President Dr. Julius Maada Bio, on the 27th April 2021, commemorated Sierra Leone’s 60th Independence Anniversary with eight foreign dignitaries and reminded the occasion of the countries’ common interests as well as threats they face in the sub-region.
Present at the day’s ceremony were His Excellencies President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana, who is also Chairman of ECOWAS; Professor Alpha Conde of Guinea; President George Manneh Weah of Liberia; President Adama Barrow of The Gambia; Nuno Gomes Nabiam, the Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau; Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other representatives of Heads of State.
After they observed a minute of silence in honour of Idriss Deby Itno, the late former President of Chad who died recently, President Bio officially welcomed his colleague Heads of State on behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the commemoration of the country’s 60th Independence Anniversary.
“Your presence here, even as the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, is a demonstration of profound solidarity. For that and more you have consistently demonstrated, we are immensely grateful for your kindness,” he said, adding that countries in the sub-region were tied together by geography, a common history, shared values, shared interests and a common future.
“We face similar peace and security threats and we must stay collectively vigilant in protecting our common homestead. We share other common threats. Climate change and fragile ecosystems threaten biodiversity and food security in the sub-region. A burgeoning youth population is a threat insofar as irregular migration, crime, drug trafficking, and threats of a restive and marginalized population are concerned,” he said.
He said the country saw a growing youth population as an opportunity, hence his Government’s investment in human capital development – quality education and skills development, quality healthcare services, and food security, adding that Sierra Leone identified with the inclusive and sustainable development focus of ECOWAS’ Vision 2050.
While delivering a goodwill message from his colleagues, President Akufo-Addo expressed appreciation to the Government and people of Sierra Leone for the reception they had, noting that they were indeed honoured to grace the country’s 60th Independence Anniversary.
He confirmed that in the face of human challenges, no West African country was showing resilience like Sierra Leone had, from overcoming the civil war, to dealing with Ebola, mudslide and managing the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic in the world.
“On this 60th Independence Anniversary of Sierra Leone, I wish all of you can come together to build a new Sierra Leone,” he urged, and further admonished Sierra Leoneans to work hard toward peace, progress and the development of the country.
President Dr Julius Maada Bio decorated four Heads of State and 91 other deserving recipients of the Presidential Award to commemorate Sierra Leone’s 60th Independence Anniversary.
Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Commander of the Order the Republic of Sierra Leone, Grand Officer of the Order of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Grand Commander of the Order of the Rokel (GCOR), Commander of the Order of the Rokel (COR), Grand Officers of the Order of the Rokel (GOOR), Officers of the Order of the Rokel (OOR), Members of the Order of the Rokel (MOR), Presidential Medal (Gold), and Presidential Medal (Silver)are medals and insignias which are annual decorations by the President of Sierra Leone, and the highest in the land, to honour Sierra Leoneans in recognition of their diligent and dedicated services and other foreign nationals, institutions and businesses that have immensely contributed to national development.
The only recipient of this year’s Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic of Sierra Leone was Dr. Kadi Sesay, whom the President once said, at the opening of a school named after her, had “dared to be and has been unique for her exemplary achievements in academia, her commitment and proficiency in public service, her humility in leadership, her belief in what is right and doing what is right, and her perpetual inspirational presence”.
President Bio had also said that: “She is a veritable role model for me and for millions of Sierra Leonean boys and girls who believe that they can achieve the seemingly impossible and that ceilings are meant to be broken and barriers are meant to be breached”.
Others decorated as Commanders of the Order of the Republic of Sierra Leone were Finda Koroma, Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Bu Boakei Jabbie, Eke Ahmed Halloway, George Banda Thomas, three of the country’s most successful lawyers and the Rtd. Hon. Dr Sidie Mohamed Tunis, Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament.
(C) The Calabash Newspaper