Sierra Leone @ 60… President Bio Calls For Reflection

By Amin Kef Sesay

In a nationwide broadcast on the 60th anniversary of the country’s independence on the 27th April 2021, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio admonished Sierra Leoneans to reflect on all that had happened to the country since independence and see how they can contribute positively towards the development of the country.

 As the country commemorates its 60th independence anniversary, several Heads of State from the Gambia, President Adama Barrow, Ghana, President Nana Akufo-Addo, Guinea, Professor Alpha Conde, Liberia, President George O Weah, Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and the Guinea-Bissau Prime Minister, Nuno Gomes Nabian, jetted in to support the people of Sierra Leone as they celebrate six decades of Excellence, Resilience, Unity and Freedom.

In his address to the nation marking the 60th anniversary celebration of the country’s independence, President Bio said that as the country commemorates its sixty years of independence from British colonial rule, it is but fitting that Sierra Leoneans do a reflection “on the vision, great sacrifice, and courage of those who led, those who helped them lead, and those who embraced their leadership to usher in our sovereignty as an independent nation in the Commonwealth.”

He recalled the words of the First Prime Minister of the country, Sir Milton Margai, on the first independence day, where he “admonished citizens of the newly independent Sierra Leone to “face up squarely to the problems which will confront” Sierra Leoneans. He urged commitment to “wholehearted service and hard work” in order to “make our country a land worth living in, a land worth serving.”

Sir Milton Margai, President Bio went on, called on Sierra Leoneans to “deal fairly and honestly” with their fellow men, “strive actively for peace, friendship, and unity,” and to discourage lawlessness.

He stressed that in the past 60 years, “we have learned to live together as a nation. We are a global model for religious tolerance. We intermarry and cohabit peacefully in our towns and villages.”

His Excellency also recalled the numerous coups and repressive single-party dictatorships that have characterised the past, adding that amidst all these, Sierra Leone has been able to “consolidated one of the sturdiest multiparty democracies in Africa,” furthering that with a bloody civil war that lasted for a decade, Sierra Leoneans have been able to come out of it with resilience and peace has prevailed for over two decades since.

Buttressing the resilience of fellow Sierra Leoneans, His Excellency recalled the natural disasters and pestilence that have led to the near collapse of the country’s economy, including mismanagement of its natural resources and degradation of the environment, corruption and bad governance, the lack of justice and equal access to opportunity, especially for women and youths, “we have emerged stronger, tougher, and more resilient every time.”

He furthered that those events had made the nation strong, as citizens and the government have learnt lessons from those events.

“This 60th commemoration of our country’s independence is therefore a watershed moment in our nation’s history. We must use it to reflect on the past only as it helps us avoid the worst of the past and work diligently for a shared future of peace and prosperity that our nation truly deserves,” President Bio admonished.

His Excellency called for collective action to build a better and stronger nation, of which the medium-term national development plan of his government will form the back bone, backed by the a more accurate population data, through the housing census to enable the allocation of resources to priority areas that will support sustainable national development.

President Bio furthered that his government’s economic policies had resulted in development partners’ re-engagement. These policies had led to the lowering of inflation and an increase in the country’s reserve, in spite of the impact of COVID-19.

He disclosed that the country has made great progress in the ease of doing business indicators and areas of growth like agriculture, mining, fishing, and tourism are being prioritised. He furthered that new players in the mining sector are coming in, which indicates renewed confidence in the sectors.

“The regeneration of artisanal and industrial fishing and fish processing, and millions of dollars of investment in new agricultural projects indicate renewed confidence in these sectors.

Speaking on the progress made in the tourism sector, President Bio maintained that despite the negative impact of COVID on countries across the world, Sierra Leone’s international profile in that sector had appreciated

“No doubt, Sierra Leone is still a diamond in the rough. Ours is a peaceful and alluring slice of God’s earth where history and nature conjoin to offer some of the most stunning tourism products. In spite of COVID, the international profile of Sierra Leone as a tourism destination has improved over the last three years. More African American brothers and sisters are proudly reclaiming their heritage and with them comes the promise of new expertise and entrepreneurship,” HE maintained.

President Bio encouraged Sierra Leoneans to be responsible citizens and embrace each other as the nation stands to gain everything from it. “It is the future we want; it is the future we will build together”.

“So let me once again congratulate all of us as we commemorate this 60th anniversary of our independence. Let us each resolve to contribute to building our shared future. May God/ Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala bless our endeavours and guide us in this Holy Month of Ramadan” he concluded.


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