Sierra Leone woke up to the sudden death of a hero on Friday April 29, 2011. What a shocking piece of news fell on the ears of the nation on that day?
The late Honourable Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Mr. Mohamed Daudis Koroma was an exemplary public servant who served his country with duty and honour.
It can only be characterized as a thunderbolt that has sent tremors to the nerves of every Sierra Leonean that is aware of the great and meaningful contributions this gentleman has made for the nation at large. As a journalist, he has been doing his job without fear or favour.
In Mohamed Koroma, you can find a highly groomed and cultured journalist. In ‘Orman,’ as I used to call him, you can find a patriotic citizen who deeply loved his country and took pride every single day serving the people of Sierra Leone. You can find the human being, the tender-hearted, the loving brother and all the characteristics of a high caliber person. His death is indeed a big loss to his family, the entire nation in general and for me in particular. Why for me in particular? Read what follows.
I first met with the late Mr. Mohamed D. Koroma in 1995 when he was working for The Point newspaper and later we became close friends when he was working for The Champion Newspaper owned by a Nigerian national, Umaru Davies.
In 1998, Mr. Koroma left The Champion and established The African Champion. He invited me to work with him. He was the Proprietor and Managing editor of that newspaper. Few years later, he offered me the position of editor which I accepted.
At some point, and out of good will of a true brother and friend, he advised that both of us should further our studies to prepare ourselves more professionally in other domains for more meaningful nation building. And indeed he went to England and studied. Upon his arrival, I also went to the United States.
Upon my arrival from the Sates, I resumed work with him. Along the way, he made me aware of the great admiration he had for the then presidential hopeful Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma. He asked me to join him in his support of Ernest Koroma’s Presidential campaign for the vision that he had for Sierra Leone.
What was more, we expressed our support not only professionally, but more importantly we did it constructively knowing fully well that we were doing the right thing. And we are glad that until now the nation has not been disappointed by President Koroma.
Mohamed Champion, as he was fondly called, was the first person who formally introduced me to H.E President Ernest Koroma at the latter’s Goderich residence in the West-end of Freetown. He made the President knows me as a person and also knows me for what I can do, and the principles that I advocate.
Shortly after his victory in 2007, it pleased His Excellency the President to appoint Daudis Koroma as Hon. Deputy Minister of Information and Communications. In his new capacity, Mr. Koroma made it clear in no uncertain terms that he was there to institute palpable changes with his boss, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo.
And indeed, both men made sure that they revamped the communication and postal services. The late man was not the kind of minister who would ensconce himself in his office; rather, he was a field worker who would like to closely follow up and see things with his naked eyes so that he could make informed recommendations related to workers’ needs if and when required.
In March 2009, H.E President Ernest Bai Koroma transferred Hon. Daudis Koroma to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation as Deputy Minister of that Ministry. A position he held with competence until the substantive Minister of Health, Mr. Sheku Koroma was relieved of his duties. Mohamed Daudis handled the affairs of that ministry with maturity under the supervision of the Vice President, Sahr Samuel Sumana. He also proved his mettle in that ministry beyond all reasonable doubt.
In the last December 2010 reshuffle, the Minister of Information, Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, who made the announcement said, “Mohamed Koroma has been elevated to the status of Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.”
In that capacity, Mr. Koroma once again manifested his mettles and patriotic qualities. In so short a time, he started his regular and unannounced visits to hospitals, public health centers and pharmacies to check the services and the status of medications dispensed. And those surprise visits indeed paid dividends.
I would vividly recall those days I used to spend time with the late Mr. Mohamed Koroma. He and I used to stay together for very long hours not only at work, but in outdoor activities. It was bed time that used to part us most often.
Another experience that I would recall was the strains he and I underwent at the early stage of our professional life at No.1 Short Street in down town Freetown. We used to work in an office where no materials and equipment were available. In those days, it was such a struggle for us to get our work published, but we steadfastly endured all the hardship and were able to successfully get through.
I would always be grateful to some of our senior colleagues who were very helpful to us – I.B. Kargbo (now Minister of Information and Official Government Spokesman), Paul Kamara (now Youths and Sports Minister), Richie Olu Gordon (late), the BBC’s Lansana Fofanah, David Tam Baryoh, to name but a few.
On a personal note, almost two years ago when my wife was in the Delivery Room at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) in Freetown, Mr. Mohamed Koroma made it a point of duty to go to the hospital himself, met the attending doctors and nurses and made them aware that he was to be personally contacted and given reports regularly pertaining to the condition of my wife’s health.
He also asked them to forward the hospital bills to him for payment. That move of the late minister was unequivocally indicative of his compassionate and caring personalities.
The late Daudis Koroma was such a national figure that was greatly admired and appreciated by many, including some members of the opposition SLPP. Dr. Sama Siama Banya, a senior SLPP man and columnist once described him as a highly intelligent and shrewd politician who supersedes the requirements and norms of his career as a journalist.
Professor Septimus Moiwo Kai Kai (former Information and Broadcasting minister and now SLBC Board Chairman), Dr. Prince Alex Harding (former Transport and Communications minister) and Mr. Okere Adams (former Marine and Fisheries minister) all in the erstwhile SLPP government admired Daudis for his steadfastness and bravery.
Mohamed, the promising star, has gone so soon. But he would be remembered for the righteous things he did for his nation. May he be placed on the history plaque of the honourable men who guarded our freedom and secured our liberty through Public Service. May his memory shines on the children and mothers he tried to help along the way. May his legacy continue. I hereby implore Allah, Our Creator, to forgive him all sins he might have committed during his 44 years stay in this world.
Rest in perfect peace Orman!
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.