In what was described by many as the seeming expression of
frustration, disappointment , resentment and disgruntlement by the No.1 gentleman of the Republic of Sierra Leone Police. Dr.Michael Ambrose Sovula, in an extra ordinary august gathering of front line commanders in the Crime Management on Friday 5th November, this year,at the Senior Officers Mess, Kingtom, involving the Criminal Investigation Department (CID,) Family Support Unit (FSU,)Trans National Organized Crime(TOCU)and Scientific Support Unit(SSU) respectively,the no nonsense IGP in an unusual tone and disposition expressed his dissatisfaction and dismay over the attitude and conduct of Investigations done by the aforementioned departments and units.
The IGP who was once an accomplished Investigator and Prosecutor over the years did not mince his words. In an unprecedented outburst, he outrightly condemned the lethargic attitude of some investigators,citing the improper and inefficient entries in the diary of actions,wrong charges on files,delay in Investigation,absenteeism to testify in court, failure to exhaust alibis amongst others. Amidst all the shortcomings, inadequacies, and challenges, he however commended few good supervisors and investigators who have been working assiduously and doing extremely well in their duties. He took umbrage on account of citizens perception about the Police which is unfavourable and unsavoury.
The IGP underscored the core values of the institution which amongst others are: to value her people and also to deliver quality services to them.
The Government of Sierra Leone he mentioned is making reasonable efforts to meet with the welfare challenges that personnel are faced with.
Lastly,he commented about the forthcoming promotion, emphasizing that some personnel would be catapulted to higher ranks owing to the fact that they’ve proven their mettle and worthy of recognition.
Prior to the address of the Inspector General of Police,the Deputy Head of Media and Public Relations Unit, Assistant Superintendent of Police,Samuel Saio Conteh,dilated on the misuse of information sharing bordering on public opinions,he spoke about ” miscommunication, misperception,and misinformation.
The Director of Crime Services, AIG William Fayia Sellu, remarked that the numerous challenges highlighted by the Inspector General of Police was acknowledged and would be given the attention it deserves, promised that there will be a paradigm shift in the disposition of personnel . He lavished praises on the IGP for his initiative on numerous activities that has motivated the rank and file of personnel generally, amongst which were: the *re-establishment of ranks,the colourful decorations of senior officers after being promoted to various ranks, construction of new facilities in the police barracks, supply of quality rice, revamping of communication infrastructure, refurbishment of police headquarters, and other edifices, training of personnel in the specialized units, moral support to the Peace Keeping Unit, transformation of the Sports Unit with an Assistant Commissioner as strategic supervisor
Appealed to the IGP to assist in facilitating local and international trainings for Investigators. He also informed the IGP that henceforth, he’ll ensure that the Crime Management is not only monitored, vetted but “audited” regularly inorder to ensure sanity and sanctity. Various Personnel made contributions,noting that never in the history of the SLP, has such a meeting been held with the full participation of no less a personality than the Inspector General of Police.
The vote of thanks was done by Commissioner of Police,Mr Joseph Lahai,Head of Scientific Support U
“Slyvia Blyden is a Poisonous Rattle Snake.”
By: David Tam-Baryoh
Lately, I hate to write for nothing!
If you are in my situation where half your writing life has been based on research, projects and professionally solicited write-ups that are always paid for by either International Bodies or interested business and non business organizations such as the African Minerals-Sierra Leone Limited, Anti Corruption commissions, the BBC, the News Time Africa and the Zongo Giwa magazines; or rather, if you have just finished a 200-page document for a higher academic degree, you certainly would be so selfish not to accept writing for writing sake.
Over the last few months, this is how selfish I have been: refusing to write for nothing, even if it requires my personal opinion on national issues relating to my beautiful country, Sierra Leone. Isn’t this selfish of me?
Nevertheless, a telephone call from the International Editor and Manager of the News Time Africa magazine, Ahmed Kamara, has made me changed my mind. Despite my eleven year- sojourn with the most powerful microphone in the broadcast history of my country, under the guise of a Good Governance Radio Programme called ‘Monologue’, I certainly have seen the need to pick up my pen again. Without putting it on, as the Americans would describe self-praise, many who have hitherto savored the comfort and proceeds from the ink of my pen have told me that I write better than I talk and that I have used the microphone to be lazy over the last few years.
Well, as William Shakespeare would say; “the eye sees not itself, but by reflection” and they, my mirrors have told me that they have been deprived of my contributions to the literary community of Sierra Leone and beyond. I have decided to write and it is to you, young lady that I will address this letter.
You are aware that I have many friends than enemies in our beloved country. I cannot certainly say the same about you. I have been told that you are very angry with me because I disagree with you, when you maintained that “every time someone is accused of rape, s/he is guilty until the courts prove him or her otherwise”. I believe on the contrary, that universal law of justice demands that every accused person is presumed innocent until the courts prove otherwise. This disagreement has made you enraged to ask: “Who is afraid of Tam-Baryoh”. To answer this question, I am not feared in my country. Rather, I am loved by many; sometimes even those who do not appreciate my side and way of rationalizing issues do love and appreciate me.
In a thriving democracy as ours, no one knows it all, not even the president, let alone you. On the specific issue of rape, my few hour-lessons in female psychology have taught me to understand that people are likely to defend a side of event with a vivid historical reality of their own lives which permeates their childhood reality. They would rather look at issues from the vantage point of what they may have been victim(s).
This is understandable. In fact, there is this story of a young lady who had been raped by her uncle. The rape incident resulted in a boy-child. This lady, claiming closer relationship with state house in Freetown, throughout her life refuses to accept that child and therefore relegated the upbringing of the boy to her mother in Europe. She has vowed never to accept this offspring of rape as her child. She lives in Sierra Leone as a government functionary and her mother lives with the child in Europe as a retired civil servant. To such a person Madam, and understandably so, anything called rape, true or false, will enrage her.
Madam Sylvia, it is my belief, and perhaps I might be speaking the minds of many, that every time you make attempt to defend what you believe in, you do so wrongly that it affects even the Presidency of my friend Ernest Bai Kororma. And having watched you from a distance, and of course after listening to so many people, it is my confirmed belief that the presidency of my country is being held hostage by you: one single less important person called Sylvia Olayinka Blyden… you, the purported Special Executive Assistant (SEA), without a job description to my President. You have told the whole world that your appointment is a cabinet position and that you are higher in rank to all deputy ministers and even some of the country’s diplomats. This assertion of yours can never be substantiated by the national constitution (1991) nor has the President agreed with you. He has just laughed off your empty bluff. Many senior party members and close associates of the President have told him that he was dealing with a poisonous rattle snake in the person of you; the new found friend who had hitherto not only written off the first gentle man of the republic but had made national and international mockery of him.
To know you better, some of us had to get closer to you with a view to ascertain what the greater majority of my country’s thinking cadre of persons actually saw you to be and mean. It’s been proven, that you have more enemies than friends in the entire society because of your excesses and over exuberance based on an accentuated self- misplacement of purpose. If you were a prototype tool in Sigmund Freud’s psychosocial lab, other than being kept in the honourable President’s political power sitting room, you would have passed off for a psychopath. What are the reasons?
Well, my sister, the government, as it stands at the moment, has no more national secrets. Those who understand the sane workings of government say that since the start of the President’s second term of leadership, everything has been reduced to Face Book governance. People now call this hitherto serious government as a Face Book and internet administration.
The government, thanks to you, is running like a dismembered football team; the government of Sierra Leone now is commented upon, by you as if it were a game between Arsenal and Man United football club of the UK.
The President leaves Freetown for China or New York for business or the General UN Assembly respectively; but everywhere the aircraft stops you announce on Face Book with all its insecurity attendance, functionary issues and you act like a small girl in a swimming pool of kittens. Being closer to the President, you announce to the world without proof that ministers are corrupt, so the public believes that yes, it is the president who has asked you to tell the unsuspecting public that his ministers are all corrupt. You say yours is of a cabinet rank and closer to the president, so you write unsavory things against the ministers and the honourable vice president, and yes, because you say your boss approves of whatever you do, everybody believes that you are not only right but yes, that this is what the president thinks of his deputy. So you see how and why I say the Presidency has never been the same since you came too close?
You want more proof sister?
Before you arrived at the palace, the media unit was a saintly unity. The presidency was adequately covered in the press. Both the local and international media knew more about positive and development oriented happenings at state house; at least from the more than a dozen trained personnel who have now sheathed their pens and left everything to you- the Deep SEA. Not only that “less” is being heard and reported today about the president (save for what you post on self-set up face book of nonexistent persons), but the truth is that the popularity and acceptance of the presidency has dropped to its lowest ebb among the general populace. You have today earned my president more enemies than friends in just less than a year. In African politics, my sister, it would seem that there are certain very good friends that must not be associated with in public. In this one, the President could have kept you in the sitting room, while going out to meet the public. I think my president has made a mistake, a grievous one indeed. The only good thing though is that he knows he’s made a serious mistake. The question though, that many have been asking in relation to you my sister, is whether anyone has deciphered the inner and insidious intention(s) you may have nurtured while associating with the presidency. Answering this question answers the dangers now surrounding the presidency. Many national and state documents must have now developed wings. Eyes and ears must have seen and heard a few state secrets. So a tactical review role, with a view to planning a disengagement process of you the SEA, can now begin so as to save the sinking palace image. My sister, you asked whether I was a coward. Certainly you know I am not. I have decided to write so that I will not give you the undeserved popularity if I were to answer you, using the widest and most listened to programme in the country, the ‘monologue’. Also, for me to use few minutes to handle you alone will be unfair to my esteemed listeners. It is my belief that you have lost something which you think you can find in asking the question: “Who is afraid of Tam-Baryoh?” I certainly will let you look for that answer somewhere else instead of me being party to your cheap game plan to look for an image that has long eluded you. Should you pass by in the APC public and you notice people quipping at you, it is because they have no regard for you and they think that they have been denied the reason why their president has ever encouraged you.
To the opposition, some of them call to ask me if ever I did not know you and I tell them that I had my reasons to find out for myself. Despite the rumours that a new political party is in the offing from within the SLPP, and that you are party to forming the bases of that arrangement, I still feel that most of them will not take you seriously as there is an image problem. And even though there is the political palour rumour, that you could be removed from the palace with an offer of a deputy diplomatic job, you still would not have had the best. You’ve burnt your bridges too fast and your star seems to derail in the train with too fast a losing-steam than a winner. If you were a local/national African team, you will be the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone; too difficult to support. But guess what, I support your effort to destroy yourself, but I will not throw the first pebble because when I make enemies with people I know, it will be forever. Poor Ernest Bai Koroma, he meant well but…
Davido and the Test of Leadership
Editor November 25, 2021 12:10 Am
By Olusegun Adeniyi
One of the more interesting short stories in the Bible can be found in 2 Samuel chapter 23. Bethlehem had fallen into the hands of Israel’s mortal enemies, the Philistines. King David had fled the city when he said in the presence of his loyal aides, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate!” Nothing in the story suggested that David was thirsty or that drinkable water was not available nearby. It was simply his craving for something out of reach in a moment of self-indulgence. But it was enough for three of his men to fight their way through the ranks of the Philistines to access that Bethlehem well water.
The circumstances might be different but there is a way in which we can draw a parallel between that story and what popular artiste, Davido (real name, David Adeleke) did last week Wednesday. To mark his 29th birthday, Davido posted a bank account number to which he asked friends to donate. Perhaps to demonstrate, like his Biblical namesake, that it was a want rather than a need, the musician said his goal was to raise N100 million to clear his Rolls Royce from the port. And he was indulged. From celebrities who credited the account with millions of Naira to people on the street who sent in between N1,000 and N5,000, a deluge of donations followed. Within 48 hours, the account had swelled to N200 million. And with that, Davido had a choice to make.
Four options were available to him. One, he could spend the entire amount anyway he wanted and regardless of whatever anybody may say, he could rationalize that decision. Two, Davido could donate a portion of the money to charity and pocket the remainder. Three, Davido could do ‘give-away’ on Twitter—a move that would be tremendously hailed by the unreflective social media mob. If, for instance, he had decided to play with N50 million, that would be enough for Davido to create a digital stampede for weeks given the way some people beg for crumbs on that platform. The last option of course was for Davido to give the entire money away to a worthy cause and do it in a transparent manner.
This now brings me back to the story of King David. When the three men brought the water to him from the Bethlehem well, he decided it was too sacred to drink. “Far be it from me, O LORD, to do this! Is this not the blood of the men who risked their lives?” he said as he poured the water to the ground as a sacrifice. A Bible scholar wrote that if King David had just taken a swig of that water, it would amount to despising these three loyal aides and the sacrifice they had made. So, he chose to reciprocate by honouring them in return.
Now, let’s come back to Davido. When this whole idea started, according to the artiste, it was simply meant for fun. But he was humbled by the response. I am delighted that Davido had enough sense of awareness to see the bigger picture the moment millions began rolling in. To rebuild this society, we need those in critical positions in various sectors of our national life to understand that nothing edifies more than the positive impact we create by selfless acts. The message is simple: We need to focus less on ourselves and our immediate environment and pay more attention to those who could use our help.
Since Davido is a successful musician from a wealthy family, we may be tempted to think that N200 million is not a big deal to him. But it is. There is a saying about money that nobody ever has enough. I once listened to an interesting discourse on that from the Chair of Metis Capital Partners, Mr Keem Belo-Osagie—he called it ‘the shifting goalpost’. While we can have contentment, which is not dependent on the size of our bank account, we can never have enough money. Even Bill Gates welcomes donations from Warren Buffet for his Foundation! So, despite his personal and family wealth, there are many things Davido could do with what, to many of us, is a jumbo amount of money. But he chose to respect the people who contributed to make him happy on his birthday by yielding the entire sum to those who need it more than him. And he added his own contribution of N50 million. He also did it in a transparent and accountable way. And for that, he taught a significant lesson in leadership.
Like most celebrities for whom there is no place to hide, I am aware that Davido has his failings and we have many self-righteous people in Nigeria who point them out. But they miss the point. Despite his social status, what Davido did is not too dissimilar from that of Mrs Ngozi Onuegbusi who refused gratification during the last election in Anambra State. She needed the N5,000 offered to purchase her vote. But she also had a choice to make. She could have rationalized taking the money with the usual excuse—’everybody is doing it’. She chose to be different by rising above the poverty of spirit that afflicts many in our country, including those in big public offices who behave like scavengers. Without any expectation of a future reward, she refused to sell her vote. Now, she is richer for that choice with the N1 million cash reward from Governor Willie Obiano.
This less-travelled road is also enormously rewarding for Davido, and I am not talking about the media attention his philanthropic gesture has generated globally. Or the way it will advance his music career. In the world in which we live today, according to Indian writer, Tharini Sridharan, selflessness is no longer just about charity, it is also uplifting. “Ironic as it may sound, selflessness is now an essential survival skill, a skill that relieves, heals and inspires,” Sridharan wrote and Davido perfectly understands that because, as many attest, he is by nature a generous person. “So, the next time you’re out saving the world, it wouldn’t hurt to remember—that the world is, in fact, saving you right back.”
In an era when leadership is exercised more through influence than coercive methods, those who inspire commitment to noble ideals are far more important than those who demand compliance to what they might not even believe in. And the former is more impactful. When Davido sent out the first tweet with his account details, I commented in a small chat group: ‘Alagbari l’oga mugun’ (a popular Yoruba slang to depict how smart people make money off their ignorant peers). But as I followed the story, I saw things differently. Those who contributed money to Davido, despite knowing he is far richer than them, were making their own statement too. Last night, I joined that company by adding my own token of N25,000. And whenever Davido makes such a call again on his birthday in the years to come, he can be sure I will be among those to honour him with my contribution. That is because he has proved himself worthy. He understands accountability, transparency, and the essence of public trust.
At the end, Davido’s example stands out for a generation increasingly notorious for selfish showiness, garish ostentation and throwing tantrums, especially on social media. He chose a worthy cause over the transient enjoyment of a Rolls Royce! To corrupt officialdom for whom enough (looted public funds) is never enough, here is a young man of 29 tossing away N250 million to a cause higher than his personal interest. And to the rest of us, Davido has pointed in the direction of the enduring values that uplift a society. It will serve us to pay attention.
Justice Mary Odili and the Invaders
A few years ago, at a public function in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Supreme Court Justice (Mrs) Mary Odili took the seat directly in front of mine. When she noticed me, she asked, “What are you doing here?” I jokingly replied that I had been sent from Abuja to be her ADC. She laughed but if I thought that was the end of the matter, then I was wrong. The moment the event ended, Justice Odili turned back and handed me her handbag saying, “since you have appointed yourself my ADC, you have to do the job. Now, follow me.” From that moment, I was compelled to escort her around and to everybody she met, she would first introduce me, “meet Olusegun Adeniyi, my new ADC.” That day, she practically ‘detained’ me for more than an hour before I could extricate myself but not before we exchanged contacts.
Following her ordeal in the hands of those now identified as rogue security personnel, professional blackmailers, and spiritual merchants on the night of 29th October, I visited Justice Odili the next morning. And she had apparently not lost her sense of humour because she welcomed me by asking why I ‘abdicated my responsibility’ as her ADC when ‘unknown gunmen’ invaded her residence the previous night. Then, she shared her experience. Aside the fact that the invasion was well timed for when she would be alone at home, it became obvious that had she not been able to call top government officials who denied involvement and were the security people around the house not been very alert, the outcome could have been tragically different.
Exactly two weeks ago today, 14 suspects allegedly involved in that invasion were paraded by the police. They included Lawrence Ajodo, a fake Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), who claimed to be a consultant to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, and others representing banking, law, journalism, law enforcement and the religious industry. These fortune hunters, including others still at large, were reportedly tipped off about a large sum of money in foreign currencies at the residence of Justice Odili. Eventually they ran out of luck.
Meanwhile, the matter is far more serious than it is being taken by the federal government. The implication is that anybody can organize a band of criminals and then use the instrumentality of the law to invade the residence of a high official of state in Nigeria. Of course, the AGF has denied involvement by dismissing Ajodo’s claim, and I don’t doubt him. But given that there is hardly any scandal involving perversion of law and order in Nigeria today without a Malami mention, the AGF must begin to ask himself the Mario Balotelli question: ‘Why always me?’
It is instructive that a chief magistrate would give the controversial order before rescinding it on pretext that he was misled. But it would not be the first time that institutions of state would be misused by senior government officials and collaborators to subvert the system. In August 2003, the then Governor Chris Ngige of Anambra State (current Labour Minister) was abducted right in his office by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), the late Raphael Ige, whose services were procured by a politician with strong connection to the presidential villa at the time. Also involved in that sordid drama were rogue judges and corrupt security personnel.
The main concern now is the way we sweep matters under the carpet in Nigeria. Less than a month after the illegal raid on Justice Odili’s residence, we no longer hear anything about the case nor are there any indications of the promised prosecution of those arrested. But this is also typical. In situations like this, there is usually a drama of investigation to lull the people into forgetfulness in a nation where citizens are ever quick to move on and collective amnesia is a national disease.
In an uncharacteristic strong statement in the aftermath of the invasion, the Supreme Court expressed alarm over “the unwarranted and despicable raid on the official residence of one of our senior Justices…in a Gestapo manner.” The attack, according to the apex court, “depicted a gory picture of war by some armed persons suspected to be security operatives representing different agencies of government who seemed to have come to kill and maim their target under the guise of undertaking a search whose warrant was questionable and baseless.”
Then the court concluded: “Though there have emerged discordant tunes from the various security agencies that allegedly participated in the dastardly act, we are not lying low on this dehumanizing treatment meted out to one of our own. We have commenced a full-scale independent investigation to unravel the true masquerades behind the mystery as well as the real motives behind the whole incident.”
Whatever may be the outcome of that investigation, as well as the one instituted by the police, there is a significant lesson we can take from this tragic episode. The Standard Operating Procedure for our security agencies needs to change. Their personnel should stop operating at night like a gang of bandits. If they need to invite anybody for questioning or raid an apartment, such must be done during the day and in a civil manner. That way, people would have no doubts as to who they are dealing with when confronted by night marauders masquerading as law enforcers. That is also the only way to deal with this vexatious situation in which rogue politicians use their positions as instrument of extortion and blackmail to our collective shame.
Waziri Adio’s Memoir
Before Waziri Adio arrived the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) in 2016 as Executive Secretary, he had practised journalism at TEMPO and THISDAY, spent the 2001/2002 academic session at Harvard as a Nieman Fellow, served as special adviser to Senate President (Adolphous Wabara), worked as communication specialist at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), returned to Harvard in 2008/2009 for a master’s degree in public policy/public administration at the Kennedy School of Government before establishing his own magazine, Metropole. The totality of that experience and exposure reflected in Waziri’s stellar stewardship at NEITI and in his memoir, ‘The Arc of the Possible’, which will be released to the public next Wednesday, 1st December and formally presented on 11th December in Abuja. The book is both insightful and sobering with several lessons for many of our young people who may want to seek a career in the Nigerian public space, those currently in service and for all those interested about improved governance in our country.