One year after his election as Prime Minister of Great Britain, in 1997, Tony Blair introduced “Sure Start”. “Sure Start” was introduced to give children the best possible start in life through improvement of childcare, early education, health and family support.
The then Prime Minister ordered the setting up of about two hundred and fifty “Sure Start” centres across the country, to benefit children in deprived areas and from poor background. One of Tony Blair’s enduring legacies has been “Sure Start”.
Tejan Kabbah & NASSIT
Around 2001, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was becoming very concerned about his legacy as President. By then, he had served as President for five years. His first term was coming to an end.
President Kabbah wanted to be remembered as a man who left a mark on the sand of history. His decision to set up NASSIT (National Social Security and Insurance Trust) was meant to shore up his Presidential legacy.
Kabbah treated NASSIT with deep affection. When it came to appointing the first Director General of the trust, Kabbah asked the Ghanaian Government to release Mr. Eric Adjei (now deceased) on secondment to serve as Director General.
After Mr. Adjei left, the SLPP wanted a strong party member to be appointed Director General. Kabbah refused.
Kabbah insisted on the appointment of Edmund Koroma as the first Sierra Leonean Director General of the trust. The appointment of Edmund Koroma did not go down well with some senior SLPP members. But Kabbah wanted the best man for the job. And the best man he got! The rest is history.
Kabbah has always mentioned NASSIT as one of his enduring legacies. He once told a local journalist, in an interview that Sierra Leoneans must not forget that, NASSIT is his brainchild.
President Koroma & Local Content Policy
It is disingenuous for anybody to stand up and say President Ernest Bai Koroma has not done anything for Sierra Leone. We know how this country was, when Koroma assumed the mantle of leadership. For instance, Freetown was in total blackout. It was Koroma who returned life to this once dead city.
Koroma has contributed greatly to the development of this country. He should be commended for the political will he has demonstrated in developing this country.
The fact of the matter is that, there are huge challenges facing the country. Koroma has shown undiminished courage and enthusiasm to face up to those challenges and to tackle them head on.
Local Content Policy
Nobody knows why, several months after openly declaring government’s determination to transform the Local Content Policy into law, no concrete steps have so far been seen taken by President Koroma.
Koroma should put more emphasis on the implementation of the Local Content Policy. The Local Content Policy will transform the life of many Sierra Leoneans. The nation, to a huge extent depends on the implementation of the Local Content Policy.
Afterall, at the end of the day, what are Sierra Leoneans really benefiting from their God-given natural resources? Foreigners continue to exploit our country’s natural resources and we continue to wallow in abject poverty.
A western journalist, who spent eleven days in Sierra Leone, returned to the United Kingdom and described Sierra Leone in the Mail on Sunday newspaper as “a wealthy but poor country”.
President Koroma should not forget that, he will not be in power forever. He has to leave behind an enduring legacy that, people will always remember him for. He should, therefore, speed up the implementation of the Local Content Policy.
Some voluble APC propagandists and Koromaists have been criticising the 2012 flag bearer of the SLPP, Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio for speaking out on some national issues. They argued that, since he was no longer Party flag bearer, he should not make any public comment on national issues. What a warped logic!
The Resident Minister East, William Juana Smith was quoted in the “Awareness Times” of being very upset about comments made by Brig. Bio on FM 98.1. Can Mr. W.J. Smith tell us why he was thrown out of the SOS compound along the Lumley Beach Road around 1989/1999? Those who live in glass houses must not throw stones.
It has to be said that, fair criticisms of the President and the government will help direct the affairs of state. Sycophants and praise singers must hang up their boots now and wait until 2017.