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Page added on June 18, 2012
The medical practitioners of Kambia District this reporter can authoritatively assert were conspicuously absent for a one-day workshop the Attitudinal and Behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat organized on Monday June 11th this year at the Kambia Community Centre along Yorfendeh Street that aimed to sensitize people of that northern region on the ABC Concept, Political Tolerance and Political Motivated Violence. (Photo: Chairman of the all important occasion, Mr. Alfred M. Lahai)
Their non-attendance concerned other attendees that comprised of all-walks-of-life because according to them most medicos are professing dreadful manners, more so in President Ernest Bai Koroma’s commendable Free Health Care Delivery Services, at the detriment of dire need for persons. According to the aggrieved participants of the ABC Secretariat’s awareness raising workshop their district which shares a somehow porous boarder with the West Africa Republic of Guinea is on record for trafficking government’s drugs purposely meant for under-five children, pregnant and lactating mothers; thus undermining President Koroma’s determination to attain a major component of the Millennium Development Goals against the international slated date of 2015.
Although Sierra Leone currently holds an enviable position in the world’s health status report, the people of Kambia confided that had it not being for the retrogressive attitudes of their medical professionals the country could have attained better ranking. And by all justifications the concerns raised has a bearing, because the participation of medicos in other districts of the country where the ABC Secretariat has held similar workshops have been impressive.
However, although the absence of the doctors and nurses bothered the community, the sensitization forum attained its intended purpose; bringing political parties’ members and sympathizers to believe that tolerance and abiding by the enacted electoral laws can make the November 2012 polls peaceful, free and fair.
Welcoming participants to the workshop Paramount Chief Bai Farma Bubu Ngak IV thank the Secretariat for reaching his subjects to sensitize them on the debacle of negative attitudes and behaviours which he said deeply hampers Sierra Leone’s development. He upheld that President Ernest Bai Koroma’s intuitiveness to attach importance to the transformation of the negative attitudes and behaviours of his fellow citizens is a move in the right direction and assured that when the campaign would have attained its intended purpose the country will definitely become prosperous. The customary godfather highlighted smuggling as one of the commonest bad habit professed within his region and called on its perpetrators to desist from doing such. In his perception the act of smuggling which he bemoaned as an economic crime according to him robs government of her rightful source of income thus incapacitating the government to accomplish her developmental plans. On the issue of political violence the Paramount Chief said it is undemocratic and equally violates the laws of Sierra Leone. According to him the cause of violence during elections is lack of tolerance among political parties and continued that its orchestrators should realize that the act is unacceptable in the twenty-first century. He therefore called on his subjects to refrain from the manifestation of political violence more so in the coming November 2012 elections.
Officially calling the workshop into session the Deputy Chairman of Kambia District Council, Mr. Foday M. Bangura in his Keynote Address implored the attendees to make good use of the ABC Secretariat’s sensitization as according to him it has not only helped to quell down political conflagrations in other districts where it has been held but also ushering meaningful developments that were earlier on forestalled by the prevalence of negative exploits. He challenged that if the participants comprehend the lectures well and endeavor to pass the message to other community members that were not privileged to witness the workshop Kambia District could be ridded from bad behaviours.
The Chairman of the all important occasion, Mr. Alfred M. Lahai in his openining remarks over groaned the priority to drum the issue of nailing good attitudes and behaviours supposedly forcefully in the minds of citizens.
Evocative statements were made by representatives from the Sierra Leone Police, Regimental Sierra Leone Arm Forces, Prisons, Religious Council, Electoral Commission, Office of National Security, Commission of Democracy and Human Rights, Women’s Group, Non Governmental Organizations, Civil Society, Business Community, APPAYA and various Political Parties.
In his concise but educative expose the Business Community rep, the founder of the popular Kambia Africana Village, Mr. Ibrahim N’jai asserted how off-putting attitudes and behaviours are affecting the business community which he disclosed adversely affects the unsuspecting consumers and the government as well. He classed the culture of hoarding essential goods like fuel, inflating prices, evading taxes and the selling of substandard products as ugly occurrences and called on his colleagues to avoid doing such. The innovative resort proprietor who is a household name for inventing the ubiquitous Wonder Stove that has helped to promote environmental protection through the stove’s effective and efficient use of charcoal mentioned piracy as another bad behavior within the business sector and called on the ABC Secretariat to seriously attack the issue. Mr. N’jai used the forum to tell business operatives to inculcate the habit of bookkeeping as according to him a business that does not maintain records liable to fail. He also made a call on business organizations within the Kambia District to revere the culture of expending part of their profits on community development especially in the areas of education and sanitation. He pointed out that since the base of an successful business is a peaceful environment, Sierra Leoneans as well as other nationals must ensure that it is provided and maintained at all cost; as a result commanding the relevance of tolerance in politics. Mr. N’jai stressed the need for the impending 2012 Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council elections to be violence free because according to him in the event of any bewilderment investors will leave the country.
Speaking on behalf of the All People’s Congress, Sierra Leone People’s Party, People’s Movement for Democratic Change, National Democratic Alliance, United Democratic Movement and People’s Liberation Party were Councilor Sheka A. Tarawally, Madam Emmah F. S. Bangura, Sultan Kamara, Amadu I. Kamara, Joseph Alusine Kargbo and Yayah S. Kamara respectively. They all consented to the importance of political tolerance among their memberships and vowed that they will do everything humanly possible to restrain their members and sympathizers from perpetrating politically motivated violence. In their individual statements they commended the ABC Secretariat for empowering the people of the district to understand the beauty of political tolerance and assured that with this violence which used to be the common feature of previous elections will not rear its hydra head again.
Introducing the ABC Concept the Executive Director of ABC Secretariat, Dr. Ivan Ajibola S.Thomas endeavored to hammer home that while attitudes are latent inner attributes of the human being, behaviours are the outward portrayals of these attitudes that can be conversely positive or negative. He maintained that while positive attitudes and behaviours are productive, negative ones are destructive. The Executive Director therefore encouraged the participants to uphold their vibrant ethics and battle to refrain from repugnant ones. He highlighted how the manifestation of bad attitudes and behaviours have crumbled the nation’s progress and disclosed that his Secretariat is assigned by the government to curb and if possible eradicate the malaise once and for all. In his presentation Dr. Thomas expatiated on how the ills of bad deeds and manners have overshadowed all dealings at all communal and institutional levels and pointed out that weeding them out demands the input of Sierra Leoneans notwithstanding their age, sex, tribe, religion and cultural political beliefs. He admonished that though an herculean task as it is a common trait of people to be reluctant in giving up bad for what is good, the ABC agenda is realistically achievable based on the evidence that it has happened in other developed nations. Against this challenge Dr. Thomas called on those present to go all out an establish conducive breeding grounds for their children because according to him the formative years of an individual are highly responsible for the types of attitudes and behaviours he or she would expose latter in life. He therefore decried dysfunctional homes which he said have annexed the sociological landscape of Sierra Leone where domestic violence, hate, drug abuse, lawlessness and disregard for state properties are the other of the day.
In raising the awareness of the participants on the Importance of Political Tolerance Dr. Thomas underscored the nemesis of politically motivated violence over the years which he said has not only impeded national development but similarly eroded the international image of the postwar country whose former rebel insurgence emanated from allegedly the bad morals of corruption, injustice, tribalism, regionalism and arch political rivalry. He encouraged the electorates to avoid the repeat of such political violence in the ensuing democratic elections because according to him peace is a major determinant of the next stage the country hopes to climb. Dr. Thomas informed the participants that the exploit of violence as campaigning tactics is forbidden as it is a criminal offence for which laws have been instituted to bring to books its perpetrators. He persuaded the people of Kambia to realize that it is a national obligation on them to elect leaders based on their performance track records. Thus he implored on them to stop voting on tribal, regional, sectional and other undemocratic trends which he said has on several occasions heightened political misunderstandings and consequently enthroning wrong leaders. And on this note Dr. Thomas touched on the importance of the coming elections which he said are crucial as it will entail the selection of a set of four important class of leaders; the President, Parliamentarians, Mayors and Councilors.
Making her presentation on the topic “Positive Attitude and Behaviour is Everything” the National Coordinator and Second-in- Command of ABC Secretariat, Madam Nanette Thomas laid bare that without admirable attitudes and behaviours success in life is totally impossible. She informed the participants that it is only with positive attitudes and behaviours that an individual and thus a nation can proceed unhindered. Madam Thomas stressed that although Sierra Leone is naturally endowed with intelligent people and valuable natural resources the country remains wallowing in poverty and socioeconomic instability as a result of the pervasiveness of worrisome deeds and manners professed by her citizens. She called on the attendees and Sierra Leoneans that in the incidence of the country’s attendance to an enviable 35% economic growth the profession of bad attitudes and behaviours must be totally exterminated. According to her the ABC Secretariat is extremely determined to partner with community and institutional constituents to see that these bad ways of doing things are brought to a halt. The National Coordinator and Second-in-Command of ABC Secretariat maintained that although the task is a daunting one they are oblivious of the fact that it is achievable demands the willingness of all irrespective of age, tribe, sex, cultural, religious and political believes. She went on to assure that the transformation of bad attitudes and behaviours to positives ones could be easily possible if people manage their finances, relationships, environments, spiritualities and health well.
Additionally in her lecture on the theme “Attitudes and Behaviours for Peaceful Co-existence, National Cohesion and Development” Madam Thomas reiterated the essence of positive attitudes and behaviours. She challenged that until Sierra Leoneans uphold the ethos of acting and behaving well their desire for a developed nation is like building castles in the air. She pointed out that bad attitudes and behaviours have led to dysfunctional homes, unfriendly working environments, fragile communities and an unstable nation. She cited that as a result of these bad ways of doing things women and girls have been serious disadvantaged. According to her in as much as the country is heading for an economical, political and social boom women should be empowered to actively participate in decision making processes. She bemoaned the avid culture of debarring women from advancing their potentials in national building and advocated for the girl-child to be sent and retained in educational main stream of the country. Madam Thomas advanced that for the existence of peaceful co-existence stakeholders must endeavor to be courageous, understanding and patient. She admonished that since peace is the launching pad for development politicians are obliged to make the forth coming democratic elections a free and fair one. This she said could be ensured through the exhibition of political tolerance and reverence for electoral commandments. She used the platform to persuade the participants to believe that there are no angels in politics, but rather angels and enticed them to inculcate the democratic virtue of promoting their political parties and candidates to would be voters without traces of violence. Madam Thomas concluded by undressing the exquisiteness of peaceful co-existence which he surmised to be an essential of the twenty-first century democracy.
The sensitization workshop later proceeded with a hectic interactive session that was moderated by the Northern Region Coordinator of ABC Secretariat, Mr. Daniel Sara Turay. During this segment of the session participants were privileged to ask questions and make meaningful contributions.
Putting the curtains down to the workshop the Program Manager of ABC Secretariat, Mr. Ishmael Cole in his Vote- of- Thanks commended the participants for sparing their times to grace the occasion and implored them to make good use of the knowledge attained. He pleaded with them to spread the ideology of putting up positive attitudes and behaviours and assured that with more funding the ABC Secretariat eyes extending its sensitization exercise to chiefdom levels.
By Momoja Lappia
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