When, about two years to the 2012 elections, I coined the phrase “Koromaism” to encapsulate President Ernest Bai Koroma’s “Agenda for Change” and referred, and still refer, to those who believe in the President’s policies as “Koromaists”, many pro-SLPP journalists were up in arms and did try to mock the concept of Koromaism at every opportunity.
MOHAMED SANKOH ( ONE DROP )
Even some of those who later joined me in the course of the President’s cause, midway to the 2012 November polls, were trenchant anti-Koromaists and found every occasion to make mockery of that concept. Surprisingly, the first publisher to shoot the first acidic salvo was Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden (though we are now buddies, but historical documents are not things that got rotten easily, so they will keep popping up occasionally) in her Awareness Times newspaper of “Thursday 17th February 2011—Vol. 31 No. 36”. In a front-pager of that publication under review with my photo (captioning it: “Mohamed ‘One Drop’ Sankoh: Chief Practitioner of ‘Koromaism’) and that of President Koroma’s pasted with the accompanying article, she headlined a stinging commentary thus: “What’s the Color of the APC Leader’s Underwear?” And she went on with her then diatribe: “…Koromaism includes the art of discussing the colour of underwear that male Sierra Leonean politicians wear; all such gutter materials published in a bid to promote President Koroma’s supposed successes. This is what Koromaism represents so far: The production of FILTH. Pathetic!”
That was Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden before she was struck by lightening on her way to Damascus (in both figurative and biblical terms) and later saw “the light”. And to her credit, after seeing what I had seen before coining the phrase “Koromaism”, she became one of the committed apostles of Koromaism. In fact, she is now more Catholic than the Pope—in figurative terms.
After Dr Blyden’s bombardment of Koromaism came George S. Khoryama’s. In his “The Joint” column of Tuesday 22nd February, 2011 in the Global Times newspaper of Vol.4 No. 452; he took Dr Blyden’s cue thus: “… And he [Mohamed ‘One Drop’ Sankoh] talks about Koromaism which philosophy is nothing but a patriotic froth that has no meaning but a political chicanery at its best…and yet Sankoh talks about Koromaism.” And like Dr Blyden’s “What’s the Color of the APC Leader’s Underwear?”, my photograph was again pasted with that anti-Koromaist article to tell his readers that I was and still is the coiner (pardon me, ar nor know bok lek dem SLPP pipul dem nar him make ar dae struggle so with word) of Koromaism. And Uncle Khoryama went at length to heap diatribes on my person for the unspeakable crime of being a committed Koromaist!
Apart from those two journalists, the bag carrier of the comical and failed leader of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), Raymond Bamidele Thompson sometime early this year in an article in the once-in-a-blue-moon Positive Change newspaper, attacked me thus: “Mohamed Sankoh is one of those who will jump if President Koroma tells them to do so…and Sankoh will jump higher…” He went further to note that I’m so loyal to the President that I always didn’t see his faults. Though he thought that comment was very biting; I took it as a compliment of my commitment to Koromaism.
And a million-and-one writers also attacked me several times for being a committed Koromaist. Many thought I was propagating the policies of President Koroma for material gains—one such writer was and still is Uncle George Khoryama. Other writers were Sheik Barwoh, whose children call me “Uncle”, and Dr Blyden who wrote about my jalopy Toyota Camry as one of the benefits of “Koromaism”. The grandpa-father figure called Dr Sama Banya (I deliberately used that phrase because I attended the Prince of Wales with two of his sons and he is now the same age of my grandma) always found an opportunity to join the anti-Koromaism fray. Even the modern day proselyte, Saryoh Kamara who later unsuccessfully went for the All People’s Congress’s (APC) Symbol for a parliamentary seat in Koinadugu District, made several inferences in the Awareness Times newspaper of 10th September 2010 that “Koromaism” is nothing but a “Vuvuzela”. And there was one Ahn Moss who wrote an article in theConcord Times of March 18th, 2011 (Vol.19 No.375) in which I was pilloried for my commitment to President Koroma’s cause. Later, Lans Gberie and Kef Dukulay gave the anti-Koromaists some sort of back-up while Dr Kelfela Kallon was doing their mopping-up. But, in the midst and mist of all those salvos and distractions, I was unruffled and stayed the cause (to quote former American President George H. Bush). And after incessant threats, from SLPP supremacists and tribalists, of me being dealt with if Madder Bio should win the Presidential election; I was unshakable in my doggedness that President Ernest Bai Koroma was and still is one of the best things that had and still have ever happened or happening to and in Sierra Leone. In short, I was as constant, and I will add ‘consistent’ to that English idiom, as “the Northern Star”. Indeed, ideologues do not play butterflies—going from one nectar to another—they always remain unwavering no matter the circumstances or their circumstances!
Now looking back, to those days when I was the only journalist in Sierra Leone who had the audacity of conceptualising President Koroma’s polices as Koromaism; I’m very proud that I had been right all along and that I was never on the wrong side of history. Even in the midst and mist of mockery from colleagues (Dr Sylvia Blyden once described me as an “educated idiot” when she was countering my article on President Koroma having generosity as part of his DNA—the Awareness Times of Thursday 17th March 2011, Vol.32 No.11), I never once wavered in my trust and belief in President Koroma’s policies. Each time any of my colleagues cranked up their stupid talk about my championing the President’s cause would cloud the mythical journalistic objectivity; I always told them that in Great Britain there were, and still are, Tory-leaning journalists and newspapers and Labour-leaning journalists and newspapers—which also holds true for those in the United States of America. It was never a question of money or wealth acquisition; it was and still is a matter of believing in the ability of a Shepherd shepherding his flock to the right direction.
I had, and still have, this stubborn hope that Sierra Leone’s future was and still is pegged with President Koroma’s second term. You could call me an ideological idiot (wow, what an oxymoron), if you like, but my belief in the President’s ability to govern this country was the driving force that precipitated my prolific-ness in churning out incessant ‘One Drops’ throughout the course of this year’s elections’ period. It was like putting all my energy where my belief was.
When I sat down to coin that phrase, Koromaism, what I had in mind was to create a word and foist it on Sierra Leone’s political lexicon of how the legacy of President Ernest Bai Koroma should be defined. In summary, I was thinking of the context in which the Koroma Years in Sierra Leone should be discussed. So, ten years from now, when students of Political Science would be discussing the concept of Koromaism, they will be looking at Infrastructure, Health, Agriculture, Education and Energy.
And trust me, being a committed Koromaist, if the presidential candidate of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Julius Madder Bio, had won the November polls; I would have gone on voluntary exile. That was my Plan B—not Charles Francis Margai’s!