From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

How Are You Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden of Sierra Leone?
By Senior Journalist, Umaru Sitta Turay in America
Feb 5, 2010, 17:04

The first time I read on the internet that women of the All Peopleís Congress (APC) and the Sierra Leone Peopleís Party (SLPP) have joined forces to fight the awful and shameful plan to molest a role model in the person of Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, I felt like boarding SN-Brussels Airlines from Atlanta, USA, to land directly at the court building along Siaka Stevens Street in Freetown. Truly, I prefer landing at the court building not only because of the urge I have to witness the matter in court but to also avoid that dilapidated, unsecured and stinking Lungi International Airport. I also hate making the second sight of those former rebels as security officers at our international airport having buttons of the President pinned to their uniforms like communist China.

It was a real urging moment when a colleague journalist hooked up with me on the net and briefly gave me the picture of the scene in and around the court on that day.  The reason was that I am very much aware of the difficulty involved in getting the APC and SLPP women together to fight a common cause. It straight away occurred to me that there is an emergence of a powerful woman that has the capability to put the women of Sierra Leone together to fight for their dignity.

If women of the two major parties could come together to fight the unnecessary court intimidation initiated by one single man designated as Press Secretary to President Ernest Bai Koroma, I am very much obliged to ask: "How Dr. Sylvia Blyden is doing?". That is more so when I know it is the same court that has been delaying my case until God delivered justice to Alimamy Kamara (the Presidentís photographer that stabbed me). ¬†

I remembered when women were raped at the SLPP headquarters in Freetown last year, the APC women deliberately refused to stand by their colleague women to fight the menace of rape that has been imbedded in most of the security personnel that are surrounding our dear President, Ernest Bai Koroma. I had the conviction at that time that the APC and SLPP women will put their political differences aside and add power to their womanhood and make the brightest example so as to end rape in the country. That did not happen at all and instead some women of the APC denied the incidence and publicly said that their colleague women were lying to the nation.

Yes, some women organizations did made some kind of noise in the form of press releases condemning the act of violence on women in the SLPP building but failed to mention the rape incident. Truly that did not surprise me because I knew at that time that the APC as a party had become perturbed by the presence of the SLPP Unity Radio and the strides it was making to remove them from power. I knew the APC as a whole felt threatened because of the massive impact the Unity Radio had made at that time. The SLPP regrouped themselves and put all their proficiency into that radio and started to professionally expose the lapses of the APC. The radio became the peopleís breakfast and that seriously disturbed the ruling APC. That was the actual reason for the APC women to refuse supporting the women at the SLPP headquarters. Well, if that reason is justified; I want to leave it to my valuable readers to honestly have their opinion.

The reason for me to mention that particular incident is to clearly illustrate the kind of energy that is vested into one single young ladyÖ. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden. This young and only female publisher in the country is able and has the potentials to mobilize APC and SLPP women under one flag and push it forward in real solidarity. That is worth commending! This is the kind of action Sierra Leone has been losing since the end of the war.

Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden: An Enigma of a Sierra Leone Lady

The potentials of Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden should not be put into freezers for the Bumbuna electricity power to make it frozen but instead start to exploit that potential and put it into a very good use. She might electrify women to do what they are supposed to do for them to be able to sit in the front of political and administrative power in the country. It is time for the women of Sierra Leone to start rallying around themselves and identify amongst them women that have the power and potential to challenge the men. Sylvia has become a typical example of this type of move and I believe she can be a starting point.

It is due for Sierra Leonean women to tell the men that they can stand face to face with them and say this cannot be done here and it stands. It is very much immaculate to see Sylvia Blyden standing face to face with a short myopic Press Officer and tell him that this canít be done here in Sierra Leone and it is working. I canít help but have huge admiration for the way Sylvia Blyden has comported herself to say: "No! Mr. Press Officer to the President, you have not got what it takes to humiliate any woman in Sierra Leone not talking about a woman of my caliber".¬†

Women of Sierra Leone must now start to scatter into the political and administrative system of the country with the motive of taking over the driving seat. It is a long time women have been serving as secret agents and sometimes double secret agents for men in Sierra Leone. They must use that classic experience to kick out the men from these top positions that have been long time misused. I will not hesitate in any form to say that I will be one of the men that will give all that I have to support a woman president in my mother Sierra Leone. 

In fact Sierra Leone is being referred to as a woman and therefore a woman should or must sit in that top most sit in the country. Some critics may say that it is a little bit not ripe for Sierra Leone to have a female president; but I will deny and ask which time is rife when Sierra Leone is becoming fifty (50) years old just in 2011. I am of the conviction that if women of that country start to rally themselves now, they will obviously takeover the mantle of Presidency in Sierra Leone. It is for that reason I am asking the question "HOW ARE YOU DR. SYLVIA BLYDEN?"

EDITOR'S NOTE: The author of this piece, Sitta Umaru Turay, is one of Sierra Leone's senior journalists currently on sabbatical in the United States of America. He left Sierra Leone less than two months ago to meet with his business partners in America.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.