OCTOBER 14, 2014 By Rugiatu Karimu
When someone attains a certain position in life, several allusions and messages in relation to the individual’s capacity, credibility and the likelihood for him or her meeting the performance demands of the said position are discussed or put under the spotlight. This was exactly the situation when Sylvia Olayinka Blyden was appointed to the position of Special Executive Assistant (SEA) to President Ernest Bai Koroma. As rightly stated in her resignation letter, it was a unique position created for her to be an important aide to the president and to further showcase her relevance in government with meaningful and productive contributions on key governance issues. But Alas! Sylvia Blyden in her usual callousness failed to measure up to the expectations of the position as SEA. She messed up such a unique position and opportunity with a sensation of embarrassing controversies to the presidency.
The position of SEA was viewed by many to be very strategic in government and as I type this piece, thinking minds would want to know the reasons that precipitated the resignation of the SEA and whether she had been able to live up to expectations. When Sylvia Blyden assumed the position of SEA in 2013, many believed that she will be of help to the administration particularly in supporting the government in rolling out the Agenda for Prosperity. It is no longer newsy that Sylvia Blyden was engrossed in unnecessary confrontations with both public and government officials and her usual undermining snitch tendencies. She has an itch to poke her nose into people’s affairs with an extension of such attitudes to her colleagues at State House. “The girl too get bet-bet en sweh.” This annoying attitude of hers, sources say, has made the SEA to have a very sour relationship with almost every official at State House. But I keep pondering why did such an individual assume such a position? A question asked by many. Many believed that being a close aide to the president, you are expected to possess and portray certain traits and abilities that are germane to decency in character, supportive to government policies and efforts and flair to demonstrate diplomacy at all levels when the situation demands.
Putting the tenure of Sylvia Blyden’s short-lived stay at State House under the microscope, it is almost always inevitable not to talk about her antics and the series of embarrassments she caused for the presidency. Amid the several mortifications she had caused the government, it is widely believed that the president had lost confidence in her, which to a larger extent may have forced her to resign because it effectively left her both in the cold and with no choice other than facing the sack. A good number of Sierra Leoneans thought when she was appointed that she will be of relevance and be a team player to achieve the desired results, although many more were exasperated about her blackmailing tendencies. She messed all of that up. Yes! She messed up. It could have been a golden opportunity for her to create a platform of importance but her inactions of late particularly in the Ebola outbreak, which has clearly exposed her opposition to not only government efforts toward the outbreak but to several government decisions and positions.
She opposed the government decision to lockdown the country for three days; an exercise believed to be a huge success to the government and the fight against the spread of the virus. She also in typical fashion opposed the quarantining of Kailahun and Kenema. She also vehemently opposed the 7:00am to 7:00pm ban on Okada riders. All of these measures painstakingly crafted and meticulously implemented by government have turned out to be very successful much to the shame of this Jezebel.
The million dollar question that preoccupied most people was how can somebody working very close to the president be making such counterproductive statements that are largely believed to be undermining the very government she was working for? Even when she resigned she continues to attack decisions taken by President Koroma like questioning the composition of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), as if it’s the president who unilaterally established the EOC. This is food for thought. A friend of mine once described her as a snake and that government must be very careful of her snake-like attitude. Snake indeed! She has failed in her appointment and it is obvious that she is bitter; hence has resorted to personal attacks on the President’s Personal Assistant, Brian Gilpin.
The SEA loves to be around the corridors of power but her abysmal performance has just relegated her to nothing. She will definitely miss the pomp and pageantry and niceties around the presidency.
This piece will not be complete if I fail to mention the metamorphosis of Blyden to the ruling All People’s Congress. Her rantings and antics against the APC are still fresh and awake in the minds of many Sierra Leoneans as that made them to be skeptical about her purported genetical claim or affiliation to the APC. She posed a vehement opposition to the party and the president before and after the 2007 elections. This was why her appointment generated mixed feelings of her loyalty just like her paternal grandfather who was a snitch in the APC under President Siaka Stevens. More to come.