses is long gone. The President should act and he must act swiftly. We beseech the Almighty to come to his aid and that of the nation. May Allah grant His Excellency the wisdom and courage to sail the boat of his leadership to safe shores.