The Government Secondary School, Bo, otherwise known as The Bo School, was established in 1906 by the colonial government specifically for the education of the sons and nominees of paramount chiefs.
The rationale behind the bold step was to prepare the young men for leadership. This, in effect, classifies Bo School as a leadership institution.
While The Bo School has significantly contributed to developing the country’s human resource by churning out quality products who continue to render invaluable services in all spheres of development both locally and internally, it had to wait for over a century to accomplish its ultimate goal of one of its products being at the helm of national governance.
During this long wait, the School only managed to come close to achieving this remarkable feat with no fewer than four Bo School boys becoming vice presidents at various periods in the country’s political history. These include: S.I. Koroma, Dr Salia Jusu Sheriff, Dr Albert Joe Demby and quite recently Dr Victor Bockarie Foh.
April 2018 has therefore gone down in the annals of Sierra Leone as the time The Bo School ended its long national leadership drought with one of its fully bred products, Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio, elected as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
This called for celebrations and Bo School boys from across the country and various parts of the world trooped to their campus in Bo city to enthusiastically participate in the activities of the 89th Session of the Old Bo Boys Association (OBBA) held from 27th to 29th April 2018.
Dubbed an extraordinary OBBA essentially because a Bo School boy was gracing the occasion as the first gentleman of the republic, the huge attendance was unprecedented, making the atmosphere awesome. There were visible signs of elation on the faces of Bo School boys who considered President Bio’s deserved occupation of the seat of power as a source of pride.
What is however worth noting is the difference President Bio is poised to make in the governance of the state, owing to the leadership training he received at the Bo School. Sierra Leone probably has had very little to show for the 57 years it has been a sovereign state because of leadership deficiency, given that non of President Bio’s predecessors were privileged to attend The Bo School and benefit from what the institution had to offer in terms of the rudiments of efficient leadership.
It will not be long; Sierra Leoneans will realize they were not mistaken in making that critical decision at the polls a month ago as President Bio will demonstrate that Bo School is indeed the training ground for the best leaders of this country.
This year’s OBBA celebrations were for the first time in the organization’s history not held on the traditional dates of Good Friday to Easter Monday because of the just concluded elections. That notwithstanding, in spite of slight modifications to the normal programs, the Session did not lose its essence.
For instance, instead of having the usual keynote address most times delivered by distinguished personalities in society invited by the School, OBBA thought it fit to graciously ask 3919 Bio Julius Maada, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, to give the keynote address.
The President while admonishing the present pupils of the school vividly recalled his days there when he used to watch former heads of state come and perform a similar function which he said inspired him a lot although he never thought he would one day himself become a head of state and address pupils at the same event. Anything, he underscored, is possible through hard work, as he challenged the pupils to be motivated by his achievement and emulate his good example.
OBBA President, Dr Alpha Tejan Wurie, in his own remarks, implored Bo School boys to do everything humanly possible to help President Bio succeed in transforming the lives of Sierra Leoneans and the country. He asked that Bo School boys strive to exhibit a high degree of patriotism by frowning on the ills of society and ensuring that they correct all the wrongs in the governance system.
Meanwhile, about 14 Bo School boys, who are now paramount chiefs, paid homage to President Julius Maada Bio at a special ceremony after the annual Prize Giving and Speech Day event. One by one the chiefs walked up to him, accompanied by their respective traditional dancers, to greet him. President Bio is himself the son of a paramount chief and therefore by default a paramount chief.
The climax of the event was a Thanks Giving service on the school campus which the President attended along with the First Lady. They later joined the march past through the principal streets of Bo city as they were cheered on by thousands of residents throughout the route.
Other events at the 89th Session of OBBA included the usual Re-union Night, OBBA Dance, Cross Country and the Annual General Meeting.