By: Theresa Thomas
The African Achievers Awards is an annual awards program founded in 2011 by Dr. Rex Idaminabo ESQ. Awards have been granted in the fields of community development leadership, arts and culture, business and entrepreneurship, agriculture, community service, rural development, and education since the organization’s inception.
Michael Okentu Bangura, the African Achievers Awards Communications Director, stated, “This is no longer a strange event as it has been ongoing for over a decade in Sierra Leone where over fifty people have been nominated for this award and eight people are qualified having gone through their Curriculum Vitae which serves as one of the qualifications for you to be considered for this award.”
He went on to say that the process is free and fair, and that they are not responsible for nominating people into different categories; rather, community members and other stakeholders did so using the forms provided, reporting back to the committee on the outstanding work done in various lives and communities, which the committee will vet and forward to the advisory committee.
This is not only for the educated, but also for the illiterate who have made a difference in people’s lives and communities by working in both skilled and unskilled jobs.
The Africa Achievers keynote speaker, Dr. Cornelius Max-Williams, said the Africa Achievers Awards are always a success because the theme is “Maximizing Diaspora Investment for Sustainable Development in Africa,” which means tapping into the expertise and resources of Africans in the diaspora to accelerate the realization of government goals and sustainable social transformation in Africa, according to the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Rex Idaminaboh.
This Award Ceremony gives a venue for African industry to get together and discuss strategy, as well as build a blueprint for attracting diaspora investment to Africa.
The African Achievers Awards is a cost-effective way to honor entrepreneurs and community leaders who have effectively contributed to Africa’s rise, as well as those who selflessly donate their time and effort.
Dr. Ekundayo Gilpin, on the other hand, is a proud recipient of the prestigious Africa Leadership Awards by the UK-based African Leadership magazine at the international forum for African leadership in New York, as well as the African Achievers Awards in Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom, where he also serves on the Board of Directors.
Dr. Gilpin is a well-known figure in the banking industry, not only for his commitment and dedication, but also for his exemplary and admirable leadership style. He is a seasoned internationally recognized financial expert with decades of experience managing complex policies and processes in banking and bank-related institutions in Africa, Europe, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and the United States.
His strong desire to motivate and empower both management and staff to believe in themselves and set attainable goals exemplifies his belief in teamwork. He is also a senior advisor to the Commonwealth Secretariat in the United Kingdom and has managed significant financial and management initiatives that serve as the foundation for long-term reform strategies in more than 25 countries.
Rosemarie Blake, Living Water’s Country Director, is a trained and qualified gender specialist who has demonstrated expertise in dealing with these challenges in the institutions where she has worked.
She has implemented and facilitated counsel for situations of social amenities such as water sanitation and hygiene for everyone as a human activist and educator for women and children.
She is, nevertheless, overjoyed by the prize and promises to do more for underserved communities, as well as devote the award to all groups, including women and children.
SIERRA LEONE ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION: SUB SAHARAN BEACON OF EXCELLENCE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION
By: David Yusuf Kabia
It could be recalled in our nation’s history since independence (1961) that corruption was among the many things Sierra Leone was notoriously known for, which ties in with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report of 2002, which identified endemic corruption as the major catalyst that sparked up the decade long civil conflict which left hundreds of thousands dead and thousands amputated and made homeless. The prevalence of corruption within the public space was so alarming that Sahr John Kpundeh in his book “Limiting Administrative Corruption in Sierra Leone” (2004) sadly noted: “The pervasive nature of corruption in almost every kind of activity, and the reluctance of the nation’s leaders to systematically fight this wide-spread malaise, allowed questionable practices to continue and eventually become an institutionalized way of life for Sierra Leoneans. Consequently, the culture of corruption enabled the governing class to attain economic domination, and the whole bureaucratic structure was converted into an instrument of self-endorsement by prominent civil servants”. This endemic corruption grossly affected every facet of society especially the healthcare and educational systems.
In 2018, when Francis Ben Kaifala was appointed as Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 was amended by Act No.3 of 2019 which provided robust measures to winning the fight, such as, establishing a Special Division in the High Court of Sierra Leone specifically to hear ACC matters. Besides matters being expedited, the Commission was able to recover over 35 Billion Leones from convicted corrupt persons, recovered government property, secured over 90% conviction on prosecuted matters, exposed high level corruption within the educational system and other quarters. This saw the Commission being highly recognized and rated by International Anti-Corruption watchdog institutions such as Transparency International.
Sierra Leone has made tremendous progress on the Transparency International Corruption Control rankings for three years now moving from 117 in 2020 to 115 out of 180 countries surveyed in the 2021 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (TI-CPI). In 2020, Sierra Leone scored 33 and in 2021 increased its score to 34 which continues to be above the Sub Saharan average and the highest Sierra Leone has ever scored since the inception of the CPI rankings. This three years consistent exemplary performance by Sierra Leone on corruption control shows that it now leads sixty four (64) countries in the global campaign against corruption, including thirty two (32) African countries like Kenya, Guinea, Liberia, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Zambia, Mozambique and Egypt.
The Report which was published on the 25th January 2022 further continues to uphold the data-driven evidence of Sierra Leone’s remarkable performance in contemporary anti-corruption assessments against opinionated distractive views. This is vivid proof of the extent of the hard work been put by the entire Commission to redeem Sierra Leone from the shackles of corruption that have enslaved it for years causing abominable destruction to lives and property. It is as well a testament of the commitment of the People’s Commissioner-Francis Ben Kaifala as promised, upon his assumption of office on June 27th 2018 when he particularly emphasized that he was going to launder the image of Sierra Leone from the once one of the most corrupt countries in the world to a beaming beacon of exemplary prowess in the fight against corruption.
Sierra Leone is further highly rated by other renowned international anti-corruption institutions like the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which recently published data showing a score of 83% made by Sierra Leone in 2021 from a failing 49% in 2017.
While this consistent exemplary performance is worth celebrating, the Commission remains firm to ensuring zero tolerance to corruption within the public space in order to allow all and sundry benefit from the resources of the State, be it the Free Medical Healthcare, Free Quality Education or other State services.
This recent Report by Transparency International can only be a booster for Sierra Leone and the ACC in this winnable fight.
THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN
“The Greatest Evil”
“The world is a gas chamber – inside the world are gases we need to breathe and to live. There is no escape. Some people have been putting poisonous gases into this gas chamber, the atmosphere – over the past 200 years, and massively, for the past 30 years…. What we are talking about here is a murder project… What (“climate change”) means … is the slaughter and death of people…through starvation… ‘ Annihilation’ is a project to murder on a massive scale… billions of people. I t’s a project knowingly to undertake mass murder … .” – Roger Hallam, co-founder, Extinction Rebellion, YouTube: “Advice to Young People as They Face Annihilation”.
“We are in an unprecedented earth emergency… This is the challenge…for all humanity…. The Terrible Truth is more and more terrible…..A world of 1.5 degrees Celsius (above pre-industrial levels) is a disaster… 2 degrees will be a world impossible to live in…. (The 2015 Paris Accord Climate Change is not going to meet the target)…. We are increasing the level of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere faster than in the part forty million years – that’s 200 times than it would happen naturally… That’s absolutely climate crazy…. The heat in our oceans is (like) five Hiroshima hydrogen bombs per second…. We have to change our economy fundamentally….We live under an economy that is inherently destructive of our planet… If we continue to emit gases into the atmosphere, the earth is going to be an intolerable place to live in….Suffering and deaths of humans… a slow death… Billions of people starving to death…. All of the infectious and communicable diseases are going to increase to increase global temperatures rise… It’s a suicidal recipe. And the only plans we have is that of (COLLECTIVE) suicide… This is evil; if you can’t call this evil evil, then you are complicit…. This is the Greatest Evil humanity has ever seen”_* – Peter Carter; a medical doctor, founder of the Climate Emergency Institute. He has served as an expert reviewer for the IPCC’s fifth climate change assessment in 2014.
The IPCC that Peter Carter reviewed for… is the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”, the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. Science!! Clearly, the worst culprits of man-made Climate Change – historically, United States and Western Europe; and currently, China (responsible for 28% of carbon emissions into the atmosphere); United States (15%) – have been hardly listening to the science on Climate Change. The masses, and youth, in Africa, are clearly oblivious of the magnitude of the Climate Change Emergency. And, what about Africa’s educated leadership who are aware of these chilling statistics? Africa’s governing and political elite are mental slaves. They read and hear that Africa that has contributed less than 3% of global emissions to Climate Change, would be the worst hit (droughts; famines; floods; low agricultural yields; starvation); but, they wait for dictates from the white man as to what to do; they are unperturbed by the consequences of Climate Change on their people, since they are sure they would flee to the West when the worst will unfold. To put Peter Carter’s words in perspective as he calls Climate Change “The Greatest Evil”, I start this serial teaching Africans, and reminding humanity in the West, about some of the great historical evils – which Climate Change is WORST than.
Hitler’s Gas Chambers
“SS men escorted the men, women, and children selected for death to the gas chambers…Trucks carried those too infirm to walk, and the rest marched.…The SS men kept the people fated to die unaware of what awaited them. They were told that they were being sent to another camp, but that they first had to undergo disinfection and bathe. After the victims undressed, they were taken into the gas chamber, locked in, and killed with Zyklon B gas…..After they were killed, Sonderkommando prisoners dragged the corpses out of the gas chambers. They cut off the women’s hair and removed all metal dental work and jewelry. Then they burned the corpses in pits, on pyres, or in the crematorium furnaces…”
(SOURCE: The extermination procedure in the gas chambers / Auschwitz and Shoah / History / Auschwitz-
(The “SS” was a paramilitary organization when Adolf Hitler was Chancellor of Germany during World War 2, 1940 to 1945. The two main constituent groups were the Allgemeine SS [General SS] and the Waffen-SS [Armed SS]. The Allgemeine SS was responsible for enforcing the racial policy of Nazi Germany, with the ideology that white people were superior to other races, and other races should be annihilated, starting with the Jewish race, who are also ‘white’. The Waffen-SS consisted of combat units within Nazi Germany’s military. A third component of the SS, the Totenkopfverbande [SS-TV] or “Death’s Head units”, ran the concentration camps and extermination camps. They murdered about SIX MILLION JEWS BETWEEN 1939 AND 1945).
Josef Mengele “ …was a physician in the concentration camp Auschwitz, and known as ‘The Angel of Death…’ He practiced many experiments on people… One of the most common experiments was on twins…. He would pour chemicals on the eyes of twins to see whether that will change their colors….and sewing them together to see whether that would create conjoined twins… There were about 3,000 twins, only 200 survived…. He sometimes forced parents to kill their children….He tortured children to see how long they will survive…. He sent over 400,000 people to their deaths in the gas chambers….”
(SOURCE: 25 Most Evil People in the World [worldpress.com])
Africa: What Climate Change Would Mean…
“Statement before the (United States’) House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights ‘The Effects of Climate Change in Africa’;… by Caitlin Welsh Director, Global Food Security Program, CSIS April 27, 2021 …Two narratives dominate reports of climate impacts on food security in Africa: that climate-related weather events suppress farmers’ yields, and that climate change contributes to violent conflict and humanitarian emergency in certain ‘hotspots’. These narratives, while true, are incomplete. Instead, climate change affects food security for all Africans through a multitude of pathways, with important implications for U.S. foreign policy,…. The prevalence of undernourishment is estimated to be 19.1 percent, or 250.3 million people, across Africa…”(SOURCE: EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON AFRICA HHRG-117-FA16-Wstate-WelshC-20210427.pdf [house.gov])
“Africa is likely to suffer some of the worst effects of climate change and is ill-prepared to cope, officials said on Monday, advocating better access for the continent to world carbon markets….
Changing climatic conditions from cyclones to forest fires are already spurring poor, rural Africans to move to cities, in a rapid and often chaotic wave of urbanisation….
Some of Africa’s largest cities, including Lagos, Mombasa, Dakar, Dar Es Salaam, are coastal, and by 2030, more than 50 percent of Africans are expected to live in urban areas….Of course, it is Africa that is least prepared to cope..” (SOURCE: Africa ‘not prepared’ for climate change (iol.co.za)
Whilst the United States almost always perceive global issues through the prism of their narrow economic interests or “national security”,
Climate Change as “mass murder” is being planned, is being slowly executed, in front of the eyes of billions of humanity!! Ordinary nurses, teachers, doctors, lawyers, pastors, stockbrokers, scientists…. in the West are turning a blind eye to what Roger Hallam of Extinction Rebellion calls the “Annihilation Project”; as he compares those ordinary people pumping noxious carbon dioxide gases into the atmosphere to those Nazi SS that mass murdered millions of people during the Second World War using poisonous gases. But, unlike the SS guards in Nazi Germany, affluent people in the West are inside ‘Gas Chamber-Earth’. Hallam called as “delusional” the Paris Climate Change Accord of 2015, COP-21, which the West has hailed as one in which the best options for combating Climate Change were agreed upon – for their goal of keeping global temperatures above 1.5 degrees pre-industrial levels. The science shows that it is certain to go above 1.6 degrees Celsius, even 2 degrees Celsius – with “catastrophic consequences” for humanity. Africa’s presidents, and ministers, and bureaucratic elite know this. Guess what? Over 197 countries are going to meet in the 26th global Climate Change conference, COP-26, in the United Kingdom, November, 2021. The Conference of Parties (COP) is the apex decision-making body of the United Nations Climate Change Framework Convention (UNFCCC), founded in 1994…to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions and to protect the earth from the threat of Climate Change.
The first one was held in Berlin, Germany, in 1995. Africa’s governing elite would clamor to attend the COP-26 in the United Kingdom – to gain travel allowances. At COP-26, the richest nations of the world may again not live up to their promises to give Africa $100 billion for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation. $100 billion will not even be adequate for Nigeria alone – with 60% of its population of 220 million people living below the UN poverty level, and accelerated desertification in its northern region, and about 95% of its tropical rainforests vanished. Under the auspices of the organization, the SLAVE SHIP-FREEDOM SHIP (which fuses the THOUGHT of the Atlantic Slave Trade and Climate Change), I founded in Calabar, Cross River State, in south east Nigeria in 1992, I have been articulating this mantra: “ $2 trillion annually for man-made Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Africa from the richest nations of the world. (And from Arab nations that took part in the 600 years Trans-Saharan Slave Trade)”. Africa’s elites are slow to give traction to my vision because they are still largely mental slaves – they await individuals or organizations in Europe and the United States to first endorse my vision. It is not for “us”, as Africans, against “them”, the white races. The SLAVE SHIP-FREEDOM SHIP is for all humanity. The people in the West are ‘slaves’ to consumerism; slaves to gluttony; slaves to obsolete economic systems, and their false sense of superiority – they need FREEDOM if humanity is to be saved on planet earth. Call me. Reach out to me. We don’t have time to waste – the earth’s systems are at a “tipping point”. This ongoing sense of normalcy, and sedate language, whilst mass murder is being planned and executed is inherently insanity. Like Roger Hallam, my message – which would be imaginatively concocted – is mainly addressed to the youth of Africa, and the world; but also to enlightened humanity.
Leone Stars at AFCON: Time to say “Thank You Mr. President”
By: Mohamed L. Massaquoi
Yes, our darling Leone Stars are off from this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON. Undoubtedly, not the way we all wanted. However, our participation in the continent’s top-tier men’s competition provided a lot of positive take-aways which we all should celebrate as a nation. Before 2018, football in Sierra Leone was dead. The hopes of young Sierra Leoneans, who had embraced football both as a trade and a profession, was gloomy. The election of President Dr Julius Maada Bio brought fresh breathe of air into the football family in the country. On football development, Mr. President has demonstrated, like in all other areas of governance, that he was the missing ice on the cake. In such a short period, the New Direction government has invested and rebranded a previously dead sector waiting to be cremated into one that is now able to showcase its homegrown talents and compete in top tier football.
Except for emphases sake particularly for younger Sierra Leoneans, but there should be no surprises for such a stellar achievement by a man who has an impeccable history with football development in Sierra Leone. The Amicabral trophy, commonly referred to as zone-two, won during his first reign of leadership over twenty years still remains one of the country’s treasured football monuments and perhaps the only senior men’s laurel in our museum till date. President Bio’s active role in taking Sierra Leone to the AFCON in 1996 went unmatched by all of his predecessors. We had to wait for him for twenty-five years to bring the golden keys back. The keys are back and we are back on the continent’s premier football competition. Leone Stars’ participation at the AFCON means a lot for our small nation. Having the opportunity to keep the world standing for a moment while we sing our national anthem with pride, patriotism and enthusiasm on a global stage like the AFCON presents an exceptional feeling not only to the players but also to the millions of Sierra Leoneans worldwide. This AFCON edition is over but with so many positives which will continue to live on in the years to come.
President Bio has been widely acclaimed both home and abroad for his decisive actions and strides in leading a unified and cohesive nation. One of such strategies he has successfully used is investing in sports development. It is public knowledge that football in particular is one of those tools that propels unity and togetherness. This was evident during the national team’s participation at the AFCON. The euphoria and level of comradery from all shades of the divide that the tournament brought among Sierra Leoneans is incredible and something which many have described as unprecedented. It shows that indeed we are good people and we can live together, with greater things to unite us than those miniatures that tend to set us apart.
Since his assumption of office, President Bio has paid keen attention to Sierra Leone’s international image. The Commander-in-Chief has repeatedly stressed that if our nation is to be considered a serious member of the international community, then there must be concerted efforts towards laundering its previously tainted image. From a country once known for horrible headlines like civil war and corruption, Ebola and the mudslide, President Bio has turned the tides for good. Globally, Sierra Leone is now recognized as a model in several fields – the fight against corruption, human capital development and now as a destination for pure footballing talents. The AFCON enabled Sierra Leone to market its own homegrown talents, many of whom were impressive throughout our three matches, to the rest of the world. This did not appear as a miracle, but rather through strong commitment from the government. It is worth noting that after his election into office, President Bio’s government invested hugely in the resumption of the Sierra Leone Premier League to a level it was dubbed as the “most watched league” within the region. That move increased visibility for our local league and after that season, over a dozen of homebased players were reported to have secured professional contracts with foreign clubs and it is without doubt that our just concluded AFCON will open more windows of opportunities for other homegrown talents.
The Future of ‘Salone’ Football The talent and skills among Sierra Leoneans had always been there. The missing piece was moving from rhetoric to action but with a committed government now in charge that is desirous to creating the enabling environment for Sierra Leoneans to actualize their fullest potentials, the future for young Sierra Leonean footballers is heading for the right direction under the New Direction. The momentum built so far around football and particularly the national team has been huge. The AFCON 2025, scheduled to be hosted by neighboring Guinea, is fast approaching and there is every need for more work and collaboration among the various football stakeholders; first to secure qualification and subsequently to compete even better with Africa’s big guns. Football is back. The glee is visible among Sierra Leoneans. The youths are happy to be playing and watching again the sport that we all adore. For that, we say “thank you Mr. President”