Opportunity they say comes but once,how did someone become the president of a country at a tender age of 25,ruled the country for four years,overthrown at 29,went to the United Kingdom to further his studies,but today he could barely feed himself,such is the case of Valentine Strasser,the youngest president in the World when he became the president of Sierra Leone in 1992
Captain Valentine Strasser had the world at his feet,he was born in Freetown in 1967,he was fortunate to emerge as the head of state of Sierra Leone because he never planned on achieving this feat,the government of Joseph Momoh dispatched Valentine and other soldiers to the eastern part of the country to deal with a rebellion that have been threatening to overthrow the legitimate government of the day,Valentine and his colleagues carried out the order to the latter,they advanced towards the rebellion with full force,but in the middle of the battle,they ran out of the necessary ammunitions needed to combat the enemy,no military boots,no enough bullets,no food,it seems they were abandoned,constant pleas to Joseph Momoh yielded no result,immediately Valentine and his group of soldiers knew they must do something
They came together and marched to the country’s capital in order to protest their I’ll treatment at the battle field,but the sight of the marching soldiers scared the hell out of President Joseph Momoh who thought a coup was already in place to kill him because he never expected to see them that day,he was forced to flee the country out of fear and went on exile in Conakry Guinea,the protesters immediately sensed that there is a power vacuum,they seized power,formed the National Provisional Ruling Council(NPRC)and made Valentine Strasser their leader thus making him the youngest head of state in the world at the time
A young Valentine Strasser in Power.
Youthful exuberance,wrong decisions ultimately led to the downfall of one who tasted power at a tender age of 25,his failure to deal decisively with rebel leader Friday Sankoh came back to haunt him,he became power drunk,in the space of 6 months,he had killed 29 civilian Sierra Leoneans,perceived opposition of his government were killed and tortured without proofs,his downfall became imminent when majority of his soldiers defected to the opposition camp,mismanagement of funds,high level 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 removed from power
He left the country immediately for the United Kingdom to study law at the university of Warwick Coventry,but divorce issues and constant harassment from one of the daughters of his victims meant he could not complete his studies as he left the UK after a year to return to Gambia,but the Gambians denied him entry to their country for reasons best known to them,he was granted a pardon and allowed to return home,but things have never remained the same,he has been living in abject poverty with his mum till this minute taking solace in palm wine bars and beer parlours in his region
He constantly laments over his joblessness and have asked the country to assist him in one or two ways,but how did somebody rule a country for four years with nothing to show for it still beats my imagination till this day,his case is a clear case of grace to grass
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