Tom Ikimi At 80 Today: His Relevance to Restore Peace, Stability in Sierra Leone and Liberia

Tom Ikimi At 80 Today: His Relevance to Restore Peace, Stability in Sierra Leone and Liberia

Wednesday, April 10, 2024 5:45 pm


Chief Tom Ikimi

Chief Tom Ikimi


Abubakar Hashim

Chief Tom Ikimi is 80 today. The ferocious architect turned diplomat is, undoubtedly, a man of commanding might and a goal-getter. He is a forceful achiever in murky waters, to achieve success in the most difficult terrains.

When he was appointed Foreign Minister by late General Sani Abacha in 1995, the wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia had heightened.

Nigeria-led ECOMOG force was successful in Sierra Leone and Liberia, due to the diplomatic prowess of Tom Ikimi, the goal-getter.

Late General Maxwell Khobe who led the command for the liberation of Freetown from the rebels, gave kudos to Ikimi, who was then Abacha’s point man in the restoration of late President Ahmad Tejan Kabba to power in 1997.

Kabbah was in exile in neighbouring Conakry for 10 months, under the protection of Guinea’s former President Lansana Conteh.

In neighbouring Liberia, Chief Tom Ikimi was the first Foreign Minister to meet with Charles Taylor. His convincing style of presentation of facts, led to the commencement of a peaceful restoration of sanity in Liberia, despite Taylor’s intransigence and lust for power.

When the wars had heightened in both Sierra Leone and Liberia, I saw Tom Ikimi whom I had the opportunity to travel with on choppers, between Freetown and Monrovia, demonstrating diplomatic suavity to restore peace and democracy the two countries enjoy today.

Despite his architectural background, Chief Tom Ikimi is an overachiever in politics and public administration back in Nigeria.

Sierra Leoneans and Liberians will be eternally grateful to him. In Sierra Leone, particularly on the restoration of the late Ahmad Tejan Kabba, as late Sani Abacha’s diplomatic point man, Ikimi is a symbol of respect.

At the National Stadium at Brookfields in Freetown, where late President Kabba was restored to power by late Abacha, Ikimi was beaming with smiles throughout the occasion.

At 80 today, Chief Tom Ikimi remains a powerful force in both Sierra Leone and Liberia in the restoration of peace and stability from the ugly past of the two countries.


*Abubakar Hashim is the West Africa Bureau Chief of The NEWS Magazine, based in Sierra Leone

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