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MY VISION FOR A BETTER FREETOWN

 The Candidate –

Theo Nicol Born some fifty two years ago in the Western Area of Sierra Leone Theo Nicol attended the Hastings primary school, the Albert Academy and Fourah Bay College in Freetown, before studying at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism in Lagos, where he qualified as a professional journalist.

He has worked as reporter, editor and publisher of many publications in Nigeria, Ghana, London and Freetown before moving into politics. He was the first Marketing Manager of Premier Media, the Managing Director of Africa Young Voices Group of companies prior to his aspiration to run for the office of Mayor of Freetown. Nicol is a regular contributor to debates on SLBC television and various radio programmes. He is known to be a fearless social and political commentator and a prolific writer, made popular for his balanced commentaries in his “My View” column which he has written for five years. He has received numerous training certificates and has also trained many journalists in Nigeria and here in Sierra Leone. Nicol is a member of various professional bodies such the NUJ and SLAJ. He is married and has three grown-ups.

The message Fellow comrades of this great and historic city of Freetown! It is with great joy and ardor that I introduce to you Mr. Theo Nicol who is aspiring to become the Mayor of Freetown in the forth coming local government elections scheduled for November this year. The profile above speaks succinctly as who Theo Nicol is. As the leader of the Strategy and Planning team of this campaign, I want to present to you a young, articulate, illustrious and industrious new breed personality who has so much to stand the test of times in this race. Theo Nicol is a sellable and organic candidate that any political party would want to have, and we are providential to have him in the APC. Theo Nicol is synonymous to change, a generational positive change. It is an open secret that the FCC needs new hands to energize it and make the difference that the council so badly needs. The Council needs stronger hands and a new face to redeem the lost image and confidence. The Council needs a balance of a politician and a sound administrator; the Council needs a leadership that is dynamic and sincere; The Council needs a leader that will create impact rather than sensation; Council needs sustainability over superficiality. The Council needs an upright, committed, dedicated, sound, knowledgeable, articulate and inventive leader. Ladies and gentlemen, all of this in one basket and can only be found in the person of Theo Nicol. Madame et Monsieur je vous presente M. Theo Nicol pour Maire. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mr. Theo Nicol for Mayor. Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues and friends, I feel humbled by Mr. Rollings-Kamara’s introduction, but since what he said is so true, I can only thank him for it. Let me present my manifesto to you Decentralization – About 50% of national workload has been devolved to local councils. Freetown, being the largest of all Councils both in size and in population is faced with a cluster of personnel and activities all in the same office at Wallace Johnson Street. I would like to further decentralize the activities of the FCC so that other constituencies and wards would also benefit directly. I would like to see only the Administration, Social services and Metropolitan Police at the headquarters, whilst all other departments of Council would be located in various wards. This is an effort to take the Council back to the people. I would like to make better use of ward committees and make the members more effective in the daily activities of the council and councilors in their wards. I believe that if we utilize the services and local expertise in the various wards, projects will be executed more efficiently and effectively. Infrastructure – I would like to have all line ministries and agencies further devolve all roads and housing schemes in the city to FCC to be managed directly. More often than not, FCC is blamed for the deplorable conditions of such amenities. Council would engage with the Assets Commission, Ministry of Housing & infrastructure and other MDAs for the timely devolution of such so that FCC will adequately manage such for the good and benefit of all. We are determined to give our city a thorough facelift. Freetown will become clean once more. The issue of garbage will be history. We will once more become a pride of cleanliness among other nations. We will manage both people and infrastructure adequately to enhance this determination. How would this be done, you may want to ask? We intend to buy garbage from the people, which will be used for the production of manure and fertilizer which we shall equally sell to pay for more garbage and make profit for the city. If you notice, these days we hardly see scrap metals lying around. This is because metal is being bought now. Buying garbage will create employment for certain categories of the city residents who are currently idle but are willing to work. Youth Employment – over 52% of the over 2 million population in Freetown is young people. About 50% of them are unemployed; 25% gainfully employed whilst 25% is engaged in some form of business that only see them survive one day at a time. We would like to give life and meaning back to these young people. We would introduce various approaches including corporate small medium enterprises (SMEs) to strengthen and propel the surviving ones and to give an organic approach for starters. We are going to create jobs for our youths as parking attendants and drivers and so on and turn Freetown to a works yard. Just President Koroma has turned Sierra Leone into. We would also in particular create jobs for the physically challenged persons to make them look and become more respectable persons in society. We would dissuade them from being beggars and transform them to very useful and reputable persons in the city. Gender Equality and Women Empowerment – The FCC would become an equal opportunity council. I will grant the employment threshold of 30% to women and 30% to young people in my cabinet. This will be against the backdrop that they are elected proportionately. I will also do same for staff employment in the event that it does not presently exist. Young people and women would become the new face of FCC. I will personally appoint goodwill ambassadors – women and young people to propel the good image of Freetown. I intend to set up cooperative societies that will help fund businesses set up by women, especially widows and underprivileged in all constituencies under the municipality. Income Generation – FCC is losing a lot to other MDAs like SLP, SLRTA, etc. The street parking facilities will be restructured in a way that will make the City look organized whilst at the same time Council will directly benefit financially from this. We will introduce other programs that will greatly generate income for Council and provide employment especially so for young people. We shall ensure that the traditional revenue of the city which include city rates, market dues, burial fees, local tax, and so on are not compromised. We shall make sure that no corrupt practice diverts council income into private pockets by regular on the spot checks and accounting system that will provide checks and balances that will plug any loophole that may result in loss of income for the council. I intend to set up businesses under the investment portfolio of the council. One of such will be the Freetown City bank, which will be involved in commercial banking and help the council, banks its funds and enjoy the profit other than making other banks rich at our expense. Vehicular Traffic and Parking facilities – In concert with the SL Police, my team of experts will device a system for vehicular traffic that will ease the congestion in the center of Freetown. We will negotiate with the National Stadium management (if not devolved by then) for the use of the outside car park. This will be developed to a level that will create parking facilities for over 100 vehicles; provide jobs for young people in vehicle maintenance, restaurant, entertainment, and security. We will also identify and set up a similar project in the east around the Up Gun and Ferry Junction axis. When both projects are completed, we will have over 200 vehicles restrained from entering the city. These will be vehicles of owners who will spend at least 5 hours in the center of Freetown. The project will further create shuttling facilities to and from the city at regular intervals either by mini bus or nice bikes all operated by FCC personnel. We shall utilize the present land allocated for the construction of the city as a four story care park and a floor for the city hall and offices. This will be organized in a way that will generate income daily that will be used to provide other facilities that the city so badly needs. Twinning – the historicity and importance of Freetown cannot be downplayed. Consequently, we have something to proffer to other nations. We would explore twinning with other cities for the benefit of all. The purpose will be for the exchange of personnel and expertise in education, culture and related areas. We shall particularly look at cities in the USA, China, Nigeria and Europe that may be willing to assist us in many of our projects. Accountability/Transparency – Accountability is the balance of authority and responsibility. My office will be an open spectacle for all to see. My journalistic background has prepared me to be accountable and transparent, hence there would not be any skeleton in the cupboard. I shall ask the city treasurer to publish in the newspapers all income and expenditure, every quarter. But monthly reports would be made available at the council premises to be scrutinized by anyone who cares in concert with the spirit of freedom of information. Alongside Council’s regular programs on radio and TV, I will personally set a time once a month when I will talk to my people and they in turn have time to ask me questions. “My” here refers to everyone in the city, whether that person actually voted for me or not. The program will be dubbed “Meet with the Mayor”. Councilors and those handling council funds will also be asked to meet the people and explain their projects to them and reveal all necessary information that the people will need in the spirit of transparency. I shall insist that an annual audited report of all income and expenditure is submitted by the city treasury and external auditors, including the Auditor General’s office. Street trading, hawking and retail – My council will first provide places for our battery of street traders before enforcing the “No Trading and No hawking” by laws. Make shift markets will be provided in central Freetown which will provide spaces for our women and other traders. I have already identified the land at Fisher Street and other places. We shall look into the by law that prohibits wholesalers from doing retail trading. After the provision of selling places, we shall enforce the no street trading law and use the spaces as parks within the metropolis. I shall enforce that all traders sell inside the markets and not on the footpaths and walkways. Those traders who own stores would be asked to restrict their wares inside their stores other than taking over all the footpaths on our major streets and roads. Noise pollution and outdoor advertizing – We shall work with those causing noise in the city to desist from that. Outdoor advertising will be organized so that maximum benefit is derived from money spent, while facelift is given to the city. Education – Our municipal schools may be upgraded and the welfare of teachers and inspectors shall be looked into so as to attract trained and qualified personnel. We shall continue to provide scholarships for indigent pupils and provide all necessary facilities and tools for learning and teaching. We are going to work with the various stake holders in education for the benefit of the metropolitan schools. Health Water and Sanitation – Health facilities will be improved in the municipality. We shall do all in our power to allocate sufficient resources from the annual budget towards health for our people in the city. Council’s health facilities will also be upgraded and transformed into standard health centers. I shall work closely with the Guma Valley Water Company for the provision of water in the city. I will look into the possibility of providing ground water for the people to supplement the supply from Guma Valley. Sanitary Inspectors will be brought back to ensure that foodstuff displayed for sale to our people are covered, to ensure that our backyards, gutters and communities are clean and in good hygienic conditions. Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues, all, this is my manifesto and I intend to start work as soon as you help put me in the office of mayor in the Freetown City Council. May God grant us a peaceful, free and fair election on 17th of November 2012 Thank you very much.

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2 Responses to MY VISION FOR A BETTER FREETOWN

  1. Mohamed Sow

    August 19, 2012 at 6:00 am

    This is a very powerful manifesto and indeed all sierra leoneans would appreciate all the issues that are contained in the manifesto. If only what you have outlined is what you would implement upon elected, then i think you are the best candidate for this position. Hope you will not disappoint us like George Herbert Williams.

  2. Joseph

    August 21, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Your manifesto is really good.I just pray that God gives you the courage to implement ever word in it.I will like to make few suggestions as a way in helping you to make our city a better place.Apart from street trading,the other things that are making our city the way it is,are the scattered street garages around and the fact that landlords in central freetown have constantly neglected to paint their houses for years and years now, though they collect huge money as rent for these structures.The the ‘pan body’ issue is another.Freetown is a city for God sake,we must regulate the kind of structures people build in it.please remember to address these issues.God bless salone.

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