By John Pa Baimba Sesay-China
Our anticipation with strong confidence, of accomplishment or the feeling that something is about to happen, or is bound to happen has most often than not, come in conflict with the state of things as they actually exist in our society, in our lives or workplace. This is even so in our marriages or in our relationship with God. We expect miracles to happen overnight, but given the reality that God does act in His way, our expectations are often not achieved within the timeframe we want them to be achieved. Life itself has some side realities but these cheerless and painful realities should be managed in accordance with what is available at a given point.
Expectations versus realities:
Let us be practical here somehow and with Sierra Leone as a country case-study; we had expected a bridge, linking Lungi and our capital city Freetown; at one point, given series of political messages preached on the political alter of Sierra Leone, we expected going to be with the demands of our stomachs well met by 2007. But the realities on the ground at the time could not make those expectations met by our political class, and by extension Sierra Leoneans. Gain, having gone to the University, pursued a degree, the expectation of most is to get a well paid job, months after, be able to purchase a car-and for some, their dream would be to get the latest car in town. So, what next? Think of ways of generating the needed money for that and at the end, tempted to be involved in corrupt activities and there you are, the anti-graft body watching your back with the eyes of an eagle. So, your expectations of securing a job, being able to get the latest car in town, etc will diminish when you go against the law on corruption related offences. The reality on the ground would dictates, therefore, that you make every effort to make do with what is available, in terms of pay, using public cab to get to work, until such a time you can afford to get one car, build a house etc.
There has always been difficult aspect of managing expectations from the viewpoint of realities on a given issue or situation. But depending on how you juxtapose what is available with what you want, you then can make some progress or achieve a lot.
Sierra Leone is at a crossroad, in her development efforts. She has continued to make progress in a number of areas, but yet, people’s expectations are still great. But give the reality on the ground; we need to do all can to effectively manage these expectations. Our expectation could be in the form of socio-economic and infrastructural development, an improvement in the average lives of the people, better jobs, among others. This is philosophical but I strongly believe that life is all about facing reality and moving forward when there is no choice.
Facing reality and moving forward:
Sorry that I had to bore you with these basic facts. Wei Jianguo is former Vice Minister of Commerce of China and presently, he is the Secretary-General of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges. He has worked extensively in the diplomatic sphere of the People’s Republic of China for decades, having worked in Morocco, Tunisia and Gabon among other African countries. I just grabbed a recently (April 2012) published 419 pages, four chapters book of his, titled, “Africa, A Lifetime of Memories…My Experience and Understanding of Africa”. This book makes an interesting reading as it contains vital information, in relation to Sino-Africa relations. In page 23 of the said book, Wei Jianguo wrote that “the dialectic of life entails facing reality and moving forward when there is no choice, rather than blaming fate and others. By following this philosophy, one may gain even from the most hopeless situation.” To what extent have we, as a people tried to move in line with this philosophical thoughts, remains a major question.
But again, expectations are often brought about by promises. I mean a plethora of promises that could not be met within a given period. You can’t turn a lizard into an alligator when the reality of that happening is as impossible as going to planet Jupiter, through the ride of a horse. But thank God, also that President Koroma has been able to live up to most, if not all of the pr0omises he made in 2007. When he was canvassing the electorate, during the 2007 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, he looked at what was available at the time, and then he was able to shape people’s expectation. He looked at the infrastructural needs of his people, as well as handling the country’s energy and power sector. We also saw this in the country’s health sector, through the introduction of the .This sector and the successes score in its sho0uld account as major yardstick in determining the successes of the Koroma presidency.
The Koroma example of managing expectation:
I am of the view that the talk of whether or not to reelect President Koroma started when he was 36 months old in governance. For good 36 months, he was being assessed in line with what was contained in his party manifesto. And so by 2011, when Sierra Leoneans had finally made up their minds to give him another term, much had been achieved in their country’s development strides. There has been a phenomenal pace in terms of transforming the country’s road network.
From Kailahun in the east to Pujehun in the south of Sierra Leone, coming down to Koinadugu in the north and the rural mountains in the Western area, people have come to appreciate the fact that President Koroma has always been honest in his efforts to move Sierra Leone to the apex of socio-economic and infrastructural development.
Intentions are as expectations. When once you intend undertaking a project, you have created expectations. President Koroma has so far moved away from the policy of ‘intending’ to that of implementation. When the Dr. Tejan Kabba (h) led government was in power, it had good and outstanding intentions for the development of the country; very superb projects that were in the pipeline. But we had to move away from that, into putting into practical terms whatever is intended. And this is where President Koroma has made another difference. Yes, some had expected Usu Boie to take a decision other than this, but the reality is, he took the one not expected by few, but was welcomed and appreciated by many. I hope too that even as we move to the November elections, people will sum up the courage to manage their expectations, given the reality on the ground, in terms of who shall be elected into office.