Sylvia Olayinka Blyden's response to yesterday's post on Voices of Sierra Leone (VOSL)
Sylvia Olayinka Blyden is the new executive assistant to President Ernest Bai Koroma and currently part of the delegation invited to the USA by the White House.
Following the unfortunate VOSL-sanctioned trash recently posted here, I had decided not to take part in here anymore but given the credibility which Zee Clarkson has built for herself on FACEBOOK, it is essential for me to speedily debunk her NONSENSE posted today as she is not the regular faceless idiot writing any kind of slush. Zee is seen as a credible writer which makes her nonsense all the more disgraceful to her reputation. So, I am going to take some time to dispel the utter malicious nonsense she has posted on Facebook today; all in the hope that she will do the right thing. And by the right thing, I mean retract her total nonsense and apologise.
First of all, as one of the very few, highly trusted confidants of my boss, His Excellency the President, I can today confirm that President Koroma was formally invited to the White House since early February 2013 (even before President Obama sent a presidential delegation to the Feb 22nd Inauguration). Back in February, our President was requested through the US Ambassador Owen to kindly make his diary schedule to fit into the date chosen after his assent had been acquired for the meeting. President Obama respects his African colleagues too much to simply make an announcement of a date. There was a lot of discussions behind the scenes to ensure all the five leaders arranged their diaries to fit into one date that would work for all five of them; eventually, March 28th was chosen as the date which was fine for all the five leaders. People should realise that what might seem like a spontaneous announcement, takes many weeks of careful planning.
Naturally, after a fixed date was chosen, all the four leaders were asked to keep sealed lips until the announcement was made by the White House. This was for obvious reasons. We faithfully did so and allowed the White House to make the announcement. You all will recall how I ‘sensitised’ you all the night before the announcement with the luncheon video reminder? (SMILE). I knew the White House was making the announcement the next day and as I used the chance to sensitise and prepare the public for the big announcement. (SMILE). It made my day when “Mad Moose” Samura Abdulai fell into my trap and said White House should first invite Koroma before we talk of the luncheon video. I simply asked him to stay tuned…
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Immediately the formal announcement was made, official arrangements commenced between White House in America and State House in Freetown as to the logistics of the trip. Right up front, we were informed that a total of eight people will be accompanying EACH OF THE INVITED LEADERS as follows: FOUR delegates will accompany the leader to meet President Obama inside the Oval Office before the meeting commenced inside the Cabinet Room. Two delegates will seat right inside the back of the Cabinet Room as Support back-up staff with documents and other essential information that might be needed during the discussions. The seventh delegate will be a professional photographer and the last one will be the Close Protection Bodyguard who will stay outside with the Secret Service officials.
It was decided during discussions that the Ambassador of Sierra Leone to the United States of America, Bockari Stevens should accompany the President into the Oval Office alongside three essential ministers whilst Sylvia Blyden (Special Executive Assistant) and Brian Gilpin (Personal Assistant) will be the Supporting Delegates inside the White House Cabinet Room. A professional State House Photographer flew as part of the delegation and took the photographs both inside the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room.
So, the Sierra Leone Presidential delegation as endorsed and cleared by the White House which went to the White House today are as follows:
H.E. PRESIDENT KOROMA
FINANCE MINISTER KAIFALA MARAH
FOREIGN MINISTER SAMURA KAMARA
INFORMATION MINISTER ALPHA KANU
AMBASSADOR BOCKARI STEVENS
SPECIAL EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT SYLVIA BLYDEN
PERSONAL ASSISTANT BRIAN GILPIN.
PHOTOGRAPHER MR. IBRAHIM TARAWALIE
CLOSE PROTECTION GUARD MR. ALIM.
As is expected by any right-thinking person, no one will go near President Obama and take a photograph with him inside his Oval Office without his stated desire for that to happen. Secondly, no-one can enter the White House offices of Obama if they were not registered in advance into the White House WAVE (Workers & Visitors Entry) system and pass through all the clearance needed. Thus, all the above persons were pre-cleared and pre-approved to walk into Obama’s private suites today. The BG, Alim, stayed outside with the Secret Service officers.
Bottom-line, Zee Clarkson’s post that Obama only wanted Health Minister Miatta Kargbo and Finance Minister Kaifala Marah, was malicious, unwarranted and without an iota of truth in it. There is no way the Obama administration will state the names of who should accompany the President to White House. Hon. Miatta Kargbo is an eloquent and very capable female minister whom, alongside my humble self, has been taking part in side meetings at the State Department and she also accompanied the President to the meeting with the Head of the PMI (America’s Malaria Initiative) yesterday just as I accompanied the President to his meeting with Madam Christine Lagarde, the Head of the IMF today (more info with photos on that fantastic IMF meeting later) but the fact remains that Miatta had absolutely no role at White House today given the request for “only four delegates” to accompany each of the invited African Leaders. The Finance and Foreign Ministers were essential to the discussions and the Information Minister/Government Spokesman was also of essence. Maybe, if there had been a request for five delegates to enter the Oval Office, Miatta *might* have been considered to enter the Oval Office with the President but the truth is that only four persons were requested to accompany President Koroma. The choice of who the four were, was the sole discretion of President Koroma and NO ONE ELSE; not even Barack Obama.
I have been closely involved in this visit from Day One and I am speaking here with authority. Relevant photos taken today have accompanied this posting of mine. They speak for themselves.
I hope Zee apologises for this nonsense she has caused me to take time off to clarify. What a disappointment she was to me today. I am saddened to see her stoop so low. GOODNIGHT ALL!