Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 May 2018:
If you stay too long in the dark, you begin to see clearly. No matter the effort from those in power, if there is to be a change in Sierra Leone, we must do away with those who see themselves as the only brains and architects of a better nation, and who are unwilling to be on the same wavelength as our collective aspirations.
And the same goes to those who have become champions of ethno-religious and political values, and ignoring the importance of the conscious need to do away with those things that we have consistently identified as inimical to our collective growth.
We have indeed lived in darkness for decades. Little wonder that the people are regaining partial sight. What is now needed, is a nationalist-builder-visionary – our own divine optician.
Is President Bio, such a messiah or is he just a John the Baptist preparing the way for the arrival of the saviour? Well, only time will tell.
I also know as a matter of fact, that history and trite knowledge is on the side of those screaming for action today, because of the consequences of inaction tomorrow. The vultures can gather as much and as long as they want; what is clear as daylight, is that the leftovers of their antics are scanty.
President Bio does not have the luxury of time, especially with the proverbial ethnic and political divisions which have readily served as vector for the spread of germs and diseases as well as the era of intrigues, subterfuge and high level drama that has permeated the very sinew of our society.
It has been an eventful five odd weeks since the start of the new dispensation. Judging from his determination to do the right things so far, it is easy to see that certain manifestations of dysfunction in the polity would become history, to the benefit of the people, if he persevere with a conscious and consistent effort at the creation of an all-encompassing enabling environment
The trouble is that, they all start well before a gradual, steady process of greed, thirst for power and illusion of greatness often overtake them. Not necessarily the head, who in this case has a point to prove to the nation and his own sworn enemies, but associates who soon get pig headed with power as we saw at this month’s sanitation day – Saturday 5th May 2018.
That is why we – the people, must guard our hearts jealously before we are recruited into the hate brigade under different guises and turned into hero-worshippers, who then turn our leaders to demi-gods.
We can and should be critical of leadership without unnecessary attacks or disparaging assertions in the search for freedom and social progress. We need to build, not destroy.
While not losing sight of what President Bio represents, we must be conscious of the need to build for the coming generations, whose future we have totally mortgaged and almost literarily destroyed.
If not, our case might become like our experience with the man with the Colgate smile who hoodwinked us into decades of debt and destruction and sold us to the rampaging Chinese hawks and locusts from foreign lands, while his bank balance and those of his kith and kin swelled to bursting levels.
Ernest Koroma, more than any of our past leaders, showed us that our salvation is not in the hand of any leader.
Virtually all our past leaders have failed us. But he was one who promised much and delivered very little. To whom much was expected, but who gave a new meaning to what leadership is not.
So, my advice to everyone is to stand up for our very salvation and become more involved, plan, strategize, and mobilize towards creating the right avenue for compassionate and selfless leaders to emerge in a new environment of patriotism.
Whether in or out of government, we need to rise up against the forces of darkness who want to dim our light, our hopes, and take us back to the path of the pain and agony that have been our food for so long.
Collectively, we need to shed our pure hypocrisy which has made us victims of unending manipulation of ethnic, political and religious identities for selfish gain. We shout, we wail, and we cry but the demons continue to feed us with nothing but poison from the pith of hell and crumbs from our commonwealth which falls from their greedy mouths.
For years, we have agonized over Sierra Leone’s inability to utilise its abundant human and natural resources to develop its full potential as a nation, that was once the pride of the west Coast of Africa and beyond, as well as the degradation of all our values.
Our stunted development led to a nation that was crippled, objectively speaking; and in the strict sense of the word “cripple” – that is, a nation held back, sub-optimised and hollowed. Apologies to the “I reject it Brigade”.
Our problem was obvious and the solution even more obvious. What is there not to see? Yet, we were blindfolded and fooled. The handful of peacocks in human skin with whom we entrusted our salvation, completely polluted our moral stream, so that even the afflicted did not see their afflictions. They are already at it again in this new dispensation.
In tacit complicity, our silence, like lambs, turned us into a people without shame and a shameless nation without destination. Collectively shameless and submerged in anarchy and mediocrity.
We became a society worshipping incompetence and impunity, shutting down common sense and justifying all things in the name of politics and tribalism, as well as personal benefit. Our youths and our future, sinking lower than the lowest.
In the course of our journey, especially in the last decade, some ‘living souls’ became ‘dumber than the dead’ as they dug deep in oppression and wanton disregard for the collective. Their default thinking was on hailing the damned and damning the wailing wailers that dared to sound the alarm bell.
With their warped thought process and jaundiced eyes, our polity was dragged into the gutter with absolutely no rational thinking and never a consideration of the main issues that define us and which had become our realities.
We ended up building a decadent zombie empire in conflict with itself; nepotism, corruption and mediocrity became the music of choice drowning out the chorus of the few who tried to point out how compartmentalised we had become.
At a stage, our collective blindness to reality was worse than denial, if you think about it. At least, denial is that you can see it but refuse to accept it. And at some point, one may argue that you will be confronted with stark reality. However with blindness comes blissful, or should I say wistful ignorance which can easily posture as nonchalance in a land where form is usually greater than and preferred to substance.
We were so under the cosh that people with neither morals nor history were leading us and without us asking what we are doing in the crap hole. Anyway, if there is no morality, forget about a sane society.
But you can never suspend the truth like those who think thumbs-up is a replacement for critical thinking did. This is simply because a society progresses at the pace of its best minds and not the worst.
Yes. The organism called Sierra Leone is afflicted, which means the fever is in every cell and every organ. The inevitability of it, due to national nonchalance.
The problem has always been self-inflicted, therefore, it is our responsibility collectively, to clear up the mess. Like I’ve oft repeated, the obstacles to progress has always been in part, the level of denial, self-interest and lack of leadership. For so long, people revelled in mediocrity and chaos, it was the given – that is the way things are and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
But every cycle has an end. The mindless looting cycle is coming to an end. The rebuilding won’t be mouthing off. And we will go through a foundry. President Bio’s actions and disposition to the task ahead so far clearly suggests that an awakening is ‘perhaps’ on the horizon. But it is still early days yet.
Changing society is a long-term process. We will get there. Absolutely. Once we get rid of the miscreants that have been weighing us down for like half a century.
Take on those antagonists of development within the system who because of their insatiable desire for evil and greed, love of power and subjugation, are ready to sabotage every step of our change process for their own selfish interests.
The operative word is commitment, which is interchangeable for value system, also known as morality. Political will becomes easier with it in place, because it becomes the will of the committed people and not some narcissistic person’s delusional pipe dream.
It is imperative for us to put aside our experience of the immediate past and try to position ourselves to shape the course of the promised new direction of the current administration. Not as passive actors, but as active agents with a stake in the way things develop from now on.
Obviously, solutions to our problems as a nation can be engineered to address even the most daunting economic, political and social challenges if we channel all available resources towards turning around our sinking ship.
To achieve this, each and every one of us must not only find it in ourselves to make change happen, but we must never again allow our leaders to become demi-gods who can do no wrong.
The choice is ours to make it so. Incremental micro-level change can yield enormous macro-level results, with the necessary collective investment of time, energy, and resources.