Babatunde Ahonsi: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 April 2021:
Sierra Leoneans, unu adu o – una Kushe Kushe. Me na Babatunde Ahonsi, the UN Resident Coordinator in Sierra leone. On behalf of the over 700 personnel employed by 21 United Nations agencies, funds, and programmes in Sierra Leone, I would like to express my warmest congratulations to the Government and people of Sierra Leone on the country’s 60th Year of Independence.
Celebrating the 60th year of the Republic of Sierra Leone today, 27 April, is a significant milestone not only to the country, but also to its relationship with the United Nations, which began five months after the attainment of independence in 1961.
Since then, the partnership and cooperation between the UN and Sierra Leone have strengthened, in a bond that is based on shared values and common interest.
For most Sierra Leoneans and friends of Sierra Leone, today’s Independence Day anniversary should also be a moment of reflection – on the progress made thus far, including in addressing post-conflict issues, the twin shock of Ebola and sharp drop of iron ore prices in 2014, the mudslide in 2017, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
It is my fervent hope that this reflection would motivate action, particularly towards our common vision to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and actualize Sierra Leone’s aspiration to become a middle-income country.
On behalf of the United Nations Country Team, I would like to convey to all Sierra Leonean citizens at home and abroad my best wishes for health, happiness, peace, and prosperity on this historic day.
About the author
Babatunde Ahonsi is the UN Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone.
A day after the United Nations security Council recommended Sierra Leone to the General Assembly, Sierra Leone was admitted as the 100th member of the United Nations, by acclamation on the 27th of September 1961. It came five months after Sierra Leone was granted its independence on the 27th of April 1961. Despite all our setbacks, and short comings, and falling short of our development goals, set by our independent heroes,the one thing that has stayed and remained constant is our responsibility and contribution towards the UN body. On that front we have not disappointed. Especially in the area of peace keeping operations. Indeed, after our civil war, our country was seen as a role model for other war torn African countries to follow as an example of how to stop the war and win the peace. Unfortunately, all the investment we put in as a nation on peace building is in danger of unravelling under Bio.
Bio’s policies of trying to suppress the political opposition is in danger of resuscitating all the political ill will that brought us war in the first place. That is why we Sierra Leoneans have to keep pressing for all of us to try and maintain the peace. As a newly independent state, Sierra Leone was one of few countries that contributed troops for peace keeping operations, during the 1960s Congo, or DRC crisis. Over the succeeding years, Sierra Leone has contributed to African hot spots, like Somalia, Mali, and Darfur. Indeed our relationship with the United Nations has not always been a one way traffic. By 1999, during the RUF civil war, the United Nations deployed one of the largest peace keeping contingent to help bring peace in our troubled nation. So we appreciate the relationship that has benefited both of us.
Mr Babatunde Ahonsi – I thank you Sir for your kind words,good tidings,heartfelt wishes and prudent advice to the people of our beloved Sierra Leone. Indeed this is a time for deep reflection on the problems and challenges wem have been facing since our Independence 60 years ago from the imperialist British empire. What you are now witnessing in Sierra Leone is a land where anything goes,an eerie place where it is a taboo to arrange your priorities in order,an environment of utter despair where the most urgent obligations are being shuffled like a deck of playing cards by the government in Power.
Its been 60 troubling years and we are still crawling like toddlers,still standing on shifting foundations,still looking for answers to the simplest kindergarten questions known to mankind. Mr Ahonsi have you been quietly, diligently observing how changeable the SLPP government has become since they assume the reins of Power? Do us a favor Sir, ask them why their reclusive President and his wife have been callously robbing our scanty treasuries for their personal gain? We would like to know when they will be able to solve basic bread and butter issues for the poor masses instead of flushing away money down the drains of self gratifications.
Is this the time for them to be honoring themselves in fruitless pursuits of sensual pleasures while millions are going to bed hungry on daily basis? Ask them why they are building Victorian mansions when there are no affordable housing for the poor? And who knows,perhaps,just perhaps they will finally decide to come clean and tell you why they have been tirelessly harassing the Mayor of Freetown,and members of the opposition APC . Sierra Leone salutes you Mr Anhonsi.