By Abu Bakarr Sulaiman Tarawally
President Julius Maada Bio has recently appointed Ibrahim Sannoh as the Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority, pending a parliamentary vetting and approval.
The quintessential gentleman’s new task would be to regulate, design, coordinate, develop and administer rules and regulations that would transform the roads transport sector in Sierra Leone going forward.
The road transport sector posits numerous challenges from having drivers with a very low literacy background to that of a huge youthful population, predominantly DDR trained drivers. The scramble for jobs and entrepreneurship brought a few dregs of society into the driving profession.
It is even harder to manage a mold of behavior given the background of the eleven years civil conflict in the West African country, which left many with disorders to contend with and some with visibly reckless attitudes.
Sierra Leone, in the last decade, has recorded a high road crashes owing to drunk driving, over-speeding and flouting road safety measures. According to the latest WHO data published in 2017 on Road Traffic Accidents Deaths, Sierra Leone reached 1,842 fatalities, representing 2.25% of total deaths. The age adjusted Death Rate is 35.37 per 100,000 of population which ranks Sierra Leone #26 in the world.
In the wake of this reality, Ibrahim Sannoh is taking over an administration which is in need of fixing not only management issues dealing with the road transport sector, but mechanisms to bring about strategic plans that would prioritize driver education and training.
The Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority commits to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, over a decade ago, which requires member states to reduce road deaths by 50% by the year 2020.
It remains a challenge to have a comprehensive data on road crashes as the figures reported are largely sourced from the road traffic wing of the Sierra Leone Police backed by medical autopsy reports done by the lead Pathologist and Corona of the Freetown Mortuary.
The road-map to achieving this is to have a comprehensive strategy on how to mitigate the fatality rate in keeping with the 2020 UN Decade of Action for Road Safety.
Challenges and Expectations
Ibrahim Sannoh may well be aware of the challenges ahead of him because he is treading on a familiar terrain. Until his appointment, he serves the entity as the Deputy Executive Director in charge of operations.
In one of his engagements with stakeholders in the road transport sector at the Mile 38 checkpoint along the Masiaka-Waterloo highway, in 2019, he said the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority is working in partnership with the forces (Sierra Leone Police, Road Safety Corps and others) to enforce the laws on safety and to ensure that drivers and commuters are kept safe while using the roads.
According to him, the police and the road safety corps are always on the streets to ensure road safety, but road traffic crashes are still on the increase. This ugly trend, he said, must be reversed as “the life of every Sierra Leonean, despite their social status is equally important.
Now that he is in charge, much is expected to happen in terms of giving incentives and other emoluments to border or check-point staff in a bid to augment the thirteen offices the SLRSA had established across the country to meet the authority’s safety mandate. He is expected to continue with more engagements with the traffic police and sensitize road users and the public at large on safety measures.
Sannoh the humble servant
In politics and worldly ventures, it is often said the reward for good work is more work. As Deputy in charge of operations at the SLRSA, his work shone to ensure success. He occupied the hot-spot when required to do so and his effort has not gone unnoticed.
His long record of humility could be traced back in his days when he was Personal Assistant to Dr. Kadie Sesay, the 2012 presidential running mate to Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio. He gave nothing to be complained about in the discharge of his duties much as he also did with his immediate former boss David Maurice Panda Noah at the SLRSA
Sannoh was the Outreach and Planning Coordinator for the Julius Maada Bio Campaign team across the country in the 2018 elections. he could be seen carrying the Public Address system loud speakers when Julius Maada Bio visits the interior for the locals to get his message loud and clear. He does his work diligently.
He attended the Saint Francis Primary School in Bo and later proceeded to the Bo Government Secondary School, The Bo School. He became Senior Prefect of the Bo School in the 2005/2006 academic year.
He is an alumnus of the Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics and Political Science. He late did his Post Graduate Masters in Public Administration.