Let me say at the outset, this story is fictional. However, if you find similar names, persons, places and events, it should be treated as purely coincidental, and must be considered as such. Spellings of the following names are not errors: People’s Revolutionary Commission (PRC), Republic of Liberty, Monravia, Monsardo, Greenville, University of Liberty, and Liberterian.
Prior to the People’s Revolutionary Commission (PRC), Joseph Jenkins, Edward James, Stephen Allen, and James Springs were all honorable men in the Republic of Liberty. They were wheeler-dealers! Joseph
Jenkins taught History and International Studies as an adjunct professor at the University of Liberty (UL). Actually, he was Liberia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom; and he had gone home for reassignment when the PRC overthrew the TWP government. Edward James was the Minister of Defense; Stephen Allen was Senior Senator for Monsardo County’s District 1, and James Springs was Speaker of the House of Representatives from Lexington, Greenville County. He had been Speaker of the House for what Liberterians referred to as “19 Woo, Woo;” that is, they couldn’t remember the number of years he had served as Speaker.
These honorable gentlemen never expected to be in the position of not being in charge and not running the country. They were caught with their pants down, so to speak! They were NOT prepared, and never thought these NCOs (Non Commissioned Officers) would ever do ‘such evil thing’ like this to them. As a result, many of them found their way to the United States of America hoping their stay in the US would be brief because Uncle Sam would intervene on their behalf as he had in the land palava that took place between the indigenous population and the Settlers in the Battle of Fort Hill (the Gatoomba) War of 1822 and the 1915 War.
Due to the belief these honorable gentlemen held that the change which took place at home was temporary, they weren’t frugal in their spending habits and living standard in the US. They lived as if they were back in Liberia. But after two years in exile, things became tough for them and they had to seek employment. The problem was the only work experience they had was their employment with the government the Republic of Liberty.
They had no other profession or skill; and they possessed several expensive automobiles but did not know how to drive. They depended on their personal chauffeurs to take them everywhere including visiting their girlfriends overnight. That’s how dependent these honorable men were on others!
Since Joseph Jenkins had taught History and International Studies as adjunct professor part-time at the University of Liberty, and served for many years as Liberty’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, he felt that qualified him to teach as a college professor in the US; Edward James felt the same way, too. He earned his Master’s degree in Public Safety and Defense some twenty years ago from John Jay University in the City of New York, and was serving as the Minister of Defense at the time the government was overthrown by the PRC. On the other hand, Stephen Allen and James Springs were prepared to do any job because their daughters’ husbands – Country boys — were treating them as if they were houseboys. These Country boys failed to recognize that Allen and Springs were Senator and Representative residing in America, only temporarily.
As God would have it both Stephen Allen and James Springs took jobs working as elevator operators in a not-so-busy office complex building in the Bedford section of Brooklyn, New York. The first day on the job, the young Negro supervisor met with them to instruct them regarding the job requirements. Everything went well at first, until the young supervisor said, “When we are less busy, one of you should go in the yard to pick up trash (papers) on the ground and put them in the trashcans”. Right then, Speaker James Springs asked Senior Senator Stephen Allen, “Who this little Negro boy talking to? Doesn’t he know we are Representative and Senator from Liberty?”
Due to their Libertarian accent, all the young man heard was, “We are Representative and Senator!” To which he responded, “Not on this job! Both of you are employed here as mere Lift Operators, and if you do not follow my instructions, you will be fired.” Upon hearing what the young man said, Senator Allen responded, “Do we look like some crazy people to be picking up papers from off the ground?” Representative James Springs followed Senator Allen’s remark with, “We quit, you can have your damn job, uniforms and caps; Baah (my friend), let’s leave from this damned place before people see us here; we are too big for this job,” and the two of them left to go home in a rush.
These were the same honorable gentlemen in Monravia that used to ‘bluff for nothing’ (showing off) – yet, they had no skills nor profession; and they were not willing to take the time to keep up with new developments in their surroundings or in the world.
They were forever stuck in the past and what they knew is what they learned some twenty five years ago. These honorable gentlemen were like some of our ‘good for-nothing’ educated Masters’ and Ph.D. holders, many of whom died and those that are living have not written a single pamphlet or book as their contribution to the society that educated them.
Based on contacts made on behalf of both Ambassador Stephen Allen and Minister Edward by family members, friends and associates, they were able to obtain teaching assignments as adjunct instructors at community colleges in the states of South Carolina and Mississippi to teach History, International Studies, Public Safety and Defense courses based on the positions they held in Liberty and other parts of Africa.
Old Notebook Lecturers
In preparation for their respective assignments, both honorable gentlemen resorted to digging out their old notes from their trunks, notebooks, journals, speeches, seminar presentations, training materials and old newspapers articles they had compiled over the years to develop course outlines (syllabi) to use as their lecture material.
South Carolina Greenville State Community College
Ambassador Joseph Jenkins took an adjunct instructor position at South Carolina Greenville State Community College (SCGSCC) to teach History and International Studies based on African perspectives. Ambassador Jenkins had no updated resources from which he planned to lecture. He relied solely on outdated materials he had compiled since he graduated from college in 1959.
Ambassador Jenkins taught briefly from the assigned textbook but began to use examples from his old notebooks. Students could not relate to the examples he provided because they were not born during the periods he was making reference to. For example, “President Charlie King and his Vice President Yancy had to resign due to the League of Nations’ investigation in which the administration was involved in corruption and domestic slavery.”
League of Nations
Some of the students asked questions like, “What is the League of Nations; where does it exist?” Most of the time, the class was in tumult because he was not connecting with the students. Prior to the students taking his complaint to the Dean of the College, some of the students stole pages from the OLD NOTEBOOKS; which made it difficult for him to teach. Finally, he was let go for not meeting the school’s teaching requirements and expectations.
Mississippi State Community College
Former Defense Minister Edward James, too, took an adjunct instructor position at Mississippi State Community College (MSCC) where he would teach Public Safety and Defense from an African perspective. Minister James did similar things like his buddy Ambassador Jenkins. The former Defense Minister did not read nor conduct any research to bring him up-to-date on events and issues that took place in the disciplines of Public Safety and Defense throughout the years. He, too, relied on the outdated information he had compiled from the time he was in college in the 1960s.
In preparation for class, former Defense Minister and Major dressed up in the uniform he wore when he was Defense Minister in Liberty. When asked why he dressed the way he did, his response was, “I like to provide my students with the practical experience; wearing my uniform to class shows my dedication to my profession.” His class was like a circus; and he the clown. The class was always full to capacity with students from other classes coming to see the performance he called lecture.
One of his lecture topics was: My Experience in the Republic of Congo, during the “Congo Crisis of 1960.” During these lectures he would demonstrate by dropping down on the floor, pretending to be carrying a rifle (ruler in his hand) and crawling on the floor to show how he escaped from the enemies — whose commander was Mobutu Sese Seko.
Later, Joseph Mobuto is known as Mobutu Sese Seko. The students asked him such questions as, “What do you think about Idi Amin; was he a good soldier and leader?” His answer to the question was, “There are some good and bad habits found in most leaders everywhere.
Take for example, some people would say Richard Nixon was a bad leader for which he had to resign; the same holds true for Idi Amin.” The students did not buy his argument. However, compared to Adjunct Professor Ambassador Jenkins, Defense Minister Major Edward James did his level best base on the limited experience he had.
In Life, One Must Always Be Prepared
No matter how many degrees you obtain or how high you climb the corporate or social ladder, life may throw a curve ball when you least expect it. In the old days, Boy Scouts of America taught young men the following motto — “Be Prepared!”
The Scout motto means that you are always ready to do what is necessary to help others. It also means you are ready, willing, and able to do what is necessary in any situation that comes along. You are also being prepared to live a full and worthwhile life, being a physically fit, honorable citizen of strong character.
We live in fast-moving times. Sometimes it feels as if what we knew yesterday is relevant even the next day. Part of that comes from living in a so-called post-truth society where you cannot rely on the facts that used to anchor you even one day ago. We should be prepared to flexibly face life’s challenges — to roll with the punches.
Today’s environment requires that you stay on top of your game. It requires you to keep up with news, new information and technology. No longer is age or previous status an excuse for not being engaged with the world or the people in your family, community or social orbit.
No longer is age or prior status rationale for rude or displaying self-centered behavior. Knowing history is necessary and has its place; and not knowing history can inhibit your contributions to your community, country and the world. Keep reading! Share with others; and learn from others. That requires listening not posturing. Above all, treat others with godly love and sincere appreciation.
Senior students in Ghana’s Achimota School are taught that while lower class students may serve them they must be careful not to mistreat them. The junior class boy or girl today can turn out to be the nation’s president tomorrow. A word to the wise is sufficient.
The moral of the story is, whatever you do to others will one day come to haunt you. Therefore, when you are a leader ask God for guidance and let Him direct your path. Treat the people you lead as impartially as possible, and the good Lord will see to it you NEVER fail.
The late revered African leader, Madiba Rolihlahla Mandela (Nelson) put it correctly:
… Leader’s first task is to create a vision. His second is to create a following to help him implement the vision and to manage the process though effective teams. The people being led know where they are going because the leader has communicated the vision and the followers have brought into the goal he had set as well as the process of getting there. (Conversation With Myself, pp. 144-145)
However, in Liberia, for that matter Africa, good leaders are in short supply because those that are in power take the people for granted. The same is true with most Diaspora organizations. Organizations founded on the principles to advocate on behalf of the people, have become the personal property of the leaders and their associates (supporters).
Finally, good leaders should always care and show concern for the people they lead; they should not wait until they need their support. Leaders solve problems and are careful not to create more new problems. Leaders respect and uphold laws; and should not be in the practice of changing laws and certain articles in the Constitution they dislike. When these violations keep happening, it is ONLY a matter of time when the people they least suspect will do them in as they did the GRAND OLD TOTALLY WELL- POSITIONED Government of which the four good old friends, Joseph Jenkins, Edward James, Stephen Allen and James Springs were Partisans. Their lives were never the same again – due to the fateful day of April 12, 1980.
About The Author: Elder Siahyonkron Jglay Kpa-kay Nyanseor, Sr. is a life-long activist (*troublemaker) in researching the true history of Africa, the people of African origin in the Diaspora. He had dedicated his teaching of African culture; spent over 48 years advocating for human, civil and
constitutional rights of all people, especially, the Liberian masses. He is a Griot, poet, journalist and an ordained Minister of the Gospel. Mr. Nyanseor is the Chairman of the Liberian Democratic Future (LDF), publisher of theperspective.org online newsmagazine that was established in June 1996. In 2012, he Co-authored Djogbachiachuwa: The Liberian Literature Anthology; his current book of poems: TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut is on the market. His new book titled: Together, We Struggle For A Better Liberia: True Story & Critique of ULAA soon to be published. He can be reached at:
Read more from Elder Siahyonkron
Liberia: What Was Meant for Evil, God Uses for Good! By Elder Siahyonkron Nyanseor