From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Sylvia Blyden Visits APC Party Offices
By A Special Correspondent
Oct 14, 2009, 17:33

One of the foremost critics of the All People’s Congress led Government of Sierra Leone, is the very popular, independent newspaper publisher, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden. Yesterday afternoon, Blyden astounded many when she walked unannounced into the APC party offices to pay a courtesy call to the Party’s Newspaper team and the Party’s Youth Wing.

Many observers, upon hearing the news of Sylvia Blyden’s impromptu visit, stated that it brought to them, reminiscence of when President Ernest Koroma walked into the opposition party headquarters unannounced during the height of the APC-SLPP tensions a few months ago.

Dr. Sylvia Blyden, who was accompanied by just a single one of her bodyguards, was warmly welcomed to the APC Offices even though it was an unannounced visit. After sharing discussions inside the newsroom with the paper’s staff on a variety of issues such as the valuable aspects of President Koroma’s speech to Parliament and the potential for oil wealth in the country, Sylvia Blyden was taken on a conducted tour of the premises by the APC Newspaper Editor, Mr. Cornelius Deveaux.

Sylvia Blyden found the APC offices to be well organized with a well kept and well stocked Resource Center manned by a white male Swedish volunteer who explained to Sylvia Blyden that he loves the values of the APC’s populism which was why he traveled all the way from Sweden to assist the APC to organize.

At the fully air-conditioned Youths Wing offices, Blyden met APC youths hard at work in their offices. Although the President of the Youth Wing was not present during her impromptu visit, the Financial Director of the APC Youth Wing gave a smiling welcome to Blyden on behalf of the APC Youth Wing.

Later, after the conducted tour, Sylvia Blyden shared drinks in the canteen with some of the APC staff where they all laughed and made jokes together.

“My criticisms of the APC should not be seen in any partisan light; I am an independent journalist and I criticize to serve my country and my conscience,” Sylvia Blyden told the APC members who were present during her visit, adding that Sierra Leone suffered from years of bad governance simply because there was no-one brave enough to criticize the excesses in the early stages of bad governance.

“In the seventies, by the time people started to realize that things had gone badly downhill, it was really too late so I am ensuring that in my generation, I raise alarms as much as possible to prevent us from sliding back,” Sylvia Blyden stated.

Later, she took photographs with APC newspaper staff and the newspaper’s Editor. The photographs were taken by the APC’s ace photojournalist, Mr. Kuyateh. They are published in this edition.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.