The Creoles give Yoruba names to their children based on the circumstances around the child’s birth. I was born amidst great fanfare in my family. My maternal grandfather, Professor Solomon Pratt, as Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister, was addressing the United Nations at the precise moment of my birth. He was delivering what would later prove to be one of the more pivotal speeches ever given on the floor of the United Nations; his speech was the prelude to the debate to allow China into the United Nations which was led by my grandfather on the side of China and led by US Ambassador George Bush (later President Bush) against China. When he received the telegram informing that he now had a second grand-daughter, Grandpa immediately dispatched a telegram response back to Freetown saying under the circumstance; I should be given a name befitting the honour of the occasion. That is how I was given the name OLAYINKA which means ‘Honour surrounds the birth of this child of Honour’. A more elaborate explanation of the meaning of OLAYINKA is that no one can prevail over any honour due to her until her death.
The honourable circumstances of my birth were not just limited to my grandfather’s. On the day of my birth, my father, Edward Babatunde Blyden, received his appointment letter to become the Executive Secretary of the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation. It was a great appointment worthy of honour as my Dad was only 28 years then. My father held that position as SLRTC Executive Secretary from 1971 until 1977 (I was six years old when my Dad left Road Transport). My birth, especially my spitting image looks of my Dad which I inherited, was in the midst of such honour being given my Dad to be the Secretary to the country’s Road Transport system at the age of only 28 years. You do not need to be told I am the daughter of my father. I possess his spitting image looks.
Now, the man hired by SLPP’s Presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio to be his media trouble shooter is one Kalilu Totangi. He and I are in the same age group so contrary to an utterly libellous piece yesterday, Kalilu Totangi could not have been PRO at Road Transport working alongside my Dad.
My father has served an illustrious career in various fields serving his country; too lengthy for me to list down in one newspaper edition. If Dr. Kadi Sesay, the SLPP’s Running-mate, writes in her CV that she “co-authored” the National Pledge, it is because she knows who actually authored it. I watched my Dad, as Kadi Sesay’s fellow Commissioner of the National Commission for Democracy (NCD) sit in his study at our residence in 1995, to write down the words we all read out as our National Pledge today.
Recently, on Facebook, many people were singing my Dad’s praises as they recounted of a pivotal day in Bo Town back in the nineties when my Dad singularly calmed the rising tensions between civilians and soldiers. That was the day when Bo stood still as my Dad, Babatunde Blyden got the then all-powerful NPRC soldier Colonel Gabriel Mani to publicly apologise to Bishop Keili in public for what had gone wrong between the two men which I do not need to recount.
Many Sierra Leoneans who know my Dad and my Mum, phoned me up in fury yesterday at the words of Kalilu Totangi, the man hired by Julius Maada Bio as his media trouble-shooter. They are very angry at the language used by Totangi against my parents. Well, so am I. But I will not publish insults against Kalilu’s parents in my newspaper. There are better ways of letting Julius Maada Bio know he has hired media trash from the gutters.
Interestingly, I had just been thinking of letting up on Bio’s name since SLPP strategists were under illusion that Sylvia Blyden alone, was their stumbling block to getting at Ernest Koroma (how wrong they are!! APC is gearing up!!).
However, since Maada Bio, has hired a media trouble shooter like Kalilu Totangi as his hired gun to insult my parents in a bid to intimidate me into silence, let me see how Maada Bio likes the experience of having a Kalilu Totangi as his media trouble-shooter. This is going to be FUN! Oh what fun!
Kalilu Totangi wants to insult my parents because of a lying, cowardly, bloody murderer like Julius Maada Bio??? Let the drums roll! Let the drums roll!!!
May the best person win and may the one who crosses the line into the libel zone, get LOCKED UP and the keys thrown away!
I have really picked up the gauntlet now!
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.