Saudi Arabia Celebrates Jubilee with Pomp and Pageantry
The Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone in Saudi Arabia in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Nationals’ Union, (SLNU) on Thursday, 28th April, 2011, kicked off in grand style a two-day program to commemorate Sierra Leone’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations. (Photo: Ambassador Munu waving along to the children singing the national pledge)
The ceremony, which was well attended by dignitaries and well-wishers from mostly African countries, witnessed the ceremonial coverage of speeches and a grand dance and party on Thursday followed by prayers and reading of the Holy Qur’an on Friday, 30th April at the Chancery building in North Riyadh.
On an evening that saw a euphoric build-up to the occasion, Sierra Leoneans all over the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, dressed in full national attire and other flamboyant colours, and came in droves to express their solidarity.
The first striking impression that welcomed the proud nationals was the sheer opulence of the Samrah reception hall in East Riyadh. A stunning state-of-the-art piece of work, the hall stretched endlessly from one fully-furnished colossal setting to another, all blending in colourful partnership to grace the memorable occasion.
And when the ceremony did commence in earnest, it was Mr. Unisa Kanu – a former President of the SLNU that was given the responsibility of introducing the chairman of the ceremony, Mr. Ibrahim S. Yillah, the Embasy’s Minister Counsellor/Head of Chancery, who promptly welcomed the audience and aptly explained the reason for the gathering.
The Chairman also used the opportunity to appeal to his nationals to use the occasion to showcase the rich and diverse socio-cultural heritage of Sierra Leone.
The first speaker to take the stage was His Excellency Ambassador Wusu B. Munu, who gave highlight of the Government’s achievements under the Presidency of Dr. Erenest Bai Koroma – from Mining, Agriculture, Health, Education, Tourism to Infrastructural development among many.
In his statement, the Ambassador also said that Sierra Leone’s Independence on 27th April, 1961 was an important milestone in African history and deserved to be observed and celebrated in a grand style by Sierra Leoneans all over the world.
He added that the 27th April should serve a day for all Sierra Leoneans to pay tribute to the founding fathers and mothers of Sierra Leone and all those who fought for the country’s Independence from British rule.
Other Sierra Leoneans to give speeches were Mr. Munjuru Jalloh, who read a date-line brief on the political events of Sierra Leone dating from the time of our independence; followed by the former presidents of the Sierra Leone Nationals’ Union starting from Mr. Ibrahim Yousuf Sillah, who spoke on the role of the Diaspora in nation building; followed by Mr. Ibrahim Koi Dowui who read a poem that highlighted the wise sermons of the early years of our independence; later followed by Mr. Unisa Kanu, who spoke on the significance of the anniversary.
Immediately after the former union presidents’ speeches, it was the turn for the Press Attaché of the Sierra Leone Embassy to showcase the government of President Ernest Koroma’s groundbreaking administrative policies that have seen the country take a significant thrust towards a better future.
At the end of the speeches, there was a graceful performance by children born to Sierra Leonean parents residing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who sang the national anthem and the national pledge.
The audience was further treated to a variety of entertainment including a play titled: Mama Saylah – an excerpt of popular artist, Lansana Sheriff aka Steady Bongo. That was followed by a two-phased Fashion Show where children and teenagers had the chance to display traditional African apparels in a befitting show of nationalism.
On Friday, a good number of Sierra Leoneans also took part in praying for their country. Leading the prayers, the Co-ordinator of the ‘Daa’wa’ Committee, Sheik Mohammad Bailah Bah appealed to the congregation to recite the Qur’an with humbleness and piety.
He also appealed to the congregation to pray fervently for their leaders, peace, unity, stability and development of Sierra Leone. President of the Union, Uthman Kargbo also admonished the congregation to offer the prayers sincerely and diligently for their country.
At the end of the programme, the Ambassador thanked his nationals for their co-operation and solidarity since the beginning of the programme. He concluded that their co-operation since the beginning of the programme clearly demonstrated the unity and camaraderie among them; admonishing them to continue the good working relationship.
Below are further photographs from the celebrations enjoyed by all:
Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Information Attaché, Sierra Leone Embassy, Saudi Arabia
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