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Courtesies... Good evening everyone and welcome to yet another National Achievement Awards ceremony.

We will never relent in our quest to recognise and honour deserving Sierra Leoneans and institutions for their outstanding contribution to the general good of Sierra Leone. When I say ‘we’ I am not only referring to AWOL; but all of us- including the Government and People of our beloved country, our partners, the media, the nominees, the awardees, the awards committee and the production team. The people who dress up this place every year, and of course to you, the audience… we are all in this together.

This is our awards. And I stand here humbled and honoured as the one driving this particular development vehicle. This vehicle will stop only to refuel; this vehicle will never break down; this vehicle will ride on; this vehicle will obey all the traffic rules; this vehicle is not in haste; this vehicle is slow but sure; this vehicle will change drivers, but this vehicle will reach its destination; a destiny of peace and prosperity for all Sierra Leoneans irrespective of status, tribe, religion, political color, and sex.

From the Connaught hospital in central Freetown to the village of Fogbo in the Koya rural chiefdom. From Kroobay to Mabella in central Freetown to the historical town of Gondama in Tinkoko Chiefdom, Bo district, in the southern province: this vehicle of development carrying luggages of humanity and education, continues to intervene. This year we turned the spotlight to an historical town called Gondama.

With about 14 years of civil war in the sub-region, Gondama played host to thousands and thousands of refugees and displaced persons. After the war these people returned back to their towns and villages and reunited with their families and loved ones. Awol thought that Gondama deserved a pat on the back for providing shelter for humanity in those trying times, and so this year we decided to take our annual feeding and awards programme and to bring smiles to the faces of the children and hope to the people of Gondama. Distinguish guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I proudly say that anywhere AWOL turns its attention, development is sure to follow. Gondama will now benefit from our benevolence a standard primary school construction which is now underway at the 5th Infantry Brigade in Gondama Barracks. Government, under the visionary leadership of His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, has also announced the construction of a modern barracks in all the regional headquarter cities including Gondama. NGOs have started visiting the chiefdom to look at possible intervention.

His Excellency the President, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me also crave the indulgence of all here tonight that I am still committed to my earlier promise of constructing a state-of-the-art amphi-theater to host ceremonies such as this. Work is in progress in that regard as well. As a matter of fact, I believe if we all work and come together as Sierra Leoneans, we will definitely transform our Mama Sierra Leone to another Singapore in West Africa. (so leh we mek salone) His Excellency the president distinguish guest, ladies and gentlemen let me now salute all nominees here tonight for a work well done. You are all winners. To our partners, we remain ever grateful.

Let us share this glory of making a difference in the lives of our compatriots. Finally, let me on behalf of the entire membership of AWOL, take this opportunity to wish our beloved president, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, a happy belated birthday. Long Live Sierra Leone! Long Live AWOL! I thank you all. Amb. Anthony Navo Jnr Chairman

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