By S.B. WILLIAMS
The title of this article may, at first sight, be misunderstood to mean one of the following: The football team, cricket team, volleyball team, rugby team among others.
But it does not refer to any of these. The team’s concept is what this article is about as far as individual and collective responsibilities to this nation are concerned.
The team concept connotes real unity of purpose, determination, faithfulness and constant self-evaluation.
The National Team operates on a National field which has been existing from the beginning and accommodates everybody.
Sometimes, you may be only a spectator on the field. Shakespeare says: “All the world is a stage and all the men and women merely players……” (“AS YOU LIKE IT”) This reminds us that we are actors and players on the National field where everybody has a role to play for the team to win.
The team’s victory leads to all-round progress and prosperity.
Things may not be working according to the level of expectation. But, it is the members of this national team that are not playing their parts as required.
Many are careless, dishonest, selfish and self contained.
Some are Scrooges in ‘the Christmas Carol’ who were described as: “squeezing, wrenching, grasping – scraping, clutching, covetous old sinners, hard and sharp as flint and as solitary as an oyster”.
These are the players that score against their own team.
There are still others who fail to defend their goal. There are always those who send the ball astray.
What these figurative expressions mean is that these players are given responsibilities they are incapable of handling.
Thus, instead of contributing positively to national progress, they only succeed in taking the nation backward.
Many things have happened that confirm what I am stating but my focus is on the future, starting from 2020.
Unless we face the realities of the past, namely, considering the success and failures we cannot properly plan for the future.
The question is whether the national team members have honestly played their parts as expected.
THE NATIONAL PLAYERS IN RETROSPECT
I will attempt to mention some of the key players with a view to provoke thorough introspection into their national activities in 2019.
1. The Head OF State (His Excellency The President)
The President has handled certain key areas in National Development which need to be appreciated and commended.
Some of these are Education, Finance and Corruption. Other areas of successes exist which I need not mention here.
I am aware that the President has sincere and lofty plans for this nation.
However, I humbly plead with the president to continue consulting established and proven men of God through whom God speaks to him and the nation.
I want to quote an old soldier in his admonition to Martin Luther (The founder of Protestantism).
“If thy cause is just and thou art sure of it, go forward in God’s name. He will not forsake you”
To say the least, parliament has done very well, but they should continue to be nationally committed.
Existing reports have commended some parliamentarians giving sacrificial, personal support to members of their constituency. Kudos to all of them as they continue to play sacrificial roles as members of the 2020 National Team.
Still, there is still room to do more in 2020 and beyond.
What will other parliamentarians do this year?
3. Paramount Chiefs
Paramount Chiefs are natural rulers and therefore close to the people.
They should support the Government in power irrespective of their political party membership.
Paramount Chiefs also ensures that people are united in true kinship, putting the interest of the chiefdom and the nation first.
Division of any form will affect the stability and peace of the chiefdom for generations to come.
What are the Paramount Chiefs planning for 2020?
4. Civil Servants And The Fraud-gates
Civil servants, as the name implies, refers to government employees working for the nation.
They are supposed to function in accordance with government rules and regulations laid down for government workers (known as for GENERAL ODERS” in Colonial Days).
Although government instituted the ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION as a way of exposing and arresting corruption, it has only gone underground in certain offices.
It is like the chameleon changing its colour to deceive onlookers but remaining the same brown or green chameleon.
Civil Servants should look back on their activities and, where necessary, make a change from 2020 onwards.
Civil Servants and parastatals have kept the Fraud-gate open.
A need for positive change in 2020 exists
I am referring to teachers at all levels. Their role in national development cannot be underestimated for obvious reasons. Teachers not only know the source of knowledge but also are trained to acquire knowledge for onward impartation to the unlearned.
I will not hesitate to say that teachers are honourable people, no matter, what a number of teachers have done to deface their image.
The saying “a rotten fish spoils the lot” is true but it only applies to teachers in the particular place at a particular point in time.
The shaming of a particular set of teachers in the recent past does not mean that all teachers are corrupt or guilty of malpractices. To say all teachers are corrupt is a dangerous generalization. Teachers will forever be on my honour list.
But what are teachers doing to maintain good records this year as members of the national team?
6. Business People (Including Fuel Dealers)
Business people have been crying the loudest about the “dry ground” failing to accept that they have failed to water the ground and withheld the water from the people.
The Trader’s Union has never come together to find ways to make commodity prices reasonable without loss of profit.
The idea of getting huge profits up to 100 per cent and above is unacceptable and not patriotic. This is happening.
In 2020, Business people should find ways to water the “dry ground” especially for the low income and unemployed customers.
They are players in the national team and should score goals this year.
7. Religious Leaders
Religious leaders are assigned the sacred duty of leading people in the knowledge, fear, obedience and worship of God, leading to peace and love in their communities and nations.
How far they have succeeded, is the big question.
The Inter -Religious Council
Needs to be commended for their role in the peace process especially during the brutal Rebel War.
They should be counted among major players. But, what are their plans for 2020? Are they going to continue pointing out lapses in government and giving Godly admonitions?
Are they going to organize national prayers (by both Christians and Muslims) for this Nation?
Of course, the ‘Body of Christ’ is relentless in their prayers and supplications for this nation.
However, the Inter-Religious Council as a body, needs to organize similar ceaseless prayers if they also believe that God alone can move this Nation forward.
What are their plans as members of the 2020 National Team?
I refer to Medical Personnel including doctors, community health officers, nurses, midwives porters etc.
Success can only be achieved when all these personnel work together.
It is like car engine where a fault in a small part such as the ‘contact breaker’ can bring the whole engine to a halt.
Cases of neglect by some doctors, nurses and other workers leading to fatal consequences have been recorded.
Medical personnel literally have the lives of patients in their hands.
Some personnel are hostile and unfriendly to patients, contrary to medical ethics which requires empathizing with patients and humanitarian care.
Many times, the attitude of some nurses can scare patients away, making their situation worst.
A recent, pathetic case is one in which an 18-year old Senior Secondary School pupil who had an attack on New-Year’s Eve was taken to a renowned hospital.
The rumour had it that there was no doctor for nearly a day to look after the sick boy who died later.
The Pupil’s death has been linked to lack of proper care. It is widely believed that the timely presence of a doctor could have saved the terrible situation.
Measures should be taken to make medical doctors and other workers available 24 hours a day. This will save many patients from preventable deaths.
The Legal Aid Board
The Legal Aid Board is undoubtedly a philanthropic organization.
Those legal practitioners involved in the sacrificial service to humanity will never miss their rewards.
They have restored hope to those who are deprived of justice because of inability to pay legal fees.
My only advice is that their work and services be made known nationwide in 2020.
In conclusion, I am appealing to all members of the national team to work in the interest of this nation and avoid all dishonesty and inimical activities against our beloved Sierra Leone.