Sunday, December 24, 2006

Long suffering masses jubilant for lights switched on in Freetown

Government's best kept secret Xmas gift for the Sierra Leonean people .... 

 Whether it is Eve of Elections hype or not, the people of the Sierra Leonean capital have been treated to the best kept and one of the most welcomed and fascinating secrets ever ---Lights were turned on in Freetown on Tuesday this week , sending the populace rejoicing once again. Though it is not the kind of achievement that should get a diamondiferous and very rich Sierra Leone jubilating , considering the fact that other West African nations without the kinds of mineral and other material resources at Sierra Leone's disposal enjoy all-round electricity in their capital, many Sierra Leoneans questioned by COCORIOKO reporters Joseph Kamanda and Olu Faulkner , expressed great delight at the event, saying that it could portend the beginning of new things in the country.

Freetown in the old days

The most interesting thing about this achievement is that unlike neighbouring Liberia , which created a media frenzy when the lights were turned on in July, the Sierra Leonean authorities have been keeping a low profile .For a government still in search of universal acceptability in the nation , going into next year's elections, the muted reaction to this accomplishment stunned many residents . However, it has not detracted from the spirit of joy and exhiliaration the lights have brought to the capital.One man told our reporter , Olu Faulkner : "This is the best Christmas gift I have ever had. The mere pride of seeing lights in my capital once again is joy that I cannot describe ". The most excited are children who had not seen public lights since they were born. Our reporter said he saw hordes of young children going around savoring the accomplishment . Some people, said to be calling the lights "JJC" ("Johnny-Just-Come", the same nomenclature given to Sierra Leoneans abroad who return home temporarily to enjoy the Christmas holiday ) remain sceptical that it is a mere flash in the frying pan and come next year, the lights will vanish but the majority of the people our reporters spoke to, praised the government for fulfilling its promise of bringing back the lights.


Coming at the heels of earthshaking news that the country's foreign debts have been erased, the government is riding a crest of unprecedented praises presently. Many people believed that if the government maintains the momentum, it could impact on next year's elections . More important, If all these achievements last, and a serious government is elected next year, the door has been opened not only for the good times to roll again in the Paradise of West Africa, but for Sierra Leone to wrestle back her crown as the Beacon of Light of Africa. In all fairness to President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, debt relief and the restoration of lights in the capital , if followed by poverty-alleviation and democratic elections, will put him over the threshhold as the most progressive President Sierra Leone has ever had.