By Alie Hadi Tarawally.
I can possibly be viewed as a pessimist by being too skeptical about the future of our beloved Sierra Leone but you may end up agreeing with me devoid of every sentimental attachment that the political future of this nation is gloomy. We may disagree to agree that there are too many discrepancies in Governance and by extension, the educational sector is getting affected by the virulence penetration of bad politics in spheres that should not only serve as best practice but also with the sacred responsibility of nurturing and producing the next crop of Politicians and public officials to run the affairs of this nation.
My pessimism about our future is based on the fact that present day politicians are misanthropic, egoistic and selfish to the extent that their patriotism has been compromised and therefore care less about what the future holds for this nation. All they care about is their immediate pockets, closest relatives and allies leaving their source of power – THE MASSES to wallow in intolerable and ceaseless poverty. Their unpatriotism and selfishness has grown to the extent that they do not treat illegitimate and undemocratic acts with contempt as long as it befit their immediate desires.
This is now becoming a culture that is being transferred from one generation to the other. Student Union bodies are renowned for being a constituent of powerful pressure groups in every democratic dispensation. In the 70s,a lot of African nations had just gained independence and therefore nationalist mentality was still fresh which led to the radicalization of student Union bodies. The 1977 Students’ riot is a case study. With Democratic regimes now in place, we expect less of riots and more of peaceful demonstrations .
The latter unarguably has lost its full head of steam simply because these politicians have succeeded in forming a police state where the citizens live in constant fear. Politics has delved so deep into student activities that there are now visible signs of students exhibiting the egregious, dirty and crude politics of present day politicians. Instead of creating the room for decent politics and patriotism worthy to be imitated by upcoming politicians, they have indoctrinated students with their egocentric philosophy and bad politics alas making the future of this polity symptomatic of having unpatriotic and selfish politicians with little or no sense of hope.
It is pitiful to see other nations exploring available and unavailable means to train and inculcate democratic tenets and sense of humanity into future leaders whilst our government on the contrary render supportive hands to things and situations inimical to our democracy and future.
Let us take a close insight into the illegitimate executive of the National Union of Sierra Leone students- NUSS. The current executive headed by Mohamed Sheridan Kamara is illegitimate as most members making up the executive have graduated from University. The President Sheridan was among the list of students who took the last Bar exams and The Sierra Leone Law School is not affiliated with NUSS.
Secondly, the NUSS presidency is rotational on campus/institutional basis but for nearly five years now, it has been just Fourah Bay College producing Presidents.
The government and Education ministry are aware of these abnormalities as the issue almost led to student confrontation sometime last year as some other students because of the illegality of Sheridan’s executive, formed their own executive all in the name of seeking attention from the authorities concerned. It was unheeded and the illegitimate Sheridan’s executive went on with their activities unabated.
The recent Student protest on March 14, 2016 is just a clear indication of how flippant this executive is in the eyes of the general student populace as he was not even given the required attention in the press conference held on campus prior to the march to state House, an action which he denounced. Students because of lack of trust in his leadership went ahead with their proposed march. With the slow or no response from the government to the series of concerns raised about the illegality of NUSS, there is every reason to believe that politics has extended its brazen tentacles into NUSS and student leadership. Is this a good precedent for the future politicians of this nation???
The revered Professor Ibrahim Abdullah’s saga with the FBC administration by every indication is becoming suspicious. It is no longer a secret that the FBC administration is on the verge of terminating the contract of this highly respected scholar on the pretext of modular rotation which will see his courses delisted.The Professor has made complains about this injustice and for months now, the issue is yet to get the appropriate response from the President who also serves as Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone. The President remarkably has expeditiously intervened to settle grievances in different spheres throughout his tenure and therefore it is becoming suspicious as to why an issue of extreme importance is being treated with contemptuous levity. Is it because educational issues are not as important as we think they are or is it that the whole issue is politically motivated? Still wondering. What is mystifying about the whole issue is that at a time when others like Njala University are pleading with the government for an extension in retirement age of Professors, the FBC administration is bent on forcefully terminating the contract of arguably the best of his contemporaries in the University. For every University to match international standards, enough PhD holders is a pre-requisite.
The termination of Professor Abdullah’s contract is not on the basis of violation of laid down rules and regulations but on flimsy modular rotation. This is unwarranted and counterproductive especially when the professor is among the very few in the department who grades students devoid of sentiments. Why terminate the contract of a tutor who students can learn a lot from even in informal discussions? That being said, we are students with critical and philosophical minds, we cannot be carried away by that unjustifiable reason stated for termination of his contract. We therefore wait to see whether our perception on this issue is fallacious with the immediate intervention of the President to amicably settle it or we strongly hold on to our perception that the entire issue is a conspiracy with political exacerbation.
And if the latter is the case, we will act accordingly as students as we won’t sit by and watch politics meddle around with our future. I therefore rest my pen hoping to resurrect it when the need arises.