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If I were the President!

If I were the President!

If I was the President of our Sierra Leone I would have been preparing to broadcast a message of greetings to all my fellow citizens and to wish them a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New year. By golly how we need, nay deserve this last one. This is routine; Tejan-Kabbah did it, as Valentine Strasser before him, as Joseph Saidu Momoh before him, as Siaka Stevens before him and so on.

Not withstanding the improbability of my being one of them, I would like to send warmest felicitations for a Merry Christmas and a very prosperous New Year to all my readers who have continued to inspire and encourage me in continuing  to share my thoughts with them on a variety of topics. I would also like to include those whom I would label as detractors, (not enemies) for their differing opinions about me which generally have acted as a further stimulus. I won’t name them all now, but would mention a few, who include Olu Ritchie Gordon who is forever fretting at my writings but apparently never misses any, also the boys at Kissy Road and those on Old Railway Line, Nesta Olokodo and his boss at for-di-people, the lot at Cocorioko, the freelance praise singers and sycophants, to Tataway Tumoe who suggested recently that I ought to see my colleague Edward Nahim for certification, my friend Philip Neville at Standard Times. How I would have loved to include Mohamed Dadis Koroma the owner and former Managing editor of the African Champion. I would never have imagined that he was in the wrong profession judging by his present output as a Minister which has drawn commendation from all of us.

I wonder why Mr. President does not appear to have heard our voice at all, or maybe he has but is waiting for the right time. That’s as far as I will go with you Mohamed lest your fanatic APC colleagues fear that receiving accolade from a diehard SLPPian may suggest that you have been compromised.

On coming out of the AFRC’s Pademba Road hotel of Johnny Paul in 1997, the BBC stringer Victor Silver asked me whether I was bitter. I replied with a quotation that “If you can’t stand the heat, leave the kitchen…” And that I intended to continue the Grace of God permitting.

Ah, if I was Mr. President, I would change my mind and invite John Benjamin for a chat. It is unfortunate that his Excellency has dismissed such a thought provoking letter from JOB with a wave of his hand. Not surprisingly diehard APC supporters are even suggesting that he arrests and charge the bold, dynamic and popular chairman of the SLPP to court, though for what crime I have no idea.

The same fanatics and others may believe that by their utterances, they are helping the President. The man should be applauded for bringing to the President’s attention matters which are no longer whispers but loud and clear concerns. Your Excellency, JOB is not playing politics, let alone a cheap one as you have unfortunately concluded. I have in my possession a letter dated March 31, which our Foreign Minister Zainab Bangura had written to her India counterpart requesting a second consignment of rice at CONCESSINARY PRICE for our starving people and specifically naming an Indian agent of her choice. Another document concerns an earlier shipment which had been loaded for Freetown but which discharged its cargo in Dubai. I had in a previous article asked Harmony Trading at what price the rice was offered to the enterprise and the basis of the duty-free concession granted to them when the rice was in fact sold almost at open market price. Would your Excellency consider the raising of these and related issues as cheap politics?

In a brief chat with his Excellency in Kenema he informed me that he would launch the construction of the Kenema to Koindu Road in Kenema in October. It is now the middle of November and there are no signs of the contractor even mobilizing. Is that not food for thought your Excellency? An interesting question is this, when has the leader of a political opposition anywhere, gone to discuss matters of public interest in a tête-à-tête with the head of government when it is not a matter involving state security? And does it matter whether or not JOB had been a corrupt official? If he came to his conclusions after listening to him then there would be basis for his assertion. How I wish his Excellency would ponder these points.           

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