From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Personal Reflections: Today is My 39th Birthday!
By Sylvia Olayinka Blyden (in London)
Oct 1, 2010, 17:30

Today is my 39th Birthday which means I was born on October 1st 1971. I ask my readers to allow me as I indulge in some personal reflections on this day. On this day next year (October 1st 2011), if I am still alive by the Grace of God, I will turn 40 years and become formally eligible to contest for the highest seat in the land, the Presidency of the Republic of Sierra Leone. However, before my dear Uncle, I.B. Kargbo starts tearing his hair in despair at me and manufacturing more ‘Government Intelligence’ against me, let me speedily re-assure all concerned that I am not going to be running for the Presidency of Sierra Leone anytime soon and certainly not in the year 2012.

I am not even running for Vice-President so all those jittery SLPP/APC members manufacturing stories of me eyeing the Running-Mate position can also rest their worries. I am not running for anything in 2012; not even in the year 2017 so my dear brother Alhaji Sam-Sumana and all other possible Year 2017 contenders from SLPP, APC, PMDC, etc. etc. can also heave a big sigh of relief. I will merely be a commentator in both 2012 and 2017...


Of course, I am working towards leading Sierra Leone one fine day but not anytime soon. Somehow, I just know I will be President one day. I grew up being told by many knowledgeable people that I was born to be great. One reason is because 39 years ago whilst I was being born, my maternal grandfather, Solomon Pratt, as one of Africa’s sitting members of the United Nations Security Council in 1971, was beating America’s Ambassador George Bush (later President Bush) hands-down in an intense U.N. Debate over China’s place in United Nations.


When Grandpa, as Sierra Leone’s then Foreign Minister, left the U.N. Hall in October 1971 and he was given the telegram news that he now had a second grand-daughter, he speedily wrote down the following words on a telegram he dispatched down to Freetown: THIS MY GRANDCHILD IS BORN TO BE GREAT; SHE WAS BORN AS I SUCCESSFULLY ADDRESSED THE UNITED NATIONS.

As a result of that telegram from New York, the traditionalists in the Creole Community decided I was to be named ‘Olayinka’ which means I am a child of honour who will continue to be honoured in this world... My darling mum kept that telegram from her father for many, many years in my Baby’s scrap album until the ravages of war took over Freetown and our Juba Estate residence was ransacked and ravaged in 1998.

I share my birthday with Nigeria which is 50 years old today. Congratulations to all my wonderful Nigerian friends in Freetown and around the world! Nigerians are a great people! I had such a close affinity to Nigerians during my days in self-exile in America that on the day it was found out I was born on October 1st, my Nigerian friends were just too ecstatic and threw a huge birthday bash for me at Lincoln House in Washington DC (the then NADECO Resistance Headquarters). Those were the days! (SMILE)


People’s Republic of China also celebrates their National Day today. As a kid, I once accompanied my Grand-father on my birthday to a Reception at the Chinese Embassy in Freetown. Following the event, I asked him whether China decided to choose October 1st as their National Day because that was the day he beat America’s George Bush hands-down at the debate which let China take its rightful place at the United Nations to which my grandpa chuckled and said on the contrary, the Chinese had already chosen their National Day several years earlier in 1949 and what he had done on October 1st was to bring the issue of China to the fore in his Speech and the great debate itself followed the October 1st intervention.


Anyway, I share my birthday with two great Nations, Nigeria and China and my grandfather thinks I was born to be great. I also look back at my 39 years on this earth and realise I have so much to be grateful to the Almighty for so much so that it is difficult for me not to believe those who flatter me by telling me my Grandfather is right and I was indeed born, 39 years ago, to be Great!

I started off by saying next year I will be eligible to seek the Presidency as I will be 40 years old. However, the way I see things, the voting mass in Sierra Leone do not have their priorities rightly attuned and need to be taught well how to determine the best person they should cast their vote for. This is where my team is going to play its part very strongly in the Presidential and General Elections of 2012 and 2017 as Civic Activists and Political Commentators and Opinion-Makers. Not as Contestants!

Already, I have found out how to reach out to the Voters most effectively. I have realised that 90% of our Voting populace are illiterate and/or semi-literate so I communicate with headlines and languages that they can relate to. Instead of writing University language about how ‘Corrupt Acquisition of Wealth’ leads to ‘Macro-Economic Disparities’ and ‘Laggard Financial Indices’ that cause 'Inadequate Dissemination of Vital Social Services', I tell my people to beware of ‘OJUKOKOROS’ AND ‘SANTIBOKIATS’ who ‘EAT ALL THE MONEY’ and ‘LEAVE NOTHING TO DEVELOP SCHOOLS & HOSPITALS’. It resonates well which is why Awareness Times is popular at all levels! For now, resonating my message for the voting masses is my focus.

So, to end this personal reflection, I do have a lot to give thanks for in this world so much so that even if I never attain my dream of being President of Sierra Leone, I have surely made an impact for the good in our beloved land despite what my nefarious-allegations-manufacturing detractors might say and what those who have faced the caustic side of my pen might feel about me.


To all my Loyal Readers of Awareness Times at home and abroad and to all my friends, family and my loyal fans especially those back home in Sweet Sierra Leone, please join me in giving thanks to the Almighty for the 39 wonderful years he has given me on this earth! I look forward to enjoying another 39 years more with you all! Thanks for reading this far as I indulged myself in these personal reflections.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.