It could be recalled that on Monday, 28th December, 2015, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma paid a four-day visit to Koinadugu District together with his daughter, Madam Dankay Koroma, and a battery of senior government officials and prominent indigenes of the district.
One of his reasons for the visit was to commission an ultra-modern clock tower in Kabala as well as the Kabala Central Mosque. The clock tower was constructed by the International Construction Company (ICC) and funded single-handedly by Mr. Momoh Konte. He also came to the aid of the Muslim community in Koinadugu District by completing the Kabala Central Mosque that had been abandoned for over twenty years following the death of the person who started the project. Both projects could have cost him a colossal amount of money that he would have invested for personal gains but since his chemistry gels well with patriotism, philanthropy and generosity, he chose to invest it in the transformation of his home district.
Three years ago, Mr. Momoh Konte also funded the construction of five schools in different parts of Koinadugu District to complement Government’s efforts in promoting education in the country. Three of the schools were reportedly commissioned by President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. During the commissioning ceremony, the President encouraged the indigenes of the district to emulate the good example of Mr. Momoh Konte who, he said, has never reneged on his promise to do his people proud.
And the President’s admonition seemed to have motivated other indigenes to join the development bandwagon such as the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Kalfala Marah, whose flagship is the Bintumani Bridge project that will benefit twenty-two communities in Koinadugu District when completed.
The President also did the turning of the sod during this visit. During the ceremony, he told the audience that when the Bintumani Bridge is constructed, it will provide access to markets, schools, hospitals and clinics, promote agriculture and enhances economic and social activities in the Koinadugu District.
President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma also recognized the contribution of former Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Peter Bayuku Conteh, to the development of education in Koinadugu District. The former Minister constructed a standard school in his chiefdom when he was in Italy. When he returned home, his people recognized him as a development-oriented indigene and consequently, they elected him as Chairman of the Koinadugu District Council in 2008.
Be that as it may, Mr. Momoh Konte and those emulating his good examples are the true sons and patriots of this country who use their own personal resources to develop their districts apart from their dedicated services to the state.
There are many affluent Sierra Leoneans who have the resources to replicate what Mr. Momoh Konte has done for his home district but selfishness and greed cannot allow them to invest in their people because they have no love for them and the country. They have all the beautiful ideas of national development but when it comes to putting them into practice, their approach would be parsimonious, selfish and greedy.
It is about time affluent Sierra Leoneans shrugged aside selfishness, greed and self-centeredness and start contributing meaningfully to national development like what the philanthropists of Koinadugu District are doing for their people who are very much proud of them. They should make some sacrifices for their people so that their contributions would be recognized by them and generations yet unborn.
By and large, the development taking place in Koinadugu District is a great challenge to affluent Sierra Leoneans who hail from the other provincial districts, especially in the Eastern Province where many affluent people come from but have never contributed meaningfully to the development of their districts. Instead, they amass wealth for themselves and their families with the negative idea that only Government should take responsibility for national development.
Even in the capital Freetown, many wealthy people build ultra-modern houses in remote communities but they expect Government to construct roads leading to those communities instead of sacrificing their own resources to construct them.
In Nigeria, for example, wealthy people are recognized as chiefs because of their outstanding contributions to development in their respective communities. Those individual sacrifices have to a large extent advanced development in Nigeria. That spirit of patriotism and selflessness in complementing Government’s efforts to develop the country is what the affluent Sierra Leoneans should emulate instead of looking forward to Government to do everything for them. In other words, Sierra Leone desperately needs hundreds of Momoh Kontes, Kaifala Marah, and Peter Bayugu Contehs to contribute selflessly to the transformation of their respective districts.