The Unique Case of Usu Boie!
President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma on Monday afternoon welcomed to State House the Minister of Trade and Industry, Alhaji Usman Boie Kamara, and a cross-section of his family and other stakeholders who have been with him in and out to make public testimony to the role the President played during his illness over a year ago.
During the visit to State House, Alhaji Usman Boie Kamara thanked President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma from the bottom of his heart for the role he played during his illness which he said went even beyond the President’s duty both personally and officially. “It shows the type of President you are because what you have done shows the true nature of your concern for human being,” the Minister of Trade and Industry told the President.
Members of Alhaji Usman Boie Kamara’s entourage included his wife Mrs. Isata Boie Kamara, who was his source of sustenance and strength during his illness, his sister Mrs. Daramy, Justice Abdul Koroma, Mrs. Bona, another sister, Mr. Adeyemi Paul, Mr. Maddy, Sheik Street Life Koroma, Mr. Kojo Brown, Mr. Konike Kamara and, of course, his son, Mamoud Boie Koroma respectively.
The President’s response to the thank you visit of Alhaji Usman Boie Kamara was so charged with courageous and religious works that they would likely motivate the Minister to serve the President and the state with more resilience and assiduity. In his response, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma said: “Let me start by welcoming you and your family to State House and to welcome you again healed and hearty. Personally, the Government and the nation have gone through very ambitious moments owing to your illness and we are happy that today you are back. And I also want to thank the members of the family and the friends who have supported you through this very difficult moment. For us, I think your health is most important. You cannot price it with money; you cannot price it with my time and efforts. I think what we have succeeded in doing God being the helper is having you back.”
One lesson we should learn from Alhaji Usman Boie Kamara’s public testimony to the extraordinary role President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma played during his illness is that we as traditional Africans must always learn to appreciate someone who comes to your aid in time of need. Though the Minister is an affluent Sierra Leoneans and Government official, he would have found it extremely difficult to battle with his illness abroad without the selfless role President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma played for him to become healed and hearty. Another lesson is that the President always demonstrates his passion for humanity and love for Sierra Leoneans especially those who have contributed immensely to national development. And this is not the first time President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has come to the aid of statesmen and serving Government officials during illness. For example, the President ensured that more than US$100, 000. 00 (One hundred thousand US Dollars) was spent on medical bills in England and India for the late Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Mohamed Daudis Koroma, when he was out of sort from December 2010 and May 2011 before he finally gave up the ghost. He also extended the same humanitarian gesture to erstwhile Vice President Solomon Ekuma Berewa few years later, when his opponent for the 2007 presidential run-off fell ill and was flown to India for treatment. His Government footed the bills. One may argue that the former Vice President is a statesman and therefore deserves such treatment from the Government of Sierra Leone, but we have seen many statesmen in this country who suffered and died of illnesses that could have been cured abroad, but neither Government nor President came to their aid as President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has been doing.
Besides, the President’s response also demonstrated the near indispensability of Alhaji Usman Boie Kamara to his Government. Hear his statement: “For me, I think your health is most important. You cannot price it with money; you cannot price it with my time and efforts. I think what we have succeeded in doing God being our helper is having you back.” The President could have easily replaced the Minister with another person when he fell ill more than a year ago, but because of the trust and confidence the President has reposed in him, he had to exercise patience using his own personal resources to ensure the Minister was whole to resume duty again. The praises he showered on Alhaji Usman Boie Kamara and the comparison of money, his time and efforts to the Minister’s life also demonstrates the respect he has for the Minister because of his humble service to the state and the special momentum he brought to the governing All People’s Congress (APC) Party when it needed more support to win the November 2012 multitier elections.
The grand welcoming of Alhaji Usman Boie Kamara and entourage to State House by the President should also serve as a lesson to all Government officials answerable to the President that servants should always be loyal and humble to their master. The humbleness and loyalty of the Minister has today paid off because even when he was recuperating in London for more than a year, the President thought it expedient to reserve his office until he returned him and this was a very unique case since 2007 when the President acceded to power.
By Thomas Vandi Gbow
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