Receiving the Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic of Sierra Leone which is the country’s highest award, outgoing President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has appealed to Sierra Leoneans to copy the Nigerian example and go for continuity.
President Obasanjo recalled that between May 1999 when he became President of Nigeria and July 2002, he visited Sierra Leone five times “as part of the collective ECOWAS efforts at resolving the conflict situation that existed in the country then.”
The Nigerian Haed of State noted that “It is Un-African to see the house of your brother on fire and to be asking what causes the fire – the first thing you do is to extinguish the fire and then after you have helped to extinguish the fire you can ask what caused the fire so that you can prevent a re-occurrence. Because if you do not extinguish the fire, the fire that burns your brother and your neighbours house may also burn yours.”
He commended UNIOSIL in consolidating peace, strengthening democracy and ensuring development in Sierra Leone.
President Obasanjo pledged Nigeria’s continued support in capacity building efforts through the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps, the South – South Health Care delivery program and the training of Sierra Leoneans in Nigerian Institutions.
He observed that President Kabbah is progressing smoothly to “handing over the party to your successor”
President Obasanjo stated that they have devised something in Nigeria which they believe will stand them in good stead, adding “and I can see that just like we have done in the past (Sierra Leone) is copying the good example of Nigeria” warning “ don’t copy the bad examples.”
He went on to say “We believe that for consistency in development there is the need for an element of continuity.”
He stated further “But we also believe that in this day and age where democracy is one of the buzz words in the international and national political discourse our continuity cannot be based on just one personality.”
The President explained that “in our own parlance – we talk of continuity and change.”
Accordingly this means “our party maintains the continuity through consistency in policy and change is brought about with the periodic turnover of personality.”