By State House Communication Unit
President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma kickstarted the first leg of his nationwide thank you tour on Tuesday 12 December, 2017. The president started this tour at Newton followed by Rogbere Junction, Port Loko City, Mange, Bamoi, Kambia Town, Foredugu, and will end this leg of the tour in Makeni City.
Apart from several official engagements which we had already reported on, President Koroma held meetings with party faithfuls and execs where he thanked not only them, but also the people of Sierra Leone for giving him the unique opportunity to serve for ten years as President of the Republic.
The president also used the occasion to present the All People’s Congress (APC) presidential candidate Dr Samura Kamara and running mate Hon. Chernoh Bah for the forthcoming general elections.
As he did in his valedictory address to Members of Parliament on 7th December, President Koroma reiterated his appreciation for the opportunity accorded him to serve as democratic President of the Republic of Sierra Leone for two consecutive terms.
Speaking to a mammoth crowd in Port Loko, the Chairman and Leader of the APC described Port Loko as his political home, recalling that it was in Port Loko in 2005 that he was elected Chairman and Leader of the party. He therefore implored them to work towards winning the March 2018 elections. He also noted that despite the challenges, the APC has done tremendously well in transforming the country, and encouraged all party stalwarts and supporters to be proud of the party’s record since 2007.
President Koroma recalled that although the situation in Port Loko district before 2007 was deteriorating, he expressed satisfaction over the fact that the town and its surroundings can now boast of electricity, adding that the whole country is now connected with good road network as well as the fact that Port Loko had been transformed from a township into a city.
Similarly, whilst addressing a mammoth crowd in Kambia township on 13th December, President Koroma said he had not gone to campaign but rather to thank and bid them farewell as his constitutional mandate to serve as their president has almost come to an end. He assured the people of Kambia that the presidential candidate and running mate have got the requisite experience to effectively run the affairs of the state and take it to the next level after him. “These two,” he emphasized, “will hit the ground running as they don’t need to customize their experience but rather continue the development agenda henceforth.”
To save time in cataloguing all his achievements over the last ten years, President Koroma referred his audience to his valedictory presidential address to the House of Parliament which elaborated on that. He also drew the attention of his audience to where Sierra Leone was in terms of health care, road network, energy, water supply among others prior to his presidency in 2007 and to where the country is today.
To clarify his point, the president mentioned the Kambia poor road project his government inherited from the SLPP government which contract was not only terminated by the European Union (EU), but also requested for the millions of dollars given for the project to be refunded. Government, he said, had to refund that money and strike a new negotiation with the EU to do a better road which the people of Kambia district are using today. Amid rapturous applause, he highlighted the benefits of the free healthcare initiative in saving the lives of pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under the age of five. “We are proud of our record,” he stressed, adding that Sierra Leone has enjoyed peace and quiet throughout his tenure – no execution, no political prisoner, media plurality is in full swing among others. “That is the true tenet of democracy and that is exactly what we want Sierra Leone to be,” he said.
President Koroma however admitted to some challenges but cautioned his audience that “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Some of the developed countries that some politicians are inattentively making comparison with, he stated, had been on it for the past one hundred years.
In his short address to the people, Dr Samura Kamara cautioned “Kambians” against what he referred to as false promises from some politicians. He said Serra Leone is “ours and will only be built by Sierra Leoneans and not white people as others want you to believe.” President Koroma, he noted, has already laid the solid foundation and it is just a matter of building on it.
Dr Kamara pointed out that the concerns raised especially by those living in riverine areas would be addressed and assured of living to the expectations of the people of Sierra Leone. The APC presidential candidate appealed for unity within the party’s rank and file and urged all to remain united and determined to win the 2018 elections in the first round. He thanked the people for their warm welcome and entreated them to stay focused and vote resoundingly for APC in March 2018.
Pundit have opined that the enthusiasm shown by the people during this thank you tour is an indication of the preparedness of the APC to win yet another elections to move the country forward.
Stay tuned for more on the activities of His Excellency, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma.