By PEL Koroma, Silver Spring,United States
The stiffest challenge to the future of Sierra Leone is now. The election of President Bio to the Presidency was for him to reset the priorities of Sierra Leone. Since independence, there has never been a time for concrete stability and progress than what President Bio has provided in four years’ time.
Straight thinking Sierra Leoneans appreciate the spectacular shrewd and astute leadership President Bio has provided.
Who in Sierra Leone is against educating the Sierra Leonean populace? President Bio has accelerated the propensity of getting Sierra Leone back on the hills as the Athens of West Africa.
The sacrifice in educating our children of tomorrow truly worth the salt. No nation will survive without education. And as President Bio mentioned in a Town Hall meeting in Boston , Massachusetts, the SLPP government spending 22% of the nations wealth on education is not for votes. This is the case bacause educating a nation is never a quick fix. As it is, over 2.5 Million school going pupils are benefiting from the Free Quality Education. Sierra Leone missed this opportunity after the war, a reason why the young population of our country keep wasting. Together, President Bio has been constantly appealing for us to capture them when they are young. Sierra Leoneans should embrace President Bio’s agenda in preparing a future for our country. Now is the time. No other time, but now is the time. So much effort has been dispensed to liberate the minds of the people that have the ability to transform Sierra Leone. It is a process, and it should be a concerted effort to properly position the country for future generations. How do we do it? Certainly, diamonds have failed us. It is the same for gold, so also the rutile, bauxite, and marine resources for over 61 years since independence. Why not focus now on the reconstruction of the human resource of our country.
Truly, building the human resource of Sierra Leone will not fail the future generation of Sierra Leone. And that was what President Bio meant when he took the drive to put the little resources first on educating the people. The concentration on mineral resources as a way of transforming the country only benefited few corrupt people since independence. But educating the people will never fail the nation.
Amidst the financial constraints, President Bio in four years have re-refurbished over 100 schools with the meagre resources at his disposal. Has anyone done the statistics on the number of teachers added to the payroll, and inspector of schools just to augment and facilitate the quality of education that the country deserves. It will be amazing to see the fundamental changes induced by the New Direction government in the field of education. Are people taking note of the phenomenal innovations spear -headed by President Bio’s Minister of Education. If Dr. David Sengeh is allowed for another 10 years, Sierra Leone will again witness another mad rush of foreigners to Sierra Leone to acquire proper and durable education. Yes-Sierra Leone was known for being the bastion of quality education in the whole world.
President Bio’s leadership has deliberately connived with poor, and war weary disappointed people of Sierra Leone in order to chat out a road map that will assert equality, and nationhood.
Irrespective of the huge economic challenge in the world, major hospital projects are on-going at Kerry Town, Wilberforce 34 hospital, Port Loko ,Lumley, Pujehun and many more. In four years, President Bio is challenging any survey to discern the number of healthcare workers his government has put on payroll. And it is a major reason why healthcare workers have drastically reduced on the stealing of government paid up drugs for the poor people in our communities. The SLPP government has proven to be a responsible and effective government.
Sadly, most of the agenda set up by the media does not swing toward media in development. But it is a moral duty for a two side of a story to be told. So much has happened that should not be shoved under the table. It is about Sierra Leone, and not the entity SLPP. Civil Society Organizations should be trumpeting the bold steps President Bio has taken in Law Reform in Sierra Leone. The New Direction government in four struggling years have removed the death penalty from our law books. Is such an action by President Bio not worth standing up with him.
Clearly, President Bio has become the new friend on the block of Western Powers because of his tenacity in propelling democratic practices on the African continent. As a tool, former governments used the 1965 Public Order Act to silence opposing views. But President Bio, a doyen of peace, and protector of human rights have pushed the law makers to ostracize the seditious libel law from the law book of Sierra Leone. President Bio is very determined to construct a better future for the next generation. And that is what leaders do. It is so amazing the attention the New Direction has focused on gender parity. The gender law is in Parliament for law makers to see reasons why a nation of over 52% of women should be projected in national development. This action of President Bio will benefit a generation that has the potential to make Sierra Leone an epitome of democratic practice in Africa, and in parallel with the Western world.
Sierra Leoneans are desperate for power supply, a need that has never been addressed since Independence. This is the situation because governments in the past did little for the sustainability of power supply. With the huge task of providing necessities, the New Direction government has embarked on providing power supply to 7 district head quarter towns in Sierra Leone. And the New Direction government is making frantic efforts to take power supply to areas that we never thought is possible now. Most places, especially major towns like Masiaka , Gloucester, Regent, and Tombo have been lit up with solar grid, while transformers , poles, and cables are been positioned in the 7 districts for electricity supply. Disgracefully, some unscrupulous and unpatriotic Sierra Leoneans have taken pleasure in destroying government properties at will, and for what reason, God alone knows. President Bio spoke, and we have seen the efforts. Truly, President Bio is a trusted leader.
The leadership of President Bio though running on a very tight budget, have refurbished our Parliament building, the Miatta Conference Hall, and in partnership, the government is rewriting history by constructing the Gbere bridge, the Mabang bridge, and constructing a University in Kono, the Hillside bypass road, Hill Station -Regent Road, the Peninsula Road, the Moyamba junction road, restructuring the Tonklili, Bo and Kenena roads. And these projects are not cosmetic, but concrete developments that will stand the test of time.
We all saw the appalling reaction of Justice Biobele when he visited the
Youth Farm that was used as a conduit to siphon government resources. Today, President Bio is challenging to look at his government’s national youth service, youth in agriculture and fisheries, and the car-wash projects for the youth.
In 2018, President Bio promised to ensure that the people of Sierra Leone benefit from their natural endowment. When President Bio won election, he boldly retracted the unpatriotic concessions dished out to Mining Companies in Sierra Leone. It was a difficult decision at that time but he knew he was going to use his negotiation skills to push the interest of Sierra Leone . And what did Sierra Leone get from the steadfast negations ? His Excellency President Bio imposed the interest of his country on the negotiating table, and consciously appealed for a 10% dividend from the SL Mining Company, trashing out the crooked 2% the last government negotiated for. That is what patriotic leaders do. Not for self, but for all.
The fight against corruption is the unique selling point of Sierra Leone under President Bio. With a focused lens, the results produced so far is encouraging, and on the verge of making corrupt practices unattractive. The Millennium Challenge Cooperation can attest to the vehemency at which the New Direction is determinedly making corruption unfashionable. Today, countries are eager to take the road map employed by the government of Sierra Leone in fighting corruption. Transparency International, and other international barometers on corruption have exemplified the efforts of President Bio in his fight against corruption. For this, and other reasons, the MCC is ready to dispense over $400M in our development projects. However, President Bio has certainly not told anyone that he has ended corruption in Sierra Leone. But the will power to fight corruption is boldly written on the wall.
We saw in Freetown and other Cities across the country the distribution of social safety net to cushion the economic menace inflicted by the COVID Pandemic. Poor women were indiscriminately augmented, a situation that actually makes President Bio’s government better from the out-going government that swindled the Ebola money meant for the poor people of Sierra Leone.
Very recently, Sierra Leone witnessed the highest number of United States Congressional delegation visit . This is so because President Bio has restored the dignity of Sierra Leone on the international stage. The support Sierra Leone has enjoyed from international financial institutions like IMF, World Bank, African Development Bank did not come by lazy and unacceptable ways.
But because President Bio’s government is constantly keeping to international bench marks. The COVID Pandemic has debarred African -Americans whom President Bio has wooed to come and invest in Sierra Leone. Once the Pandemic subsides, Sierra Leoneans will be exposed to job opportunities since the New Direction has in line credible investor ready to tap into the untapped resources of Sierra Leone.
President Bio came to the Presidency with hindsight of restructuring the institutions of Sierra Leone. Sierra Leoneans know President Bio is a peaceful leader, and his inclusive approach in governance is remarkable. Why not vote President Bio in 2023. The New Direction, with all sincerity, should be given the chance to continue on the current trajectory.