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Gratitude and Appreciation

Gratitude and Appreciation

To quote a distinguished former classmate of mine at the famous Prince of Wales School, “I have simply been flabbergasted by the amount of goodwill expressed by my many friends and family on the occasion of my 80th birthday last Thursday. I have been overfilled with joy as the greetings and good wishes have continued to come from across the globe. Indeed, no expressions or words can enough express my thanks and gratitude.

The Thanksgiving Service in College C Chapel was very moving; the choir excelled themselves in the rendition of the Halleluiah chorus by Handel. The man who delivered the message, the Rt. Reverend Francis Nabieu erstwhile President of the Methodist Church Sierra Leone, revealed a quality in me about which I have hitherto refused to boast. As if in answer to some of my grossly ignorant and ill-informed detractors he told of a visit by some church leaders when I lay on my sick bed in the Nixon Memorial Methodist hospital in Segbwema. It was my request to them to pray for those who had committed that hideous crime against me and my group in the infamous Mobai ambush of 1977.

Readers may recall that despite my repeated assertions that in the election campaign of that year I had refused the offer of protection by the dreaded Special Securities Division SSD of the Sierra Police, publications in the African Champion and the Standard Times keep repeating how I had unleashed violence against my people of the Kailahun district during the election campaign. I thank God that the armed SSD was not in our group that night; I could well imagine the consequences of a revenge attack even if it was only in self defense.

The reception and party at the Bank of Sierra Leone complex was also well organized and I believe that all who attended had an enjoyable evening. I offer my unqualified apologies to the many friends and family members who missed out for one reason or the other. As I have continued to assure them mistakes were made but they were not mistakes of the earth.

My nephew the honourable Paramount chief Alhajie Mohamed Kailondo Banya who paid a very moving tribute must have got carried away when he prayed that I would live for another 80 years! It is so frightening even to contemplate, but then it expressed a genuine feeling, one that continues to be repeated by my many grandchildren.

In my birthday reflections I failed to mention that I had been married twice and that I am the proud father of four grown up children and two grown-up grand children.

Those who attended my 75th birthday celebrations in Sumaila Town may recall the very sensible admonishment from my eldest daughter Nancy on that occasion. Among other things she said “Daddy, e don tem for mek u blow now” amidst great laughter.  She did not elaborate and I asked no questions, but I am sure she will be the first to testify that I have scrupulously heeded that advice.

I will now end this short message with special thanks to my son-in law- Amadu Ndoeka of Safecom Petroleum Company and my daughter Massah for organizing things with such efficiency. To my many friends who made it possible and to the Trusties of College Chapel as well as to the staff of the Bank of Sierra Leone complex. May the Almighty Himself reward you.

Now that we have put 80 years behind us we shall return to “Business as usual” tomorrow with questions on the previously much touted 17,000 plus page Transition Team Report. 

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