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STATEMENT BY LIEUTENANT GENERAL SULLAY IBRAHIM SESAY - CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF- RSLAF AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 7TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE ORGANIZATION OF MILITARY SPORTS IN AFRICA- CONFERENCE IN FREETOWN – SIERRA LEONE ON MONDAY 21ST FEBRUARY 2022...


Lieutenant General Sullay Ibrahim Sesay (OOR),
Chief of Defence Staff of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces

PROTOCOLS
The Guest of Honour- Deputy Minister of Defence
Cabinet Ministers of Government.
Honorable Members of the House of Parliament
Excellences Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps
The Joint Force Commander
The Assistant Chiefs of Defence Staff
The President – the Organization of Military Sport in Africa (OSMA)
The President International Military Sports Council (CISM)
Chiefs of Delegation and Delegates present
The (Chairman Sierra Leone) National Sports Authority
The Senior Management of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces & the Ministry of Defence
Members of the Fourth Estate
Distinguished Invitees, Ladies and Gentlemen
.
    

It is a great honour and privilege on behalf of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, to warmly welcome our distinguished guests from all over Africa to the 7th General Assembly – Conference of the Organization of Military Sports in Africa (OSMA), hosted here in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Let me at the outset congratulate the President of the Organization of Military Sports in Africa, Major General Miakano Abdullahi on his (well-deserved) promotion to the rank of Major General (in the Nigerian Armed Forces). I wish you well in your new rank.
    

I want to thank the Executive Board of the Organization of Military Sports in Africa (OSMA) for considering Sierra Leone’s request to host the General Assembly conference, here in Freetown. This event comes at a very special moment for the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, following in the wake of the Armed Forces Day celebrations, (on 18th February). We are honored to host you here in Freetown – Sierra Leone in commemoration of peace and friendship.


     The RSLAF also conveys great appreciation to our Special Guest - the President of the International Military Sports Council, (CISM) and to the delegations here present from your respective Armed Forces for your attendance at this Conference, even in the face of the current pandemic. We are fully honored in hosting this international conference representing the Armed Forces of the African Member countries.
        

Sierra Leone has been a member of the International Military Sports Council since 1977 and an active member at the Organization of Military Sports in Africa (OSMA) since it was founded (in Cameroun). The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces and our beloved Country, Sierra Leone, cherished OSMA’s objective. That is, ‘Friendship through Sports’, which promotes a culture of peace and foster solidarity.

Sierra Leone is a sport-loving nation and I would want to use this occasion to thank all sister Armed Forces of the African Member-States and its parent organization the global body, the International Military Sports Council for their diverse support to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces and the Country. The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces’ looks forward to participating in future military sporting activities.

Sierra Leone’s participation in OSMA, (some of us may be) aware was punctuated during our civil war years. Given that we have resiliently and rapidly moved beyond that to hosting this highest decision making conference (of the Organization of Military Sports in Africa), speaks of the pace of peace Sierra Leone enjoys and its readiness to embrace, share and contribute both as an Armed Forces and a country to regional and global peace and security.

Let me therefore seize this opportunity to convey Sierra Leone’s warm hospitality to the delegations of the Armed Forces of member countries present, for this General Assembly, the legislative organ of OSMA in their week-long deliberations here in Sierra Leone. (As we look forward to the outcome of your deliberations, Sierra Leone may consider hosting one of your sporting activities/disciplines in the (distant) Future).

The Government of Sierra Leone recognizes the enormous benefits sport provides and therefore acknowledges its importance in sustaining peace, building social and national cohesion. Due to the importance and hosting of this conference aligns with our vision of having sports promote national harmony and also as a tool for peace and development. It also strengthens the bonds between and among members of the Armed Forces across Africa and thereby creates networks for peace, security and stability.

We are fully cognizant of the fact that Sport is a convincing tool to promote peace, tolerance, and understanding, bringing people together across boundaries, cultures, and viewpoints. Its values like fairness, discipline, and respect are understood all over the world, and have been used to advance solidarity, national unity and social cohesion.

In the recently concluded AFCON tournaments we saw how particularly football served as a critical tool to unite people irrespective of their differences. We saw whenever our national team, our darling LEONE STARS play, how it positively contributed to strengthening national pride, a cohesive national identity and produced a sense of national unity which represents a better vision for peace, development and prosperity for our Country.

The importance of sports therefore, as underscored, creates room for substantial impact on factors that foster economic and social development which we do cherish. Hence, the hosting of this conference aligns with our vision of having sports promote national harmony and also as a tool for peace and development. It also strengthens the bonds between and among members of the armed forces across Africa and whole and thereby creates networks for peace and stability. I entreat you to visit our lovely beaches, which are amongst the best in the world and to see our touristic sites and enjoy the highest African hospitality you can have in Sierra Leone.

On this note, let me convey our profound gratitude on behalf of the Senior Management of the MoD/RSLAF, to His Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief of the RSLAF and the Government of the people of Sierra Leone for Government’s continuous support to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces and for gracing this occasion. I wish you all a fruitful deliberation. I thank you all most sincerely

Credit: Chief of Defence Staff Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces
Paramount Building
State Avenue
Tower Hill
Freetown

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