Are these the top one hundred most influential Sierra Leoneans of 2016?

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 December 2016 

Every year as the world says goodbye to the end of the year and welcomes the new, after Santa Claus has come and gone, it seems some people’s brain go into overdrive, as they struggle to reconcile reality from fiction.

It is also a time of the year when countries and organisations recognise people that have made a difference to society.

But how do you go about compiling a credible list of those that are believed to have truly influenced the lives of people in society, without causing controversy? What criteria informs such judgement?

In Sierra Leone, an organisation calling itself ‘Ecomedia Corporation Sierra Leone’ has published a controversial list of people it believes have influenced the lives of Sierra Leoneans in 2016.

The list raises the question as to the definition of ‘influential’, and the difference between influential and popularity.

Sad – but true, that RUF rebel leader Foday Sankoh, was both popular and influential, for all the wrong reasons one can think of. But would he have made it to this list of Sierra Leone’s top one hundred influential people of 2016?

Several of the personalities on the list have been called into question. Many Sierra Leoneans believe that some are at best untrustworthy and dishonourable; and at worse – damn right corrupt, as well as directly responsible for the catastrophic and deplorable social and economic conditions that the country now faces.

But in its own defence, this is what Ecomedia Corporation Sierra Leone says about their list of the one hundred most influential Sierra Leoneans of 2016:

Ecomedia Corporation Sierra Leone, the local affiliate of Ecomedia Media Corporation, Inc. based in New York City, USA, and the Africa Media Corporation, Inc., are, in collaboration with the other partners across Sierra Leone and in the Diaspora, publishing their inaugural list of the “Top 100 Most Influential Sierra Leoneans” in 2016.

This year’s list is part of the awards banquet organised in honour of the top 100 men and women on Friday, 9th December at the Bintumani Hotel in Aberdeen, Freetown.

The ‘Top 100 Most Influential Sierra Leoneans’ is an annual exhilarating list. Also known as “The Ovation100” or “Who-is-Who in Sierra Leone”, it is an annual listing and distinguished recognition of the top 100 most influential Sierra Leoneans from the huge pool of eligible “top-listers” the country has to offer.

The Top 100 honourees are from diverse backgrounds, including public service, entertainment, politics, media, business, sports, civil society, academia, and the professions, from across the country and in the Diaspora.

An initiative pioneered in 2013 in New York City, and first published in the Sierra Ovation magazine, the idea behind listing the most powerful or influential Sierra Leoneans is non-political and non-commercial.

According to Peter SaSellu, “we first published the ‘50 Most Powerful Sierra Leonean’ list in 2013. Along the line, we thought wise that 50 is very limited compared to the population and the diverse sectors and arenas in our society. The first ranking featured people like Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, by then he was chief executive officer (CEO) of the Energy for All Initiative, an initiative of the United Nations.”

 “The Ovation100 is a voluntary initiative. It’s non-political and non-commercial. You don’t have to be a politician or a top business figure before you can be listed or recognised. We conduct an intensive research in all spheres of society, including the media, and by asking people through surveys, among other methods. Also, you don’t have to be a very popular person to be included.

“In fact, we go deeper to look for those creating meaningful impacts in society and who chose to lay low profile at the same time. We talk to people that know them, including their friends and colleagues, before we finally decide on an individual to be among the top 100,” says Peter.

 The top 100 honourees for the year 2016 were recognised at a banquet dinner organised in their honour.

The Sierra Ovation Awards are established to recognize these influential, outstanding and trend-setting men and women who are dedicated to excellence and contributing to the political, social and economic development of Sierra Leone.

The finalists and winners celebrated their achievements with their friends, colleagues, teams, clients and the public at the prestigious awards ceremony held in December.

 The top 100 outstanding men and women received a standing ovation from high profile personalities, senior executives and dignitaries, and the media. The awards and recognition were presented during the end of year black tie banquet dinner and red carpet reception at the Bintumani Hotel on December 9, 2016.

 “We believe being named an Ovation Awards Finalist is a huge honour and worth celebrating, and as such, we respectfully required that all honourees attend to receive this recognition,” says Kadijatu Koroma, Associate Coordinator of the Sierra Ovation Awards 2016.

What is influence and how do you measure it? It will always be hard to agree on a common understanding and meaning of influence. Understandably, this always generates wide debate. How do we determine these people’s influence?

And why it matters that we assemble this list, you may ask. One yardstick we used was to emphasise that influence is not about popularity and popularity is not always influence. The influencer’s impact on public, social and political discourse, however, is what largely helps us determine their influence. 

Over the next few pages, you will find a breadth and wealth of Sierra Leoneans of all ages, both men and women, from all works of life both across the country and in Diaspora, whose actions and reach, we have determined, significantly impacted and realigned the country’s landscape in their fields of endeavour. They contributed in redefining the Sierra Leonean narrative in 2016 and we feel they will play a big role in 2017 – hopefully, for Sierra Leone’s good.

This is the list of the “Top 100 Most Influential Sierra Leoneans” in 2016:

 

No

 

Name

 

 

Current Position/Affiliation

 

Category of Recognition

1. Omaru Fofana Journalist Media
2. Kelvin Lewis

 

Managing Editor

Awoko Newspaper

 

Business/Media
3. Mohamed K. Mansaray

 

Chairman and Leader

Alliance Democratic Party

 

Politics
4. Mohamed Bangura Honourable Minister

Ministry of Information and Communications

 

Public Service

 

 

5. Madam Haja I. Kallay-Kamara

 

Commissioner General

National Revenue Authority

 

Public Service
6 Mohamed Sillah

 

Executive Director

Actionaid Sierra Leone

Civil Society

 

 

7. George T. Cole

 

Managing Director

Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Ltd.

 

Business
8 Francis Alieu Munu

 

Inspector General

Sierra Leone Police

 

Public Service
9 Moses Sesay

 

Chairman

Sierra Leone Port Authority

 

Public Service
10 Amb. Allieu Ibrahim Kanu

 

Chairman

Independent Media Commission

 

Public Service
11 Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai

 

Managing Partner

Abdulai & Associates, Luawa Chambers, and Executive Director, Society for Democratic Initiatives

Civil Society/Professions
12 Adama Sillah

 

News Anchor

Star Television

 

Media Personality
13 Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma

 

President

Republic of Sierra Leone

 

Public Service/Politics
14 Hon. Sheku Badara Bashiru Dumbuya

 

Speaker of Parliament

Parliament of Sierra Leone

 

Politics
15 Hon. Chernor R. M. Bah

 

Deputy Speaker

Parliament of Sierra Leone

 

Politics
16 Hon. Ibrahim R. Bundu

 

 

Majority Leader of Parliament

Parliament of Sierra Leone

 

Politics
17 Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai

 

Minority Leader of Parliament

Parliament of Sierra Leone

 

Politics
18 Brima Bangura

 

Chief Executive Officer

National Public Procurement Authority

 

Public Service
19 Mamaja Jalloh (DJ Base)

 

Station Manager

AYV Radio

 

Media
20 Ibrahim Habre Kamara (Sarah De Great)

 

Comedian/Artist Arts/Culture

 

21 Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles

 

Executive Director

Legal Aid Board of Sierra Leone

 

Professions/Public Service
22 Dr. Victor Salifu Suma

 

General Manager

AYV Group of Companies

 

Business/Media
23 Lt. General John Milton

 

Chief of Defence Staff

Rep. of Sierra Leone Armed Forces

 

Public Service
24 Ibrahim Tommy

 

Executive Director

Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law

 

Civil Society
25 Alhaji Dr. Alpha Kanu

 

Former Minister, and current Special Adviser to the President Politics/Public Service
26 Hawa Sally Samai

 

 

Chief Executive Officer

Advocacy Movement Network

 

Civil Society
27 Amb. Dr. Victor B. Foh

 

Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone

 

Public Service/Politics
28 Franklyn Bode Gibson

 

 

Mayor

Freetown City Council

 

Politics/Public Service
29  Joseph Sedu Mans

 

 

Director General

National Social Security and Insurance Trust

 

Public Service
30 Issa B. M. Kamara

 

Deputy Executive Editor

Standard Times Newspaper

 

Media
31 Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara

 

Minister of Justice and Attorney General

Ministry of Justice

 

Public Service
32 John Bonoh Sisay

 

 

Immediate Past Chief Executive Officer

Sierra Rutile (SL) Ltd.

 

Business
33 John D. N. Okrafo-Smart

 

Managing Director/CEO

Rokel Commercial Bank Ltd.

 

Business/Public Service
34 Diana Finda Konomanyi

 

Honourable Minister

Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and Environment

 

Public Service
35 Alpha Kholifa Koroma Chief Immigration Officer

Immigration Department

 

Public Service
36 Hon. Minkailu Mansaray

 

Honourable Minister

Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources

 

Public Service
37 Major (Rtd.) Alfred Palo Conteh

 

Executive Director

Ministry of the Internal Affairs

 

Public Service
38 Mohamed Sillah

 

Executive Director

Actionaid Sierra Leone

Wilberforce, Freetown

 

Civil Society
39 Ibrahim Babatunde Sesay Proprietor/Managing Editor

Satellite Newspaper

 

Media
40 Buffy B. Bailor

 

Chairman, West Africa Holdings (SL) Ltd.

Managing Partner, B & C Services Consulting

President, Institute of Chartered Accountants

 

Business/Professions
41 Momoh Kemoh Konte

 

 

Chairman

National Telecommunications Commission

Public Service
 

42

 

Centus O. Macauley

 

 

Managing Partner

Macauley, Bangura & CO.

 

 

Professions

43 David O. Carew

 

 

Managing Partner

Leone Consultants

 

Professions/Business
44 Philip Neville

 

Managing Director/CEO, Media One Centre

Executive Editor, Standard Times Newspaper

 

Media/Business
45 Mohamed Gento Kamara

 

Chief Executive Officer/MD

Gento Group of Companies

 

Business
46 Idrissa Kamara

 

Managing Director/CEO

Standard Chartered Bank (SL) Limited

 

Business
47 Alhaji Wurroh Jalloh

 

 

Executive Director

Sierra Leone Maritime Administration

 

Public Service
48 Abu B. Bangura

 

 

General Manager

Sierra Leone Ports Authority

 

Public Service
49 Samuel Bangura Director General

Sierra Leone Water Company

 

Public Service
50 Brima Bangura

 

Director General/CEO

National Public Procurement Authority

 

Public Service
51 Ady Macauley

 

 

Commissioner

Anti-Corruption Commission

 

Public Service/Professions
52 Kelvin Lewis

 

Managing Editor

Awoko Newspaper

 

Media
53 Dr. Christiana Thorpe

 

 

Deputy Minister

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology

 

Public Service
54 Lara Taylor-Pearce

 

Auditor General

Audit Sierra Leone

 

Public Service
55 John D. Okrafo-Smart

 

Managing Director/CEO

Rokel Commercial Bank Limited

 

Business/Public Service
56 Dr. Julius Spencer

 

Managing Director/CEO

Premier Media Group Ltd.

Proprietor/Publisher, Premier Newspaper

 

Business/Media
57 Hasiatu Jalloh-Agbaje

 

Managing Director/CEO

First International Bank (SL) Limited

 

Business
58 Elizabeth Mans

 

Honourable Minister

Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources

 

Public Service
59 James Sanpha Koroma

 

Managing Director/CEO

Union Trust Bank Limited

 

Business
60 Anthony Navo, Jnr.

 

Group Chief Executive Officer

AYV Group of Companies

 

Business/Media

 

61 Dr. Kaifala Marah Governor

Bank of Sierra Leone

Public Service
62 Edward Sesay

 

Chief Executive Officer

Sierra Leone Telecommunication Co. Ltd.

 

Business/Public Service
63 Hon. Marie Jalloh Deputy Minister

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security

 

Public Service
64 Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara

 

Hourable Minister

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation

 

Public Service
65 Prof. Monty Jones Honourable Minister

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security

 

Public Service
66 Dr. Sarah F. Bendu

 

Executive Director

Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority

 

Public Service
67 Haja Kallay-Kamara

 

 

Commissioner General

National Revenue Authority

 

Public Service
68 Alhaji Dr. Kaneh Yumkella

 

 

Former Director General, UNIDO

Current Aspiring Flag Bearer, SLPP

 

Politician
69 Alie Badara Mansaray

 

Commissioner

National Commission for Social Action

 

Public Service
70 Amb. Allieu I. Kanu

 

 

Executive Chairman

Independent Media Commission

Public Service
71 Momodu Maligi

 

Honourable Minister

Ministry of Water Resources

 

Public Service

 

72 Alpha Kholifa Koroma

 

Chief Immigration Officer

Immigration Department

 

Public Service
73 Isha Johansen

 

President

Sierra Leone Football Association

 

Sports/Society
74 Francis Ben Kaifala Esq.

 

Managing Partner

Kaifala, Conteh & Co.

 

Professions
75 Emmerson Bockarie

 

Musician and Activist

 

Arts/Culture
76 Rhoda NSufian Kargbo-Nuni

 

 

President, Sierra Leone Bar Association Professions/Civil Society
77 Hon. Justice Vivian M. Solomon

 

Justice of the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone Public Service/Professions

 

78 Professor Emeritus Kosonike Koso-Thomas

 

Chairman

Tertiary Education Commission

 

Public Service
79 Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh

 

 

Secretary-General

All people’s Congress

 

Politics
80 Nannette Thomas

 

 

Honorable Minister

Ministry of Public and Political Affairs

 

Public Service
81 Frederick Dapaye Peters (Music)

 

Musician/Artist Arts/Culture
82 Haddijatou Jallow

 

Executive Chairman

Environment Protection Agency

 

Public Service
83 Dr. David Tam-Baryoh

 

Media Practitioner, and Head

Citizen Radio

Media/Society
84 Lucy-Ann Ganda Head of Television

Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation

 

Media Personality
85 Dr. Ernest Surrur

 

Secretary to the Cabinet, and Head of the Civil Service

 

Public Service
86 Mohamed N’fah-Alie Conteh

 

Chairman and Commissioner

National Electoral Commission

 

Public Service
87 Hon. Claud D. M. Kamanda

 

Member of Parliament

Parliament of Sierra Leone

 

Politics
88 Abdul M. Fatoma

 

Chief Executive Officer

Campaign for Human Rights and Democracy International

 

Civil Society
89 Amb. Alimamy P. Koroma

 

Immediate Past Ambassador to China

Sierra Leone Embassy in Beijing

 

Politics/Public Service
90 Bishop Frederick Abu Sidique Koroma

 

 

General Overseer

Flaming Evangelical Ministries

 

Religion/Society
91 Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio

 

Politician, and Aspiring Flag Bearer

Sierra Leone People’s Party

 

Politics
92 Chief Somano Kapen

 

Chairperson

Sierra Leone People’s Party

 

Politics
93 Haja Zainab Hawa Bangura Immediate Past Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflicts

 

Politician and social activist
94 Dr. Brima Kargbo

 

Former Head of the National AIDS Secretariat, and current Chief Medical Officer

Ministry of Health and Sanitation

 

Public Service
95 Mohamed Kallon

 

Retired Professional Footballer

 

Sports/Philanthropy
96 Patrick Omolade Hamilton

 

Supreme Court Justice

Supreme Court of Sierra Leone

 

Public Service / Professions
97 Vivian Margaret Solomon

 

Supreme Court Justice

Supreme Court of Sierra Leone

 

Public Service/Professions
98 Nicholas Browne-Marke

 

Supreme Court Justice

Supreme Court of Sierra Leone

 

Public Service/Professions
99 Emmanuel Ekundayo Robert

 

Supreme Court Justice

Supreme Court of Sierra Leone

 

Public Service/Professions
100 Hon. Abdulai Charm

 

Chief Justice

Supreme Court of Sierra Leone

 

Public Service/Professions

13 comments

  • Santhkie Sorie

    Now and then we all have to take a light hearted view of life to ease the pain , stress and demands of everyday living. This is especially important in a country like Sierra Leone which has had its fair share of misery in recent years. The alternative can only lead to stress related diseases like heart attack , cancer and depression , to name just three.

    I believe the list is having its desired impact : to make us laugh. According to reliable medical research , laughing helps to relieve stress and hence health.

    The compilers of the list were sensible enough to literally just throw in a name or two – like that of Christiana Thorpe – to make us take them seriously , for no one can look at the list and think otherwise.

    Blaming the Sierra Leone Telegraph for publishing the list is grossly unfair as Abdul R. Thomas has more or less pointed out. The paper merely facilitates free speech which we should all be grateful for. If anyone does not like what he/she sees or read a counter argument should be developed and expressed with civility and clarity.

    Nearly all the other newspapers , including Cocorico , take a one -sided view of events in Sierra Leone , which effectively precludes anything which resembles an opposing view , which to me is not healthy , especially if the opposition is done within the bounds of propriety.

    If I were to compile a list of influential people in Sierra Leone for 2016 I would top the list with the names of all those in the medical profession , including nurses, who laboured under impossible conditions , sometimes losing their own lives, on the course of saving the victims of the Ebola outbreak. They did not run away but stood to fight stoically and valiantly to help us. If this is not influential to the highest degree I do not know what is.

    I would next confer honorary citizenship on all the foreign nationals who dropped everything they were doing in their respective countries to fly into our Ebola stricken country . This would be in the name of putting them at the top of the list alongside our nurses and doctors.

    We cannot ignore President Koroma whom I criticise very often. He would come behind the doctors and nurses , both local and foreign. He cancelled a foreign trip to be in the country throughout. How his government dubiously handled the financial aid that came in is another matter altogether.

    Next on the list would be the fearless Sylvia Blyden who defused the rather explosive issue of Bondo. Added to this is her transparent way of doing her job. Only those who are corrupt to their bones would not want to be like her.

    Who would not want to see Chritiana Thorp’s name on the list. She is another intrepid one. In an operation you want her by your side.

    I have to stop here and hope other right minded people will help.

  • Sahr Filo

    What the hell is this? My God… are you guys out of touch with the realities of all the epidemics that plagued our country Salone?

    Where any of these people with us in the trenches during the Ebola crisis? Where are the names of the men and women who lost their lives saving Sierra Leone? Where is my name, Sahr Filo?

    You people need to go to Bo, Kenema, Kailahun districts, etc., and ask the people who are their Heroes. Please.

    Anyway…Let me hold my peace and let it go.

  • Borboh

    What a massive joke. As always with affairs of the State of Salone mediocrity reigns. The whole damn thing lacks accuracy – does not even add up, as I would say in my profession. Whoever compiled the list has little regard for accuracy. For example Madam Haja I Kallay-Kamara (Commissioner General NRA) comes in both at 5th and 67th as does Alpha Kholifa Kororma coming in at 35th and 72nd.

    Basic spelling was also an issue – Kaneh instead of Kandeh (as in Kandeh Yumkella), for example plus more but by this point I had lost the will to live or to read any further.

    We really must start striving for excellence in everything we do or our beloved country will continue propping up every social and development tables known to mankind. The list has no credibility in my books.

    Not with such woeful school boy errors. Says so much about the care that was taken to prepare it. Absolutely none, in my view. And I picked up those basic errors from my very first cursory read. Or was it a case of the individuals whose names appear more than once paying for more than one spot?

  • Abdul Rashid Thomas

    The Sierra Leone Telegraph does not take responsibility for the so called list of top one hundred most influential Sierra Leoneans of 2016, published by Ecomedia Corporation Sierra Leone. The accuracy or efficacy of the list is entirely the responsibility of its authors.

    The Sierra Leone Telegraph is committed to publishing any content that it believes is of interest or interesting to our readers, irrespective of whether we agree or disagree with the judgement of the authors of the content.

    Criticizing the Sierra Leone Telegraph for publishing the list is acceptable, but totally out of place. We respect your right to free speech and have therefore not deleted your criticisms. Lets keep the debate going. This is why we exist – to promote civil liberty and free speech. Thank you.

  • Fatima Babih

    Did I miss something? I understand that the list in question was compiled and published by an entity called Ecomedia Corporation Sierra Leone – NOT The Sierra Leone Telegraph, which has re-posted it here for it’s readers.

  • Cisco Delgado.

    I regret wasting my precious time going through this list of the 100 influential Sierra Leoneans. I agree they are influential in perpetuating pervasive poverty within society, endemic corruption, recycling pseudo-politicians that are embezzling the state treasury from one ministerial position to the other.

    The political system in Sierra Leone is Siaka Stevens’ legacy that propagated Sierra Leone to a civil war that fittingly labeled Sierra Leone a failed state. So lionizing these corrupt politicians and their surrogates as influential Sierra Leoneans is unconscionable and disrespectful to smart thinking Sierra Leoneans.

  • Fatima Babih

    What a joke!! It is insulting to some of the people on the list; especially to start this list with a respected journalist and then sprinkle their distasteful list with a few upright citizens.

    It is obvious that Ecomedia is singing the praises of the most corrupt elements of the political power brokers in Sierra Leone, as a means of gaining favors from them. They should change their organization’s name to the “Grio media.”

  • Moromaamed Kutubu Koroma

    Mr. Thomas this is one time I have been forced to impeach the seriousness and integrity of your newspaper which I have always been enamored by, merely reading through the so called list of “influential people”.

    I will rather spare you the unpleasant scenario of having to tear in pieces some of the unsavory characters listed as “influential”, especially folks like Alpha Kanu, Minkailu Mansaray, and Foday Osman Yansaneh.

    Mr. Thomas, the sovereign nation of Sierra Leone is going through political convulsions and social vicissitudes on the part of the criminal cartel led by the very man you listed as “influential” – Ernest Bai Koroma.

    It is lamenting and sad that a reputable paper of yours can descend from the disciplined reasoning of Journalistic norms to the mystical aphorisms of big market antics, by pandering to the lowest of lows in skulduggery for cheap political recognition.

    Indeed, sad day in Journalism.

  • Hashim

    A silly nonsense joke. But that is truly salon where influence and popularity is measured by your political standing and connectivity.

  • Jerry Brown

    Good thing that the title of the post is not definitive as, for the most part, the names on the list looks like a rogues gallery. One can easily see why Sierra Leone is at the bottom of ALL international indices, if those 100 names are posited as the most influential …Lol

  • Abdul R. Kabia

    This is a bad taste joke. Even some of the names are repeated in the list. There are quite a couple of personalities who may deserve recognition if the list makers had highlighted the achievements made by those people and their influence on the common people, across the society.

    All the ministers and government officials included on the list were simply plugged in for their influence on the list makers and not judged by merit. They are all failures and whose notoriety is best known by under-performance in their duties, and corrupt practices. Most of the people on the list are all of APC caboodle.

  • Mohamed Sheku Kamara

    Most of the names are repetitively mentioned and do not reflect recognition of any sort, except champions of kleptomania and acute corruption.

    I wonder how most so called journalists publish false articles without material facts, based on their research if any. Such so-called writers must be warned for fear of action of litigation in tort. You have been warned?

  • Francis T. Kpaka

    It is unbelievable that most of the nominees are politicians who are not fit for purpose or have done absolutely nothing to change the lives of our people/

    In fact some are greedy politicians who have enriched themselves and their tailcoat carriers. Some are rouges who do not merit mentioning among others.

    Your criteria for measuring who qualifies is laughable. I hope those who are responsible should actually state the contribution of these people mentioned.

    Sierra Leone is a joke and if we are not careful our generation will NEVER see or witness a society with genuine intentions to better its people. All i can say is some of the non-politicians on the list have never been heard of.

    This is another sad day to cry home about. Is there a sportsman/woman mentioned in this list? What a joke!!!!!. Whoever wins should be prepared to make an acceptance speech that reflects the current plight of our country and the people of Sierra Leone.

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