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Spotlight: Umaru Wurie Visits Saudi

Spotlight: Umaru Wurie Visits Saudi

News of “Ambassador” Alhaji Umaru Wurie’s official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was received with mouth-watering anticipation. In fact, it unreservedly became the subject of discussion in every corner of the Sierra Leone Community. (photo: Unisa Kanu, author)

Having notched a remarkably impressive term as an Ambassador to this Kingdom in the 90s, Alhaji Wurie is best remembered for laying the foundation stone of the Sierra Leone Nationals’ Union in 1993. That nationalistic legacy has long served as the yardstick of his Ambassadorial success in the Kingdom and did subsequently earn him the merited assessment of an impeccable public relations promoter.

Indeed, as the everlastingly irrevocable “Ambassador” title signifies, that assessment was to be confirmed as Alhaji Wurie would go on to become Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, and later Director-General and Ambassador-at-Large in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations.   

But perhaps, if titles were to be discussed, then the missions that the title-holder is out to accomplish must also be taken into perspective. Interestingly, “Ambassador” Wurie’s abrasiveness to tackle impossible missions and win them over had earned him yet another title: “Bond Wurie”! It might sound unwarrantedly adventurous, but those who have dealt with him would confirm that he is a charismatic negotiator with an undeniable knack for political theatre.  

I could have waited for the usual update of political events from the Sierra Leone Embassy from the Press Attaché, Alhaji Jalloh, but, to share the camaraderie of being the Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Nationals’ Union during his era, I caught up with him at the Riyadh Palace Hotel on Monday, 31st May, 2010, at 9:30 p.m. to enquire about his mission to The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Being the newly-appointed Development Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, his mission was mainly to  negotiate approval for the supplementary loan for the Western power supply Phase (1 & 2) to supplement Bumbuna in the dry season. Was his mission successful? You bet! For someone that watches James Bond movies regularly, I know he is successful even before he mentioned it! And as it turned out, he was!

Again, it was a matter of pride in diplomatic excellence and with a hint of nostalgic reflection that he mentioned: “I was able, through the help of Allah, to broker a visit by the German President Horst Koehler, to Sierra Leone just a couple of months after being elected President of the Federal Republic of Germany. It was purely a Bond attribute that I was able to pull off that assignment! President Horst Koehler has just resigned a few hours ago!”

Immediately he mentioned the purpose of his mission, my focus switched over to President Doctor Ernest Bai Koroma! I quickly analyzed, broad-mindedly, right there, that President Koroma is fundamentally pursuing an integrated agenda of reforms to address the most important issues in our country’s developmental agenda.

By appointing a high-profiled civil servant, who thrived under the previous regime and was almost selected as a running mate to Berewa, President Koroma must have denied conspiracy theorists and debunked insinuations in the process. After all, exceptionally productive civil servants are for the public good.

In President Koroma’s democratic “Business Empire”, a performance-based system for evaluating his cabinet is very much commendable a criteria. From the perceptions of the people, he will be positively demonstrating an over-viewing statesmanship by including those who can deliver, irrespective of their party affiliations. After all, leadership is a matter of collective responsibility. That is why the rule of law thrives on viable institutions and the separation of powers. These institutions can be independent of one another, yet complement each other for the public good.

Which ever way we look at it, signs are transparently clear that President Koroma can deliver. Everyday of his leadership is a testimony to that effect! Let’s stay positive!

Unisa Kanu, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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