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Regardless of Sierra Leone’s most respected mental doctor, Dr. Edward Nahim’s claims that a widely consumes brew. ‘Ataya’ causes madness, the Attitudinal behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat has succeeded to school its consumers on the relevance of their positive contribution towards national development.
The ABC Secretariat made this outstanding excellence at the end of a one-day sensitization meeting it held with AtayaBase Youth Organizations within the Western Area on Wednesday May 23rd 2012 at the Ministry of Information and Communications Conference Room in Freetown.
Welcoming the participants, the Minister of Information and Communication, Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo underscored the importance of AtayaBases in the development pursuit of Sierra Leone. He classed AtayaBases as ‘The Peoples Parliament’ on the grounds and stressed that every facet of society is being represented at one base or another. Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo called on youths fond of utilizing Ataya to start viewing themselves as partners in development rather than outcasts.
In President Koroma’s Agenda-for-Posterity, Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo assured the youths of government’s plan to include all citizens notwithstanding their diverse associations.
Making a contribution, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Information and Communications, Mr. Sheku Tamu registered his commendation for the ABC Secretariat’s ability to timely visualize the benefits collaborating with AtayaBase Youths would yield. According to Mr. Sheku Tamu, AtayaBases attracts a person from all walks of life irrespective of political, cultural, tribal, financial and educational backgrounds which according to him forms a good base for the implementation of development policies.
While chairing the sensitization meeting, the National and Outreach Coordinator, Mr. Abdulai Bayraytay stressed the vitality of AtayaBases within modern Sierra Leone. According to Mr. Bayraytay, though an imported culture, the use of Ataya is present in every part of the country. He reminded the youths about their role in national development which he said could be undermined by poor attitudes and behaviours. Mr. Bayraytay concluded by calling on the AtayaBase Youth Organizations to avoid participating in events and discussions that are liable to create problems.
Declaring the purpose of the session the Executive Director of ABC Secretariat, Dr. Ivan Ajibola Thomas disclosed that it aims at reaching citizens and institutions were poor attitudes and manners are handicapping them from adequately contributing to national development.
Dr. Ivan Ajibola Thomas said in the Sierra Leonean context AtayaBases are synonymous to Palm Wine Pubs which were widely blamed for serving as springboards for countless upheavals. He therefore cautioned AtayaBase Youth Organization’s to mould themselves into modest rendezvous where healthy debates should be held. He encouraged the youths to exploit their health and strength, which he described as a blessing, well in development projects.
The Executive Director of ABC Secretariat urged the youths to be engaged in profitable ventures, more so in the improvement of their academic or professional qualifications.
Dr. Ivan Ajibola Thomas said the youths are mainly linked to unemployed, drug addiction and violence; problems which he said are also features of AtayaBases. However, Dr. Ivan Ajibola Thomas said youths are in a position to beat down these pressing problems if they hang heads with progressive organizations that will help them map out feasible solutions.
Dr. Ivan Ajibola Thomas concluded by calling on the youths to be mindful during the coming 2012 elections. He called on them to objectively engaged politicians and resists them from wooing valuable their votes with drugs and money.
Lecturing on the topic ‘Attitude, Behaviour and Change in AtayaBases’, the National Coordinator and Second-in-Command of ABC Secretariat, Madam Nanette Thomas noted that the youths must be mindful of Dr, Nahim’s definition of the brew as a drug. She underscored the strange attitude and behaviours most Ataya consumers put up after ingesting it. It is against this background Madam Thomas stressed on the need for them to change their bad attitudes and behaviours to positive and progressive ones.
She called on them to change their code of dressings, mood of addressing others and views about contemporary political issues.
Madam Nanette Thomas asked the AtayaBase Youths to be careful of how they treat women, especially school girls, because she said the rumours flying the corridors is that the drug is linked to the empowerment of sexual feelings. She challenged the youths that if they become nationalistic instead of being partisan or tribalistic their future would be bright.
In his statement, the Executive Director of National Ataya Base Advocacy Group, Mr. Samuel Ben Turay said they are facing serious problems including unemployment, access to funding, and the implementation of agricultural projects. However, he maintained that their association with ABC Secretariat will go a long way to solve these problems. He called on his members to make good use of the sensitization meeting since it marks the first time of working closely with a government institution.
Making a Contribution a member of Krootown Road AtayaBase, Alex Kruger said the meeting heralds a new era in the lives of Ataya consumers.
In his vote of thanks, Mr. Bakarr Nahim of United Friends AtayaBase at Aberdeen Road commended the ABC Secretariat for including them in their agenda and assure of ample commitment.
Others that made meaningful statements included the Executive Director of Children in Action for Attitudinal Change, Brian Sitta Kargbo who called on the AtayaBase Youths to make good use of the sensitization meeting.
By Momoja Lappia
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