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Sierra Leone : Ernest Bai Koromaís Last Vacation Was When... ?
By Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Jan 13, 2015, 17:18
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Accompanying this Commentary is a table showing the Ebola Daily Statistics for yesterday January 12th 2015. As can be clearly seen, unlike few months back when everything had seemed so hopeless, the Ebola numbers are drawing down with majority of districts recording ZERO cases in this latest update. Now, only dishonest individuals wonít give credit for this success to His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Father of the Nation.

Like Hercules who never tires, the President has worked day and night traversing this country; preaching messages of how to end Ebola alongside motivating the health care staff and ensuring construction of treatment and holding centers. In the process, his leadership in this our national fight against Ebola, has been widely acclaimed by many visiting leaders from around the world.

Those of us who are close to President Koroma will confirm he virtually burned himself out several times over the last 6 months since enormity of Ebola, hit us all. Since July 21st 2014 when Nurse Mbalu Fonnie died from Ebola followed by death of Dr. Sheik Umar Khan on July 29th 2014, President Koroma has not rested let alone taken a vacation. President Koroma has fallen ill from fatigue and Malaria on at least two occasions now that I know of, but he has never faltered. Infact, the public did not even know he fell ill. The President has gone down to his people to cajole, beg, appeal, threaten and even punished his own Ebola-defaulting Uncle in full glare of the public; all in his service to ending this Ebola menace in this Nation.

One time, after engaging in vigorously lecturing his people around the country, President Koroma caught a severe sore throat and lost his voice for almost 24 hours to the extent his speech to declare the Western Area surge was very croaky but few people realised that it was a sick President speaking as within two days he was back on his feet, actively again traversing the land with anti-Ebola messages.

Ebola Statistics for January 12th 2015

The result of President Koromaís selflessness alongside all other actors and stakeholders, is what we are now seeing Ė so many zeros being recorded.

I remain one of the Presidentís trusted political allies but also I am one of his most acidic public critics. Thus, I accept the President made mistakes at some points during handling of this crisis but I will also be swift to accept that Ebola has a steep learning curve for even the worldís most experienced medical epidemiologists let alone a non-medic like President Koroma. Whatever the case, for now, the President is mastering the fight and, alongside health workers, our international partners and all citizens, he looks all set to win this battle he is leading.

A good friend of mine is a key aide to another West African President. We were chatting by phone last weekend and he was bemused that whilst President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and President Alpha Conde have been flying out of their countries on international trips, President Koroma, since he declared the State of Emergency, has stayed put inside Sierra Leone with only one focus: fighting this battle.

My friend asked me when was the last time my President took a vacation and I responded to him quite honestly that I just did not know Ė at least not in the last 6 months. It has all been hard work; day and night.

So if others are grumbling because they could not go on leave and enjoy a vacation, let them ponder deeply as to what their conscience might have to tell them. We are recording History as it unfolds and we know those whom we should call as being leadership material and those who are not.

Call name na in day bring plabar so I will not name any other names. I will just end by saying, may God bless Ernest Bai Koroma.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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