Behind the President’s Historic Boycott
His Excellency the president of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, has made the history of being the first elected president and the first Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone (USL) to premeditatedly boycott the University’s convocation. His historic and intentional boycott of this year’s USL convocation has left many Sierra Leoneans in total bewilderment and has sent many tongues wagging. Many well meaning Sierra Leoneans are wondering why the president took the decision.
However, philosophers say that there is a cause for every action and to every action, there is a reaction. Africa’s deceased literary giant, Chinua Achebe, says that a toad does not jump in the daytime for nothing; it is either running after something or something is running after it. If you see a man running in his farm, he is either running after something or something is running after him.
So, if you see a whole president and Chancellor of the University deliberately boycotting a whole convocation ceremony, something is wrong somewhere, the president certainly has a very good reason for doing so. Although President Koroma is yet to state publicly the reasons behind his advertent and historic boycott of this year’s USL convocation, I believe he smelt the rat that there was a grand plan to embarrass him severely had he dared to grace the ceremony. It could be recalled that during the Njala University College, NUC’s last convocation, President Koroma was visibly embarrassed when a huge crowd abandoned him while he was delivering his speech which was listened by a handful of people. There is every possibility that the president deliberately decided to snub the USL convocation to evade a repetition of the embarrassment he received at Njala, more so when there were reports of a master plan to molest him on the FBC campus.
I have been observing that since the very day of his re-inauguration after the controversial 2012 polls, our president has been a recipient of succession of embarrassments. His re-inauguration ceremony at the National Stadium was vividly lackluster as almost all the heads of state invited did not turn up and the stadium was sparsely populated with many political parties absent.
When President Koroma went to Kenema to inaugurate the elected councilors, they all wore black to welcome him, claiming to be mourning the death of democracy in Sierra Leone. In Bo, the president was not given the customary standing ovation and very few people clapped while he spoke. Most invited dignitaries did not attend his visit and the few who did were visibly ill-disposed, wearing frowned faces as if they were mourning the untimely death of a beloved one. “Why should our elected president be at the receiving end of such cold shoulder treatments all this while?” “What crime has our president committed to deserve such lukewarm welcome from Sierra Leoneans who voted him to power?”
Whatever the answer may be to the above questions, the incontrovertible fact is that Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma is the democratically elected, sworn-in and re-inaugurated president of this republic and whether you believe it or not, it is just the plain truth. If people have anything against the president, let them seek legal redress, and not resort to subjecting our honorable first gentleman to consecutive embarrassment. If you do not want to respect President Koroma, please respect the position he is occupying. Dishonoring His Excellency is tantamount to dishonoring the state which he is representing. Whoever may be machinating such embarrassments for President Koroma must realize that he is embarrassing every Sierra Leonean, not only the president.
By Joseph Milton Lebbie
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