There is this rather famous story in the Christian Bible, about a son who one day asked his father for his own share of his father’s wealth so that he can go out and see the world and in the process make his own fortune, well away from his father’s influence. As things turned out, he fell on bad company and spent all the money his father gave him and became so poor and destitute that he started eating off the feed given to animals.
One day however, he realized that his status in life must not be allowed to go down so low and that slaves kept by his father lived a better life than him. On that realization, he decided that he would go home and beg forgiveness from his father, asking him to take him back.
That in summary is the first part of the story of the prodigal son. Many a time, we are admonished that the moral of that story is based on ignorance, temptation and the mistaken observation that the grass is greener on the other side, thus leading people to make the wrong decisions, the wrong choices and inevitably leading to their being misguided and misdirected.
Politics has been a reason over time for misguided and misdirected persons to make bad or wrong choices. For some, a desire to hold on to a personal conviction sometimes result in the propensity to be blinded to the outer realities of life. Under the present dispensation, it is easy to identify how someone may make a wrong choice or a misguided decision. There are those who by now belong to a political party that they may have no direct appreciation of its policies other than the bounding concept of being born a supporter and that is purely on the basis that their parents supported a particular party so that makes their offspring a supporter as well, from birth. When politics is reduced to that level, then you know that political leaders have an uphill battle to reach such voters in order to convince them to follow their ideology, even when that would result in the targets securing a better standard of living and a better way of life.
The politics in Sierra Leone has reached such a situation as that faced in the first instance by the prodigal son in that oft quoted bible story. To stretch the circumstances slightly, what is not told in that story is the fact that the son, saw his father as a controlling influence and may have considered in his own mind that he may yet carve out a niche for himself if he was allowed to go out on his own to try the world as it were. What is also not trumpeted was the fact that the son never left home out of malice but went with his father’s blessings. He was not only given what was felt necessary for him to exist out there in the wide world but he also had the support of his father and the tacit agreement that should things go wrong, he will be accepted back home.
Surely, he must have considered that, his father may have considered that possibility, even as his son was leasing home. So it is with those who have failed to treat the APC Party over the years as theirs, wholly and solely and in their daily endeavors may have portrayed an image contrary to that of being a truly committed APC supporter. in a world where men are not perfect, it is incumbent on all to have some due consideration for such people. For them, the APC Party will act like the father in the story of the Prodigal Son, who has to let his child leave home knowing full well that one day, he may have the need to come back and whenever that happens, he would be received with open arms. The second part of that story is the actual return of the Prodigal Son. When his father saw him some distance away, he recognized him as his son and quickly called his servants to go bring him home, wash him and give him the best clothes and treat him according to his status. The father threw for him a party to the amazement of his older brother who had spent all this time helping his father to rebuild his wealth.
The elder brother was rightly admonished by the father when he attempted to remonstrate his father for accepting the younger brother, whom he considered to be a wastrel and a plunderer of his father’s wealth. The father drew the attention to the elder brother that the return of the younger makes no difference to his inheritance. The fruits of his own labor would not be diminished by that return and neither will he suffer any loss but rather, he should rejoice for the gain of a brother and for the father, the joy of regaining his son was immeasurable. This story resonates well with what is happening now in the politics of Sierra Leone and to be a bit more precise, to that of the APC and one of its errant prodigal. This is a man whose house where he grew up was the location of the APC office at Wilkinson Road on the Zizer Estate. Here is a man whose pedigree as a Creole in Freetown is unchallenged, his grandfather, as was eruditely pointed out recently by one of our luminous Creole patriarch Hon. J E Leverse, was a Master Baker at Kroo Town Road with an established network around Maroon Town and a prominent family with strong Christian traditions rooted within the West African Methodist Church at the Samaria Society.
This is also a Creole whose family have the most indelible of links to the APC Party, and those who followed his weekly letters from Freetown will attest to the fact that Winston Ojukutu-Macauley would repeatedly indicate that his Mother laments his continuous diatribe against the APC Party. He is a man of letters, with a good education and an erudite public speaker. He has had enormous experience in the international arena not only as a journalist but also as an accomplished consultant, taking on assignments in places such as Rwanda, Ghana and beyond. His experience and exposure will stand him in good stead in politics and as such, there is no hesitation in welcoming him with open arms, back to the fold and officially, uncompromisingly and relentlessly alongside Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma as we all strive to build this nation. He has also spoken of then high regard he has of the APC Chairman and Leader so it is no surprise that when the time came for him to make his decision on where to publicly stake his future, it has to be at the Party that his family and friends would have no approbation.
Winston Ojukutu-Macauley will very soon make a formal and public announcement that he will solidly support the APC party in the forthcoming elections and beyond, not only as a registered member of the party but also seriously willing to serve this Country in any capacity that the Party would accord him that opportunity so to do. As a journalist, Winston Ojukutu-Macauley will be the first one to tell you that his journalistic fervor dictates that he undertook his profession to the best of his conviction. His criticism of the party and Government in the past is easily explained as a voice of conscience and a voice of the voiceless people, as he would express sentiments that many others may share but may not have the forum to express. All in all, if changes are made on account of his criticisms or observations, he may well have contributed to the process of enhancing the lives of the people of this our great Nation.
No doubt, a journalist of his standing may well have built up a reputation and swayed enormous political influence. That this Country progresses under a listening and empathetic President such as Ernest Bai Koroma augurs well for our democracy. As the understanding father that he is, it is incumbent on President Koroma to extend an open arm of welcome to Winston Ojukutu-Macauley, a prodigal son of the APC Party. His return is a sure sign of the depth of conviction and a clear support for the leadership of Ernest Bai Koroma from someone who may well have been his most upfront of friend and adversary. In the event, we must nor detract from the fact that for this journey back to have even been contemplated, it must have been clear to Winston Ojukutu-Macauley that there is no place like the political home from where he originated, the Party of his forebears, a progressive party with an astute and credible leadership and without any prevarication, the only party that guarantees development and Progress for Sierra Leone.
For my part, I welcome you, Winston Ojukutu-Macauley, APC Prodigal!