ABC Secretariat Sensitizes Bonthe District
In its relentless quest to transform the bad deeds and manners of Sierra Leoneans to materialize President Ernest Bai Koroma’s vision of Agenda for Change, the Attitudinal and Behavioral Change (ABC) has over the weekend sensitized the residents of Bonthe District. (Photo: Executive Director talking to pupils of the Islamic Secondary School Mattru Jong)
The secretariat was in a series of events able to raise the awareness of traditional and tribal heads, political party members, nurses, students, police officers, military personnel, traders, and bike riders among others.
With a one-day workshop at the district’s headquarter town of Mattru Jong on March 2nd, 2012 on the themes “Relevance of Political Tolerance “ and “ Positive Attitude and Behavior is Everything”, top executives of the ABC Secretariat brought the participants to the realization of engendering President Koroma’s vision of turning the country into an exemplary state.
Welcoming participants the Office of National Security Coordinator, Mr. Nabie Kamara underscored the aptness and timeliness of the workshop. He maintained that with the impending 2012 Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council elections that has been characterized impasses among political parties within the district it is imperative on the participants to take advantage of the session. He assured if the participants heed to his clarion call Bonthe District will become a locality were party members and sympathizers will exhibit profound tolerance.
Making a statement the workshop’s chairman, Mr. Sylvester Bangura thanked the ABC Secretariat for reaching his compatriots most of whom have been divided due to political and tribal differences with what he described as a worthy awareness creation drive. In his view bad attitudes and behaviours are the major cause of the country’s problems and thanked President Koroma for making the issue of eradicating these menaces a main concern.” President Koroma’s initiated Agenda for Change is a real manifestation of his desire to improve the lives of Sierra Leoneans,” he said and continued that,” with positive attitudes and behaviours Sierra Leoneans will be in a position to benefit from the country’s vast distribution of natural wealth.”
In his keynote address the Chairman of Bonthe District, Mr. Moses Probyn reiterated the points raised by previous speakers and went on to implore participants to shy away from the notoriety of poor deeds and manners. He described the ABC Secretariat as a vital component towards the drive of paring Sierra Leone with other developed countries and called on government and its development partners to lend the Secretariat its require financial and moral support.
Introducing the ABC Concept and the Relevance of Political Tolerance, the Executive Director of ABC Secretariat, Dr. Ivan Ajibola Thomas registered his displeasure over the rampant display of negative morals especially by the youths. This he maintained is worrisome as the country’s future highly depends on them.
He denounced the exploitation of youths by political parties to wreck violence before, during and after elections. Dr. Thomas warned the youths to ethically participate in politics and use their abilities to attain education and other meaningful skills. He tasked political party elders to bring their members to understanding that political violence is criminal and its orchestrators are bound to be punished by law. Dr. Thomas concluded by underscoring the importance of the coming November 2012 elections which he maintained will be the yardstick by which the world will measure Sierra Leone’s determination for socio-economic progress. He therefore called on the inhabitants of Bonthe District to ensure that the elections are conducted in a peaceful, free and fair manner.
Delivering her lecture on the topic “Positive Attitude and Behaviour is Everything,” the National Coordinator and Second-in-Command of ABC Secretariat, Madam Nanette Thomas described attitudes as the way people feel and think and behaviours are the ways these are demonstrated. She therefore maintained that for progressive, peaceful and healthy living these two features of human character should be positive. She went on to say that one way of demonstrating positive morals for the 2012 elections is for Sierra Leoneans to register in droves, avoid double registration and vote for candidates that have performance track records. She later called on the women to actively participate in the decision making process of their district and consequently the country at large. Madam Thomas called on the participants to send and retain their daughters within the educational main stream and warned against sexually abusing girls.
Concertedly, the APC, SLPP, PMDC and NDA representatives, M.C. Barrie, R. Kongkate , A.G. Massaquoi and David .E. Campbell respectively commended the Secretariat and assured that they will use the session to make their politics tolerable.
During stops at the Mattru Jong Police Station and Prisons the ABC Secretariat team educated officers on the rational of performing their duties professionally. The National Coordinator and Second-in- Command of the ABC Secretariat, Madam Thomas informed the prison officers that prisons should not be transformed into hell for inmates, but rather correction centers were prisoners should be trained to live crime-free lives after serving their jail terms. She called on the officers to be god fearing and observe the human rights of prisoners. Madam Thomas advocated for prisoners to be provided with balance diets, hygienic environments and proper medications when required. She maintained that although the prison officers, like other government employees, might be facing unavoidable institutional constraints they should exercise the ethics that befits their profession.
Speaking to the prison officers the Executive Director of ABC Secretariat, Dr. Ajibola Thomas reminded them of their role in the dispensation justice and called on them to stop smuggling prohibited drugs and other illegal objects into prison yards. He also warned them to stop aiding prisoners to escape into peaceful communities at the detriment of citizens’ security.
At the Mattru Jong Police Station the Executive Director of ABC Secretariat informed the officers of how bad attitudes and behaviours of certain officers have tarnished the image of their institution. This Dr. Thomas lamented is not good since the citizens are expected to view the police as a force that should protect their lives and properties and not an entity that should be extorting monies from them. Dr.Thomas advised the officers to be apolitical and role models for other nationals.
In her contribution Madam Thomas encouraged the officers to start managing their finances, relationships, environments, spiritualities and health well. By this she said they will be capable of avoiding unnecessary odd manners that are defaming the force’s image.
In his reaction the Local Unit Commander (LUC) of the Mattru Jong Police Station, Mr. Emmerson Kargbo called on officers attached to his unit to take the challenge of changing their odd habits for their personal benefits and for the integrity of their profession.
Also when the ABC Secretariat paid a courtesy call on nurses of the Mattru Jong Hospital Madam Thomas advised the nurses to live up to the specifications of the Nurses Pledge. She described their profession as a noble one, and called on them to withstand any temptation that comes their way to put money or other material things above the lives of dire in need patients. Madam Thomas called on the nurses to give whatever it deserve to make the Free Health Care Delivery a fruitful story.
Talking to the nurses the ABC Programme Manager, Mr. Ishmael Cole bemoaned how the bad attitudes of certain medicos have hampered the health sector of the country. He pleaded with the nurses to be companionate and caring. Mr. Cole said since health is wealth, the nurses must realize that their services are paramount to national development.
In a related development the ABC Secretariat visited bike riders within the district. During the visitation the bike riders were educated about a recent Memorandum Of Understanding that have been signed quite recently in Freetown among police officers, traffic wardens, executives of the Bike Riders Association , Sierra Leone Roads Transport Authority and the Attitudinal and Behavioural Change Secretariat. Dr. Thomas informed the riders of how bad attitudes and behaviours of plenty riders have led to untold accidents that is claiming meaningful lives. He assured that if they adhere to the contents of the MOU there is the possibility for them to reap more income from their trade.
The National Coordinator and Second- in- Command of the ABC Secretariat, Madam Thomas observed that most youths have ignored other trades like agriculture for bike riding. Although this trend of shift she said has eased the acute postwar employment crisis, she observed that this is affecting the production of food in the country. In this light she called on the bike riders to use their proceeds for the attainment of better academic qualifications.
Concluding the sensitization of Bonthe District, the team visited the Islamic Course Secondary School were students were advised to put premium on their studies. The students were admonished to realize that putting up good manners while in uniform is important since they are ambassadors of their institution. Madam Thomas advised them to stop drug abuse truancy and sexual immoralities as this will keep them out of school. She furthered stressed that teachers should be role models for students to emulate. She ended by warning the male teachers to stop sexually molesting the female students as the girl child is of paramount importance.
By Momoja Lappia
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