Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Obasanjo Endorses Berewa

Last Saturday May 26th 2007, the outgoing President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Chief Olusegun Obasanjo chose Sierra Leone as the country to which he made his very last official international trip and on the visit to Sierra Leone, he has endorsed the candidacy of the Vice President Solomon Ekuma Berewa as the next President of Sierra Leone.

The Nigerian President made his endorsement at the official dedication of the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo Youth Centre at Koya in Rural Sierra Leone where he was a Special Guest.

Pre-empting his pronouncement of support, H.E. Obasanjo first stated how closely he had been following developments in Sierra Leone and that based upon the information he had, he was going to make a statement about the upcoming elections in Sierra Leone based on the clear pattern he has seen emerging in Africa.

He then categorically endorsed the candidacy of the Honourable Vice President of Sierra Leone, Solomon Ekuma Berewa.

"Insha-Allah, Vice President Berewa will be the next President of Sierra Leone. I say things as I see it," President Obasanjo firmly said. And in his now typical, well known frank style of speaking, he added that if anyone does not like what he has just said, that was the person’s business, and affirmed that he owed no apology for endorsing the Presidential ambitions of the ruling party or their Presidential aspirant.

Continuing, the President of Nigeria then proceeded to define the words ‘Change’ and ‘Continuity’ in the context of Nigeria’s and Sierra Leone’s local political theatres.

Obasanjo, Kabbah & Berewa chat at Youth Training Centre, Koya.

Obasanjo affirms that indeed what he had heard and seen with the chants of Solo-B along the streets was a confirmation to him that all the information he had been receiving about just how popular Solomon Berewa was in Freetown was surely true.

"Change is when one eminent personality will leave the seat of power and another eminent personality will take over his place. That is change; as for continuity, that means that the Political Party in power will continue to build upon their programmes and development aims of their countries. So, I have now defined Change and Continuity for you very clearly," Obasanjo lectured to a loud applause and hearty appreciation from the audience of mostly youths.

Obasanjo postulated that he was happy to see that Sierra Leone was learning from Nigeria where they had also gone through change and continuity in exactly the manner above that he had defined. He explained that in less than seventy-two hours from that time, Nigeria would be changing Presidents and he (Obasanjo) would hand over to the new President. However, he assured that his political party will continue to build upon their Programmes in the interest of Nigeria.

Obasanjo also strongly warned Sierra Leone not to learn the "bad things of Nigeria" but to only copy the good ones.

"I beg of you, there are many bad things in Nigeria. Ar say, don’t copy them or bring them to Sierra Leone. Only copy the good aspects of anything Nigerian," Obasanjo said in the local Pidgin English.

The outgoing Nigerian President also entreated young Sierra Leoneans to seize of the opportunity of a second chance in life.

"God is a God of second chances. You all remember the story of Jonah in the Holy Bible. If you missed your first chance at formal education for whatever reason, this Youth Education Centre is your second chance. Not everyone will get to go to University and even of those who go to University, not all of them will be likely to make good. However, this Centre and other such Centres being provided by your Government are to be taken as a means by which you will learn how to use your heads and hands to make good for yourselves and the society in which you live," Obasanjo impressed upon the young men and women present at the Youth Training Centre.

Obasanjo whilst recounting the efforts of Nigeria in Sierra Leone, assured the gathering that in the spirit of "Continuity", his successor in Nigeria will continue to pour in efforts for the welfare of Sierra Leone both before and after Sierra Leone’s next elections.

Obasanjo’s successor, President-Elect Umaru Yar’Adua will take up office as the next President of Nigeria tomorrow, Tuesday May 29th 2007.

After the Dedication of the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo Youth Centre, the entourage moved on to State House where President Obasanjo was awarded Sierra Leone’s highest National Honour. President Olusegun Obasanjo in recognition of his service to the people of Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Africa and the World is now a Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic of Sierra Leone (GCRSL).

An Appreciation was rendered by Chief Justice Ade Renner-Thomas and the Citation was read out by Professor Kaikai, the Information Minister.

At the State House occasion, President Olusegun Obasanjo diplomatically reiterated his endorsement of Vice President Solomon Berewa to become the next President of Sierra Leone.

President Obasanjo flew out of Sierra Leone back to Nigeria that same day.

Link to Obasanjo Endorses Berewa in Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone News