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In today’s chaotic world, the attention on individual leaders and their performance grows brighter. Those organizations/countries that are supporting their value and the reputation of their leaders in these challenging times have one thing in common: leaders who pay attention to what they will leave behind them after they are gone. They ask themselves what values will sustain the organization/country in the long haul; what people will say of them; whether the organization/country they led will still be there to remember them; and if so, what position they will hold in the organization’s/country’s memory. (Photo:  President Ernest Bai Koroma)

I have decided to write about a great leader.  A leader who during his campaign took time to explain to his constituents what he would do if given the opportunity to rule our beloved country Sierra Leone.  Sierra Leoneans had faith in him and voted him, Ernest Bai Koroma into office, to lead the people of Sierra Leone.  He said “Give me three years in office I will turn Sierra Leone around.  September 17, 2010 will mark his three years in office.  Has he kept to his promise?  What are his achievements?

Copied from Cockorioko online newsprint:

One of the biggest turn around in Sierra Leone after President Ernest Koroma came to power was the movement of the country from darkness to light. Before President Koroma came to power, Sierra Leone had the dishonorable distinction of having the darkest capital city in the world. But within 90 days of ascending the throne, President Koroma restored electricity in Sierra Leone with his thermal energy project and before his second anniversary he completed the Bumbuna Hydroelectricity Project.  This is a flagship achievement by President Ernest Bai Koroma because it has laid the basis for industrialization in Sierra Leone.

Government vigorously pursued the completion of Bumbuna Hydro Electric Project. The project that had been delayed for over two decades was completed and launched by His Excellency within two years.”

Under the APC Government’s electrification scheme, President Ernest Koroma’s administration achieved the following:

  • Electricity to Freetown Within Three Months of taking power
    Soon after coming to power, President Koroma, as a short term  emergency measure to provide electricity to the capital Freetown until the completion of Bumbuna, engaged the services of an Independent Power Provider This was done within three Months
  • Completion of Bumbuna
    Government vigorously pursued the completion of Bumbuna Hydro Electric Project. The project that had been delayed for over two decades was completed and launched by His Excellency within two years. Bumbuna generates 50 mg of electricity
  • Extension of Bumbuna electricity supply to other towns – Makeni, Lunsar and Bumbuna Town is ongoing
  • New Thermal Plants
    Government installed a 16.5 thermal plant at Blackhall Road to further increase the supply of electricity to Freetown
  • More Electricity in the South East
    The BKPS in the South East is also been expanded to provide affordable electricity to more communities. Power generation has been doubled from 2 to 4 megawatts; and plans to expand the Dodo Dam to ensure all year round supply of electricity is on going and the moribund thermal plant has been refurbished and now produces 1.5mg. By April 2011, power generation will increase to 6mg
  • Electrification of provincial cities and towns
    A program of electrification of provincial towns and cities has commenced. This project will cover Kabala, Bo , Makeni, Bonthe , Pujehun, Port Loko , Moyamba, Kambia, Lungi Kailahun, Magburuka, Koidu and Kenema
  • Bumbuna II
    Plans are underway to increase the generating capacity of Bumbuna from 50mw to 500MW through the construction of a second dam.
  • Solarization and rural electrification
    Embarking on the provision of solar energy to light all city streets and homes in rural communities.  Government is providing funds for the construction of the Bare Foot Solar Engineers Training Centre at Konta Line Village, the first ever in the continent of Africa.  Homes have been solar electrified in several villages, including Mamusa, Blama Massaqoi, Kissy Koya, Makandeh and Mambioma Villages.
  • Another achievement by President Koroma that will be cause for much jubilation during the Third Anniversary celebrations will be the turnaround in Agriculture (farm for business). Agriculture is currently priority number one on the President’s Agenda for Change. The government ensured increased Budgetary Allocation to Agriculture from paltry 1.6% in 2007 to 7.7% in 2009 and now stands at close to 10%.  President is champion head of state for Agriculture in Africa!
  • In keeping with its commitment to make Sierra Leone self-sufficient in food productions, the government launched a tractorization scheme, which has the capacity to turn agriculture in Sierra Leone from subsistence farming to business-oriented farming.Under this scheme: 265 tractors and other agricultural machinery were acquired last year and deployed.  A landing craft capable of moving 12 tractors along the coastline of Kambia, Port Loko, Moyamba, Bonthe and Pujehun was provided
  • Rehabilitation of Inland Valley Swamps
    A total of 2,500 hectares of inland valley swamps have been rehabilitated and developed
  • Also to be toasted during the anniversary celebrations is the Government’s Small Holder Commercialization Programme
    The SCP will support the Smallholder farmers to move from subsistence to commercial farming – “farm for business.”  Farmers in every District will be provided with improved planting materials, and machinery including power tillers, rice threshers and rice cutters, rice mills,drying floors, fertilizers, assorted livestock, drying floors, packaging, storage and input/output marketing outfits
    50 Agricultural Business Centres (ABCs) which will house the agro-processing facilities.  30 Rice Mills will be constructed. Two of the mills with a capacity to mill 20 bags an hour are being completed in Torma Bum and Makeni.
  • Rehabilitation of Feeder Roads
    Rehabilitated over 1,000 Km of feeder roads country-wide, but mostly in the South and the East.

What an achievement? President Koroma’s outstanding achievement for three years has left people asking several questions.  Where was this man? The answer is very simple.  God was preparing him so that when he takes over the mantle of leadership he would leave no stone untouched.

The irony at the heart of organizational leadership is that the leader must add value to the organization/country but must not take it away when he or she leaves. An essential part of a leader’s job is to become dispensable through creating a culture of leadership that extends throughout the organization. There are a number of “models” of leadership – but they are all essential attempts to develop an effective metaphor for describing how leadership functions.

Powerful leaders have epitaphs and legacies in their minds, because their goal is not to win a few rounds in the endless game of business, while they hold the leader’s baton, but to equip their organizations/country to go from strength to strength long after the baton has been passed on.

What has the organization/country learned from you that will stand it in good stead in the future? Will you be able to say, when it seizes an opportunity its rivals failed to spot, or adapts more quickly than others to a new threat, “I contributed to that?”  This is exactly what His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma will say after he would have passed on the baton, “I contributed to that.”

When an organization/country becomes powerless and falls apart after the leader departs, the succeeding is, in a sense, a validation of that leader’s talent and evidence of the value added during his or her tenure. However, it is also evidence of that leader’s failure to bestow the organization/country with the qualities needed to rise above previous achievements, the failure to take care of the conditions under which leadership can grow. With President Koroma he has left footprints that will never be erased.

In summary, a leader whose success is based on the power of personality has only done half the job. As the American journalist, Walter Lippmann said: “The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him, in other men and women, the conviction and the will to carry on.” Effective leaders develop other leaders as their successors – and develop wide-ranging leadership within their organizations.  Mr. President you have set a bar of excellence that whoever takes the baton from you should be ready to work three times harder than you.

On behalf of the Executive and Members of the APC Dallas Chapter I want to take this time to congratulate you Mr. President for your achievement.  Political leaders make promises during election periods in order to gain votes. A few of the many promises made include new schools for the different communities, better housing, construction projects for roads and potholes, and employment opportunities. When promises were not delivered, many individuals would retaliate.  You have proved yourself to be a great leader worthy of emulation, and one who keeps to his promises.  I pray that God will continue to give you the wisdom to lead Sierra Leone so that come 2017 we will be begging you to stay.  God Bless You.

By Nanette Thomas, APC Dallas President

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