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President Koroma’s New Envoy Meets with Sierra Leoneans in Saudi

By M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia—

Sierra Leoneans massively filled the premises of the Embassy of Sierra Leone on Friday, 18th April, 2014 upon invitation by the Embassy and the Sierra Leone Nationals’ Union to meet, for the first time, with H.E, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s new envoy to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Alhaji Mohamed Sillah Kargbo.

The new envoy’s first meeting with his nationals attracted the beaming faces of women and children, university students, the well-rounded wisdom of expatriates living in the Kingdom, the colourful presence of other nationals and many more.(Photo: Ambassador Kargbo addressing his nationals)

In his opening remarks, Chairman of the meeting, the Head of Chancery/Minister Counsellor, Umaru S. Dura, warmly welcomed the audience for the huge turn-out even when the meeting was convened within a short notice. Before he took the podium, the new envoy was introduced by the Embassy’s Press Attaché.

When His Excellency Ambassador M.S. Kargbo eventually took the stage, the audience was mesmerized, first by his humility and charisma, then by his captivating oratory skills that spotlighted his early years as a politician. Addressing his nationals, the new envoy thanked Allah the Almighty for His extraordinary bounties for making it possible for everyone to converge at the mission on that day safe and sound. He then lavishly prayed for the massive audience. On his behalf and that of his family he thanked each and every one for the efforts they exerted to be present there.(2nd Photo: A cross-section of the attendees)

A cross-section of the attendeesFurther, Ambassador M.S Kargbo conveyed the warm greetings and appreciation of H.E. President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to the Sierra Leone community in the Kingdom and stated that the President is aware of the fact that there are good Sierra Leoneans resident in Saudi Arabia. He intimated that the President is appealing to such Sierra Leoneans to take their good back to Sierra Leone in order to contribute in nation building.

Ambassador Kargbo made it abundantly clear to all and sundry that he has been honoured with the ambassadorial appointment to this part of the world in order to seek the interest of his country and to serve the Sierra Leone nationals resident in this holy monarchy within the laws of the country. And he hastened to declare that his mission here is not to represent a particular political party; but, rather, it is to serve Sierra Leone and Sierra Leoneans, irrespective of their political, regional and tribal affiliations. In a nutshell, he said he is an ambassador for all, without the least discrimination. He said his office will be open to all, particularly those who have something worthwhile to discuss; something that should be of substance and value to help Sierra Leone move forward.

On a special note, H.E M.S Kargbo appealed to all the Sierra Leone nationals here in the Kingdom to help him succeed in his mission by counseling and directing him to wherever he can possibly and legally get something of substance for Sierra Leone. For the interest of Sierra Leone, he reiterated, he is ready to go the extra mile in order to bring about development to Sierra Leone. He admonished his nationals to always have Sierra Leone in the back of their minds as priority number one. On the other hand, Ambassador Kargbo strongly advised all his nationals to abide by the laws, rules and regulations of the host country, which is Saudi Arabia. He said Sierra Leoneans should continue to steadfastly maintain the good and impeccable image they have portrayed about their country over the years. He prayed for the continued welfare of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Monarch. He then further informed the audience of the upcoming 53rd Sierra Leone Independence anniversary and requested everyone to participate to ensure that their national day is observed in a befitting fashion.

Earlier, the First Secretary of the mission, Salamu Koroma, laid the road map of the independence celebrations and gave a brief insight of the program and how it was to be executed.

Taking the podium, the President of the Sierra Leone Nationals’ Union in the Kingdom, Uthman Kargbo, first and foremost thanked Allah the Almighty for making it possible for the Sierra Leone community in Riyadh to converge as one unit on the premises of the Embassy on that blessed day. He thanked everyone for showing up at so short a notice; a gesture he described as an indication of true patriotism. He also, on behalf of himself and the Union welcomed the new Ambassador and wished him and his family a happy stay in Saudi Arabia and a successful tour of duty.

Kargbo pledged that the Union will cooperate with the Embassy on national issues and will continue to be of service as it has invariably been in the past two decades. He assured the new Ambassador that his Union will cooperate with him to ensure his success. He also promised the participation of the nationals in the upcoming 53rd Sierra Leone Independence anniversary, emphasizing that it’s a national issue which all Sierra Leoneans should support. The Union leader also used the opportunity to introduce the past leaders of the Union and what they have done for the community.(3d Photo: The envoy in warm handshake with his nationals after the meeting)

The envoy in warm hand shake with his nationals after the meetingIbrahim Yousuf Sillah, the first president of the Union, was the next speaker. He thanked the Union’s President for his rightful recognition of the past leaderships of the Union. He said it was so kind and respectful of the president to have done so and assured him that because of that thoughtful gesture of his, he, too, will definitely be duly respected and recognized by his successors in the future. Sillah then warmly welcomed the new envoy, Alhaji MS Kargbo, and said that, as a long dwelling national in the Kingdom, he has almost certainly seen all the former envoys come and go, but never before had he never witnessed the sort of the warm and massive welcome that Ambassador Kargbo received right upon his arrival at King Khaled International Airport at a very odd night hour a couple of weeks ago.

He said over fifty Sierra Leone nationals were present at the airport in a colourful array to welcome their new Ambassador. He attributed that symbolic but significant national gesture to two factors. First, because of his interactions with the Sierra Leone community in Saudi Arabia during ‘hajj’ in his capacity as part of the Hajj Mission in the past four years, adding that, Ambassador MS Kargbo has become a cordial and familiar face to all. Second, through their interactions with the then Hajj Mission leader, the Sierra Leone community has come to form an idea about the sort of caliber Ambassador Kargbo is. Mr. Sillah thanked the diplomatic staff headed by Umaru Dura for their cooperation with the community and informed Ambassador M.S Kargbo that he has in place a formidable team to work with.

Giving the vote of thanks, the second president of the Sierra Leone Nationals’ Union Unisa Kanu, emphasized the significance of the effective national role the Union has been playing since it was established over twenty years ago. He said the Embassy has always been the venue where nationals meet once every month to discuss issues of their concern and interest, especially in the holy month of Ramadan where they would meet on the four Fridays of the month to recite the Holy Quran and pray for Sierra Leone. Kanu welcomed and thanked all for turning up in such a high spirit purposely to meet the new Ambassador. However, he cautioned that people should only come around Ambassador Kargbo with genuine issues. He reiterated the Ambassador’s appeal that everyone in their various capacities should be of help to the Ambassador to enable him carry out his mission in an atmosphere of peace that would lead to glowing successes.