The saying goes thus, “opportunity comes, but once”. How did someone grow to be the president of a country at a gentle age of 25, ruled the country for 4 years, overthrown at the age of 29, went to the UK to in addition his studies, however nowadays he can barely feed himself.
Well this is the case of Valentine Strasser, the youngest president in the whole world whilst he became the president of Sierra Leone in 1992.
Captain Valentine Strasser had the world at his feet, as he become born in Freetown in 1967. He became lucky to end up as the head of State in Sierra Leone due to the fact he never planned on reaching this feat.
The government of Joseph Momoh dispatched Valentine and other soldiers to the eastern part of the nation to deal with a rebel which have been threatening to overthrow the valid authorities of the day. Valentine and his colleagues performed the order to the latter, and they advanced closer to the rebellion with complete force. However, within the middle of the battle, they ran out of the vital ammunitions needed to combat the enemy, no army boots, no sufficient bullets, no meals, and it seems they were deserted. Constant pleas to Joseph Momoh yielded no result and immediately Valentine and his group of soldiers knew they ought to do something.
They came collectively and marched to the country’s capital to protest their i’ll treatment on the warfare area, but the sight of the marching soldiers scared the hell out of President Joseph Momoh who assumed that a coup was already in vicinity to kill him because he by no means expecting to see them that day. He was forced to flee from the country out of fear and went on exile in Conakry Guinea. The protesters at once sensed that there was a power vacuum and they seized power, fashioned the National Provisional Ruling Council(NPRC)and made Valentine Strasser their leader therefore making him the youngest Head of State in the world at the time.
Youthful exuberance and wrong decisions in the long run brought about the downfall of one who tasted power at a soft age of 25. His failure to deal decisively with the insurrection leader, Friday Sankoh, returned to haunt him and he have become power abusive. In the space of 6 months, he killed 29 civilian Sierra Leoneans. Perceived opposition of his authorities have been killed and tortured without proofs, and his downfall became forthcoming when majority of his soldiers defected to the opposition camp.
Mismanagement of price range, excessive stage of profligacy meant Valentine Strasser could not put his youthful self together to see the opportunity he was about to throw away. After four years in power in 1996, his deputy Julius Maada Bio staged a coup and he was eliminated from power.
Julius Maada Bio
He left the country Right away for the UK to study law at the University of Warwick Coventry. However divorce issues and consistent harassment from one of the daughters of his sufferers meant he could not complete his studies as he left the UK after a year to go back to Gambia. However the Gambians denied him entry to their country for motives satisfactory recognised to them, he was granted a pardon and allowed to go back home, but matters have by no means remained the same, he has been living in abject poverty along with his mum until this minute taking solace in palm wine bars and beer parlours in his area.
He constantly laments over his joblessness and bad financial situation and he never ceased to ask the country to assist him in one way or the other. But come to think of it, how did somebody rule a country for four good years and presently has nothing good to show for. It still baffles me.
Julius Maada Bio
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