By Foday Morris

In his 2008 inaugural address to the nation, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma wasted no time to admonish Sierra Leoneans to change their attitudes. The president said that “We must all be ready now to embrace change, change in our attitudes towards one another change in our attitudes to our work and responsibilities, change in our attitudes towards our nation, all of these changes should translate positively into progress and development for our country.”

The President’s quoted statement above became a policy statement and the Attitudinal and Behavioral Change (ABC) Secretariat was established to lead the sustained campaign for positive attitudinal and behavioral change. The president’s vision was borne out of his understanding that our attitudes and behaviors have impeded economic, social and political development in our country. For some ministers and their deputies, it appears the President?s vision is not of their concern as they continue with bad and reckless behavior unabated.

On March 7, 2012, Sierra Express Media Newspaper published an article titled, “Deputy Minister of Lands Abused Me –  Waterloo LUC”. The said article was authored by Emma Black.

Driving-Freetown

Below is a relevant attitudinal behavioral change except from that article:

“Local Unit Commander, Damon T.Conteh of the Water Division has told Sierra Express Media through this Reporter that he had an ugly experience with the Deputy Minister of Lands and Country Planning, Ahmed Kanu. He said the DM went to his office on the 26th, of last month bluing at him following an aftermath of express demolition order to certain illegal structures in Waterloo two days earlier, February 23 that went with huge confrontations

LUC Conteh said the DM accused him of being complacent by not providing support forces to provide maximum security while the demolition order was being executed. We’ve never met before that day, the LUC says, and had not prior information about the demolition order exercise in question, the LUC states.”

Yesterday, February 3rd, I posted a piece titled “The reckless driving of government drivers and the nonchalant behaviors of the ministers they drive.” In the article I explained my ordeal with a Deputy Minister’s vehicle, while the said deputy minister was in the vehicle. The deputy minister’s uncompassionate and nonchalant response to me after I had informed him that his driver almost crushed my toes on a very tight road. That Deputy Minsters is Mr. Ahmed Kanu, of the Ministry of Lands and Country Planning, the same man Sierra Leone Police, LocalUnit Commander, Damon T. Conteh talked about in the Sierra Media Express article above.”

There is no doubt that President Ernest Bai Koroma is a compassionate and peaceful leader who has demonstrated that he has respect for every Sierra Leonean, no matter their economic or social status. However, some of the president’s ministers, especially the young ones seem to be getting too big for their shoes, to the extent of bringing disrepute to the president. Some of these ministers and their deputies are either fighting each other, disrespecting civil servants, molesting ordinary citizens or they are jeopardizing public safety with reckless drivers as in the case of Ahmed Kanu who is certainly no exception.

After my ordeal with the deputy minister’s vehicle, I approached him after he disembarked his vehicle. As walked towards him, he immediately ducked his chin into his coat collar, with a deadpan expression on his face as he flicked lint off his suit. His brows were knitted in a frown as I if I had done him wrong that day or any other day before. Immediately after I probed the reckless driving of his driver, he rolled his eyes away from me and focused on the security personal seated at the entrance to the building. With no remorse or compassion for a fellow citizen, he blamed the security personnel for his driver?s reckless and dangerous driving on very tight road.

What if my foot was actually crushed? What would have been the reaction of the deputy minister, remorse for an incident that could have been prevented? Imagine what some of our ordinary citizens have gone through in the hands of politicians like Mr. Ahmed Kanu. Many of our fellow citizens have lost their lives while their families are compensated with small amounts of money ? and that is if they are so lucky to be consoled.

Perhaps the attitudes and behaviors of some of these youth ministers could have a negative ripple effect on the president’s dedication to the youth, and his resolve for appointing young people to positions of high responsibilities. When I say responsibly I am not talking about performing the functions of the job, but how to carry oneself in a dignified and respectful manner for oneself and other citizens as a servant to the citizens of our Great Nation. The energy, excitement and daringness associated with being young contrasted with the seeming mundane, and perhaps the lackadaisical attributes of a majority of the older and more mature ministers could solve the puzzle of why younger ministers behave the way they do.

I take this opportunity to ask all young and youthful ministers to change their attitudes and behaviors, or they may risk ruining the chances of other younger people who the president may want to appoint to higher positions. Above all, I respectfully urge them to be humble so much that no matter how high they rise in their political or professional carriers they will always remember that all is vanity and that nothing lasts forever.

Please let us embrace change as the president admonished us almost nine years ago. We must “change in our attitude towards one another change in our attitude to our work and responsibilities, change in our attitude towards our nation, all of these changes should translate positively into progress and development for our country.”

“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” Herm Albright, quoted in Reader’s Digest, June 1995