From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Danger Looms at NASSIT!!!
By Abdul Fonti
Oct 7, 2009, 17:06

The National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) came into existence through an Act of Parliament with the primary objective to ensure that citizens have a secured future, especially at old and retirement ages.

With NASSIT, citizens have the legal obligation to deduct from their salaries or earnings and entrust such funds to NASSIT for the purpose of saving for the future. The savings at maturity, notably retirement and old ages, is handed over to the benefactor or investor.

However, the Trust, under the leadership of Edmund Koroma, has recorded several positive results. If the strides of the erstwhile leadership are respected and enjoy continuity, NASSIT will keep on growing from strength to strength. But woe betides NASSIT supposing the wicked vices of selfishness, tribalism, ‘campism’, regionalism, sectionalism and political affiliation, are allowed to prevail over the proper thing done.

This brings me to the nitty-gritty of this article. NASSIT is presently at a make or break point. Since the former Director General of NASSIT was fished from the all-important institution to serve in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, he is yet to be succeeded.

Meanwhile, the position was advertised and an Acting Director General was appointed/selected to serve as the coxswain or head of the NASSIT boat; I don’t mean the ‘NASSIT Ferries’ but the institution itself.

Twenty citizens, who thought they fit the criteria to head the institution applied for the top job. The Board of NASSIT is said to have undertaken thorough perusal and scrutiny of the CVs of the applicants; the end product of which saw the short-listing of at least four or five candidates. The short-listed Sierra Leoneans are expected to attend an interview session that has been slated for sometime mid October this year.

Among the four shortlisted candidates, two are employees of the institution. They are Joseph Manns, Director Admin and Human Resources, and Idriss Turay, who happens to be the Departmental Head Investment and Projects. Although the two NASSIT employees have all the legitimate rights to apply and be appointed for the institution’s top job, the case of NASSIT has however, turned out differently and has sparked fears and grave concerns among the citizens. One only needs to visit NASSIT these days to prove that the institution has undoubtedly been divided into different camps. ‘Campism’, (as my respected role model will say) has now become the order of the day in NASSIT.

Staff members of that all important state institution have been fearfully and regrettably divided into “Idriss Turay Camp” and “Joseph Manns Camp”. What an imminent disaster, owning to the fact that the aftermath of ‘campism’ in any institution is nothing other than DOOM! 

The NASSIT battle for supremacy have succeeded in dividing staff members of the institution, who are supposed to be seen working in unison. Every camp is looking forward to its candidate grabbing the top job at all cost. This occurrence has become so tense to an extent that the possibility for a particular camp to institute the pull-him-down syndrome on any of the NASSIT Camps that might emerge victorious is no secret. Simply put, any of the NASSIT camps that lost to the other will never give the victorious camp the support it will need to forge the institution ahead. Sabotaging will become the order of the day in NASSIT. That is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, the examples are countless.

As if this ‘campism’ is not enough, allegations of tribalism and political affiliations are also making the rounds on the issue in question.

The Board of NASSIT, headed by Jacob Kanu, now stands accused of wanting to use tribal and political links in appointing the NASSIT Director General.

Since the CVs of all the short-listed candidates are now in the public domain, and since the criteria in the vacancy announcement are no secrets, members of the public (who have already analyzed such information and know the possible fittest candidate) await to see the outcome of the interview.

The general public is already aware that certain members of the NASSIT Board want to use their ‘Limba’ or so affiliation to appoint the Director General. But is ‘Limbanisation’ a criterion to appoint a Director General? All eyes on NASSIT; beware.

What about that candidate boasting of APC Executive link? Who says NASSIT is an APC institution?

Meanwhile, the other shortlisted candidates, including Dr. Idriss Koroma and a son of the late Sam Bangura, solely relied on their qualifications and experiences. Dr. Idrissa Koroma, for example, has a wealth of working experiences not to mention his double Masters Degree. He has served the Sierra Leone Ports Authority for over eleven years with an unblemished record.

However, this writer continues to monitor to process in the selection of the NASSIT top man, whilst other indicting information of certain NASSIT Board Members are withheld for now.

The NASSIT boat will continue to navigate safe if the most trained, experienced and qualified coxswain is appointed without fear or biasness. Anything or than this, the sharks of the Atlantic Ocean are more than prepared to swallow the sinking NASSIT vessel. The institution will no doubt speed to the rocks, hit with a bang, and slowly sink into the ocean until there is no NASSIT. Therefore, the future of the well nursed and grown up institution squarely lies in the hands of the institution’s Board.

The Board is therefore urged to make a decisive decision or stands the risk to sink alongside the NASSIT vessel. Hope somebody is listening. Lonta for now!

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.