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READING ME WRONGLY

By: Winstanley.R.Bankole. Johnson

Many were quite astonished (and considered it very unlike me) that I offered a pint-a to someone who barely ten minutes earlier had branded me a “bastar-pikin” (bastard) following our mild argument which left him irate. But the guy was spot on, because it was actually until one month after my arrival – the third child and first born son in our family – that my parents were married. The beer offer therefore was not to pacify him, but complimentary for his hindsight into my genealogy because he was at least ten years my junior age-wise. So how did he know??

I love “Whatsapp” because from its usage I have to a reasonable extent become grounded in many wise sayings; two of which read thus-:
1. Tragedy is a comedy misunderstood
2. Our character and temperament are defined according to the way we react to crisis or anger.

Unfazed
Last week two of my close acquaintances drew my attention to a rejoinder in the “Democrat” newspaper to my recent article on Prof. Ekundayo Thompson, Principal and Vice Chancellor of Fourah Bay College in the University of Sierra Leone. “I see you have been dealt with in The Democrat”; one said. The other being apprehensive of my reaction said: “I see you have been bad-mouthed in one of the papers i.e. Ekundayo + Bankole”

Quite honestly I am unfazed by such comments for three key reasons (1) They do not add value; (neither now, nor in the past) and to feel otherwise would be counterproductive of my original intentions to have started writing over ten years ago. (2) It is much easier to destroy than to build; and the author(s) of that rejoinder would have had no leg to stand on if it wasn’t for my originality in crafting the Ekundayo Thompson article in the first place (3) By his/their rejoinder, the public was further better entertained and educated, and even left spoilt for a choice to make their own much informed judgments from an alternative perspective in addressing the same topic.
In other words by that rejoinder for which I am thankful, (but which I still haven’t read so as not to distort my focus), the purposes and advantages of education were served, and I feel gratified to have contributed to that. And if you happen to be reading this from the “Democrat” newspaper (finally), then I couldn’t possible have been “dealt with” after all.

Opinions
In writing on the crisis at the FBC I made cross references to Prof. Ibrahim Abdullah in my article on Prof. Thompson (not in any pejorative sense of course), and was frank enough to have clearly stated that and I quote: “As far as I’m concerned, no nexus exists between both developments albeit they occurred within the same campus” – unquote.

But before anyone unsheathes his or her sword, I must clarify here and now that before writing on Prof Thompson, I had had neither prior discussions with him on the matter, nor his authority to do so. Nor have I had prior discussions with Prof. Abdullah, or authority from him to write this piece either. What I am writing or have written on reflect my genuinely honest and purely personal opinions on matters of public interest impacting the two erudite individuals I have come to know now for over twenty-one (21) and over fifty (50) years respectively.

Aggrieved
If I have any issue on the matter of Prof. Abdullah it will have to be with the manner of his exit from the university teaching staff which, for whatever justification would appear to have been precipitous. Whether or not the public is aware of the facts or gravity of the allegation(s) against him is not important. They remain what they are – allegations – until proven otherwise after following due processes of law because he deserved a right of defense, in addition to even being allowed legal representation at university Court hearings if he had so desired. But that we are told, did not happen, which was a not only a breach of his fundamental rights, but also contrary to the spirit of the university’s terms and conditions for tenured staff members, thus opening the family man to much public sympathy. The Professor feels very much aggrieved for that – and rightly so – and is threatening legal action.I can only wish him the best of luck in trying to right one of the many wrongs in our society. He is in my prayers.

DISCRETION IS BETTER PART OF VALOUR!!

Until I “Googled” it recently, I had always thought the above caption was from Shakespeare’s King Richard 11 play – the only Shakespearean literature I read at the Grammar School. It is actually from Shakespeare’s Henry 1V.

In the play narrative, we are told that when Prince Hal finds the cowardly Falstaff pretending to be dead on the battlefield, the Prince wrongly assumed him dead and so walked away. After the Prince leaves the stage, Falstaff rationalizes that by his pretence he had saved his own life. The common inference of that phrase is that caution (discretion) is far better than rash courage (valour), which can sometimes lead to self-destruction.

Gripe
There was this case in London in the nineties (I think), in which a long serving Metropolitan Police officer and putative successor to a retiring Chief Metropolitan Constable Police was overstepped, and the position given to another person who was certainly not as senior and as experienced as him. He felt so badly about that, that he spent days articulating his gripe in the print and electronic media, just like some of us are wont to do each time we have issues with the establishment – a sort of trying to access justice by the media.
A BBC TV outlet anchored the aggrieved officer on one such programme one evening for at least fifteen minutes. The Officer’s gripe as far as he was concerned was that he was being overstepped for the top Met job because he was not a Freemason – and he did not hide his angst about that; condemning the craft whilst additionally threatening never to join it, but rather, was determined to take his case to the highest authority in the realm in order to access justice and possibly have the job at all cost.

The closing discussions between the TV anchor and the aggrieved senior Met Officer went like this:
TV Anchor-: “So what do you intend to do after here if you’re not given the top post?”:

Aggrieved Officer-: “Oh! I’m prepared to take it to the highest authority in the realm to put an end to Corruption in the Metropolitan force once and for all”
TV Anchor-: Well, thank you very much and we wish you all the best Sir.
TV Anchor-:“Well listeners and viewers as you’ve heard that was Officer (Name) threatening to take his case to the highest authority in this realm for being overlooked for promotion. For your information the highest authority in Freemasonry and Most Worshipful Grandmaster in the UK is HRHPrince Edward the Duke of Kent KG; GCMG; GCVO; ADC.

Case closed!! The poor man not only lost the job, but was never regularly employed since.

Here in Sierra Leone there are loads of cases of much public interest awaiting adjudication and crying for justice in our Courts, and the outcomes of just a few of which will encourage me to resurrect my own cases as follows:
– CC 252/08 – B No.20: Re: Bankole Johnson Vs 25 FCC Councilors seeking damages for libel and a perpetual injunction against continued defamation
– CC 38/09 – J No. 4 Re: Bankole Johnson Vs FCC – Suing for Le36.9m overdue payment from FCC being salaries and allowances due me as Mayor between January and August 2008

In the course of time, realizing that discretionis “better part of valour”, and realizing also that no Judge was showing interest to dispense justice in either matter, I discontinued both litigations but craftily pursued negotiations on the latter for which part was paid, with balances in excess of Le17million (without interest) still outstanding and owing me. And I have been crying for its settlement since 2008.The day I hear that anyone with a case against government in this country wins it, is the day I will replace my own lawyers with successful legal Counsel that won that case. But until then and for me particularly, discretion will continue to be the better part of valour.In this world, there anything likes “fairness”.

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