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Crosstitution and Crosstitutes

Crosstitution and Crosstitutes

A few months ago I had the privilege of being engaged in conversation by a group of young journalists following a news conference at the headquarters of the opposition SLPP. I was flattered when my young friends commented favourably on my style of writing as well as my expressions in the Puawui column; they wanted to know how such a skill could be acquired or developed by budding journalists. I repeated what I have always said which is that I am not a journalist by profession, which is the only reason that I have not joined the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ). I stressed the importance of reading, especially from books, magazines and well organized newspapers. I also suggested the importance of listening to radio programmes apart from music and that over a period they may follow the trend of a particular author or broadcaster. I cited the late Alistair Cook of the famous BBC’s Letter from America and confessed that my style had been influenced by him over the years. There was a time when I described myself as a voracious reader, a habit I had acquired from school on the advice of late teacher, later Justice G E O Davies. I have cut down on the number of newspapers that I take daily these days but the reason is more economic than because of the poor quality of English in quite a few local tabloids. It is also the reason that despite himself, I like reading Olu Gordon Awoonor Renner of PEEP even when he forgets sometimes that I could be his grandfather. Oh yes, I like reading Umaru Fofana in the AWOKO newspaper and to listening to his dispatches on the BBC Network and Focus on Africa programmes. If I were an up and coming journalist I would ask Umaru how he acquired his skill, but more importantly I would read and listen to him regularly. Avoid the for-di-people newspaper because you’ll never get a balanced and constructive view from it. (Photo:  Dr Sama Banya)

Well the other day there was Umaru Fofana writing in Awoko on the above subject and what fascinating account he gave of the words. I had not previously come across either of them. Isn’t that the story of SaLone politics today, based on bread and butter or on survival? How many of those who crossed over from the APC to the SLPP when the latter was in power did so for political reasons? How many of those who have suddenly seen God and have decided to return to their roots by rejoining the APC have done so for any logical reason? Foday Sankoh thought he was having his own back on me in Yamoussoukro by screaming that I had been APC but was now SLPP. Of course I had been APC but I boast over the fact that I left the party when it was very much in power and NOT because it had left office. The men who headed the APC Secretariat at the time of my resignation are still alive and could testify to the fact. Some pro APC publications and columnists accuse that the likes of J B Dauda and I had deliberately joined the APC with a view to wreck it and then return to the SLPP. My advice to myself has always been to ignore their ignorance by not answering them at all. In any case J B Dauda is back in the fold of the red sun and the criticisms of him have on the whole been muted. But as Umaru has pointed out, sadly Crosstitution and political Crosstitutes will continue to be in main stream African politics especially in the Sierra Leone context.

In the view of some journalists there is nothing to shout about in any of the 19 aspirants for the flagship position of the SLPP. Not a single one among those men and women qualifies for leadership. Fortunately the opinion of such bigots will count for nothing when delegates shall come to cast their votes for our prospective leader. A Krio proverb says “Ekuru dog na in dey kill lepet.” Our detractors are entitled to their opinion. We will carry on regardless.

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