In a year of challenges, before the 2020 presidential election that could define the future of many for decades in this young democracy of ours, where everybody and their uncles, nieces, and grandmothers along with their kitchen sink seem to be on the campaign trail, one man stands out; a no holds barred civil servant like no other. Eager not to lead us down the dark rabbit hole of the usual paper pushers.
Dynamic, humble, willing and able, beaming with exuberance in a grim political environment.
To quote the late billionaire and former US presidential candidate Ross Perot, "Let's roll up our sleeves, get under the hoods and get it done" just as the "Super Préfet"; the embodiment of the go-getter attitude that profoundly lacks in today's Ivorian society where most are, where they should not have been in the first place.
Out and about in the community
From dealing with the "Gnambros" and "Microbes" phenomenon in Abidjan with a trickling effect across the whole country, to paying a visit to grieving families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, resolving land disputes in the community, in the wards of the psychiatric hospital of Bingerville, having the time of his life in classrooms with pupils across the capital, to just enjoying a cup of tea with colleagues before a hard day of work, he has proven to be the "Jack of all trades" in 2019.
Not long ago, "Super Préfet" paid a visit to the dark world of the everyday meat consumption habit of the common Ivorian. What was uncovered is stomach-churning.
Lizards crawling on meat commonly called "Soukouya" sprawled on dirty stalls.
Whole dogs on a roast.
Ages-old beef skin "Kplô" exported from neighbouring countries is smoked on burning rubber stoves.
Ground nuts to Peanut butter processes that would make you puke your guts.
Bissap leaves stored in filthy plastic bags before they are refined into the "Jus de Bissap" loved by so many, which in turn is distributed in plastic bottled fetched from landfills across the nation.
All photos /courtesy of Vincent Toh Bi.
In Attecoubé, Adjamé, Abobo, Koumassi, and Yopougon, high consumption Ivorian food products are processed in flies infested environments where the basic rules of hygiene are ignored by men and women who seem never concerned with the odd shower.
Statement by Super Préfet:
"We understand that people with modest incomes are limited in their choices, but nobody has the right to expose them to diseases. Preventing flies from infecting products, using clean water and using conventional firewood does not require that much costs for the financial benefits these people generate. Living in modest conditions does not mean being forced to live unhealthy lives and willfully consume products that have the potential to kill. We are in December, a month of immense and intense consumptions. I am afraid spoiled food, prepared in these unhygienic environments will be poured onto the market. To protect the general public, repression will soon supersede awareness. We do our job of control, awareness and where appropriate, prohibition of activities for the sole purpose of keeping our populations safe, secure and healthy."
Who is Vincent To Bi Irié?
A graduate of the University of Cocody and the National School of Administration of Côte d'Ivoire, he went on to study in England and Romania for a Master's degree in Modern Literature and a Diploma of Advanced Studies (DEA). Whilst researching for a Ph.D. thesis, he was admitted to the National School of Administration (ENA), where he graduated with a State Diploma of Civil Administration in 1998.
In the last 20 years, Vincent Toh Bi Irié has held several positions in his country and abroad. From the Ivorian Ministry of the Interior as Program Officer, then technical assistant for the Electoral Commission before overseeing several electoral processes in Africa, he was appointed Resident Director of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) in South Africa. In 2014 he is recalled to the Ministry of the Interior as Director de Cabinet until 2018. Préfet hors Grade since August 2018, is he now Préfet de Region of the Department of Abidjan.
In our hall of fame, Super Préfet Vincent to Bi Irié is standing tall with the bar as high as the sky.
Happy Holidays from Ivory Coast Tribune
Published By Claude B. Djaquis