Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 October 2021:
President Dr Julius Maada Bio last Thursday held a meeting with Sierra Leoneans living and working in the United Arab Emirates, UAE, where he also launched the maiden edition of the Embassy’s Newsletter.
Speaking to his fellow countrymen, he thanked them for the love and patriotism they have shown by attending the Exhibition Day of Sierra Leone at the EXPO Dubai 2020, and for comporting themselves well in a foreign country, adding that the UAE is a country of law and order, and, therefore, urged all Sierra Leoneans living in Dubai to be ambassadors of Sierra Leone by putting on their best behaviours.
“My government is working hard back home to make the country a place we all can be proud of. That is why we are hugely investing in education for the future of our children and national development.
“As a country, we are beginning to be recognised in the world for investing in education and for fighting corruption. I, therefore, encourage you all in UAE to be law abiding because you all are ambassadors of Sierra Leone,” he said.
The new newsletter published by the embassy features articles on the cooperation between Sierra Leone and the UAE, the strides already made by President Julius Maada Bio, particularly his Human Capital Development agenda and the efforts of the Office of the First Lady at protecting women and girls.
President Bio commended the Embassy for producing the newsletter, saying that it is part of Sierra Leone’s rebranding process, noting that the newsletter contained major highlights of activities carried out by the Embassy and the Government of Sierra Leone.
He also thanked the Sierra Leone community for attending the event and for celebrating Sierra Leone’s National Day at the EXPO 2020.
Also present at the meeting were – Madam Fatima Maada Bio, and Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the UAE, Rashid Sesay.
Well done to President Bio for calling on our fellow countrymen and women, in the UAE to show or commit themselves to be Patriotic to the Republic of Sierra Leone.The ordinary Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora has always been known to be Patriotic. The problem only arise, when this same Sierra Leoneans brothers and sisters returned to Sierra Leone and becomes elected public officials. Once they land at Lungi International Airport, they are transformed to a different pieces. Why? Well thats the $60 million dollars question no one have able to work out. I wish Bio could extend his words of wisdom to some of his unpatriotic and corrupt cabinet minsters that have been bleeding our country’s coffers dry. To be Patriotic, is to show ones love, dedication and being extremely proud of one’s country. And that feeling of love and connection to the land of your birth, should not exclusively be reduce to the country alone, but should be also extended to your fellow countrymen and women.
Patriotism comes with a plethora of public services and devotion which is crucial to a well functioning state.And for me, this has always been the missing jigsaws in our national development aspirations and discurse . Because if we are Patriotic enough, not only in words but deeds,in the long run It will help reduce corruption, conflicts, tribalism, regionalism, nepotism, and above all else, help us identify ourselves first as Sierra Leoneans before we retreat to our tiny enclaves of tribal affiliations.More like most Sierra Leoneans living abroad identify as Sierra Leoneans. But once in Sierra Leone they identify as Fulanis,Mende, Temmene, Krio Limba, Loko Yalunka, Madingo, Lebanese, etc. And that is where all our problems can be traced. And the only way we can stop this identity politics is through education.
Furthermore, If we want our country to be self sufficient and stand up and be counted as a bread basket, not a basket case we need to get the fundamentals right. We cannot develop our country based solely on export of raw materials and borrowing monies from international financial institutions. We need to follow the three steps to a country’s development. Education of the general population, strategic planning, like diversification of the economy, by cutting down our over reliance on the export of raw materials, tackling corruption and investment in infrastructure projects that stands to benifet the country as a whole . No white elephant projects.