By Mwalimu-Koh Blonkanjay Jackson (MsEd, EdM)
Simply Thinking Thoughts
In my thinking thoughts, I pondered the current morass of the COVID-19 and the social, political and economic occurrences which could not wait but are unfolding. There was a Nwabudike rejection situation, allegation that House Speaker Bhophal Chambers bears a fake academic degree which has propelled him to stardom, a three-year old died from hot water allegedly kicked by a police officer; Government of Liberia (GOL) ordered religious institutes closed and opened by 25%; church people were harassed for non-compliance to GOL edict; a minimum consignment of a cure for COVID-19 arrived from Madagascar Republic aboard a charter flight as ECOWAS raises concern over its medical authenticity for human consumption. In my Thinking thoughts I concluded that all of this has unfolded due to the absence of a culture of “due diligence” in the whole Liberian society including the three branches of Government: Executive, Judicial and Legislative.
In Liberia, people are not used to doing due diligence. When an individual or institute sets out to conduct due diligence it is usually misconstrued as being based on distrust, and creates unnecessary despondence. This is why so many things go wrong and GOL is usually embarrassed. The GOL has not been conducting due diligence therefore it has produced platforms for being bamboozled.
For the sake of the layman, due diligence is an investigation, audit, or review performed to confirm the facts of a matter under consideration; It protects both parties but primarily the purchaser or employer. It can uncover potential liabilities in financial matters and make sure nothing is hidden.
Bamboozle means to confuse, deceive, hoodwink, or cheat by trickery. When an individual is hoodwinked, a piece of cloth is placed around his eyes and he does not see. An individual who lies whether under oath or outside of oath and gets what he or she wants, has bamboozled.
Bamboozled Executive Branch
The Executive Branch has been bamboozled on uncountable occasions due to the failure to do due diligence. The ETON and EBOMAF agreements having been passed as law by the Legislature had to be cancelled due to the valor of due diligence.
Bamboozled Legislative Branch
It is not surprising that the bamboozlement of the Executive Branch usually engenders Legislature. When a fake and criminally inclined individual is nominated by the Executive to a position and scheduled to face the Senate, the Senate does not do due diligence such as checking the credentials, social interactions, etc. Even if they do the minimum the nominee passes bribes around and gets confirmed. There are cases where individuals were owing market people’s loan money and nothing still got confirmed;
During the Keita versus Telia Urey elections melee, due diligence showed that Keita was fraudulently receiving two salaries from GOL. He confessed and promised to pay back the salaries but no punitive measures were imputed on him; of course, he got confirmed.
Today we are hearing that the PhD degree which House Speaker Chambers holds is fake and acquired via diploma mill, in the USA. In additional, it is rumored that the name the speaker is bearing is not his original without a legal change of name process, but rather somebody else’. Is anybody, the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), the MOE or the Legislature conducting due diligence or are we simply taking to our Facebook pages to show off? If all this is true, Speaker Chambers has bamboozled the people of Maryland, the Legislature and the whole of Liberia due to lack of due diligence.
Judiciary and Liberian Bar Association Bamboozled
The most unfortunate situation is the bamboozlement of the revered judiciary and the LNBA, two institutions which are supposed to be the exemplars of genuineness and civility in Liberia. The Ndubusi Nwabudike case is a case in point.
Sometimes I wonder, how the Law School and the elite LNBA be could be so lackadaisical or naïve as to not conduct due diligence over such a foreign name? The Law School, known for its rigorous entry procedure, behaved like the average Liberian who accepts things to pass because they passed in the past.
Acceptance of Foreign names
In Liberia, we are used to accepting people with foreign names for we are not a xenophobic people. During our days at Tubman High in the 1970s, we sat in class with names like Sipo Bavuma, M. Sitholie (South Africans) and C. Akpede; we had friends like Okoro, Onehehe (Nigerians), Diomande, Antoine (Ivorian), Dada (Uganda), Shu Thadeus (Cameroun) and Abalo (Togo), etc., and we did not ask questions about their origins nor did we conduct due diligence. Over the years there has been foreign names in high positions such as Olubanke, Akinrele, Farhat and Konneh. Whether these names held genuine Liberian citizenships or foreigners assuming the roles of Liberians did not ever surface as an issue. This allowance set the platform for Nwabudike to glide through the Law School, the Bar Association and the Executive Branch with a fake naturalization certificate before he got noticed and vanquished by the valor of due diligence, when he audaciously vied for the National Elections Commissions job.
COVID-19 Cure Bamboozlement
Now fellow citizens, recently the GOL received a small consignment of some herbs said to be the cure for the coronavirus. In spite of this generous gesture by the people of Madagascar, as we navigate these uncertain COVID-19 times doesn’t it behoove us to wonder if the three branches of government have been bamboozled again as in the case of Nwabudike? Already, there is a rift between the religious community and GOL, that is half way resolved; there is a rift between Eugene Farghon and the Fourth Estate; a rift between ECOWAS, Liberia and Madagascar Republic over the nascent COVID-19 cure.
Considering the trend of events, isn’t it normal to wonder if Liberia has done due diligence before accepting the panacea from the Madagascar President. Did we send Liberian doctors and chemist to observe some of the effects of the medicine? Did we send the potions to our labs to authenticate its chemical-medicinal characteristics before accepting to administer it to our population? Instead of condemning the gift, did ECOWAS or WHO acquire some amount of the potion and conduct due diligence before advising President Weah?
If we fail to do due diligence and allow ourselves to be hoodwinked before taking actions on whether to administer the COVID-19 cure portion or not, we might return to the same Nwabudike scenario where the Executive, Legislature, Bar Association and the revere Judiciary were all bamboozled.
Valor of Due Diligence
Valor means courage, bravery, heroism, gallantry and lionheartedness. After considering the events unfolding during this COVID -19 crazy period, I posit that it was the valor of due diligence that exposed Nwabudike and the other commissioner-nominees who did not qualify.
As we live one day at a time with Coro-Coro, let us seek citizens with valor who will conduct due diligence to avoid bamboozlement and embarrassment as we live the verse of our national anthem, “…we meet the foe with valor unpretending. Long live Liberia happy land; a home of glorious liberty by God’s command”
Simply thinking thoughts.
About the author
The Rivercess man, Mwalimu-Koh Moses Blonkanjay Jackson is CEO of the Diversified Educators Empowerment (DEEP). A triple Ivy League product, and a Jesuit protégé Mr. Jackson is a Yale University Mathematics Curriculum Fellow, and a University of Pennsylvania Physics Curriculum Fellow. Mr. Jackson holds a Master of Education (Ed.M.) degree from Harvard University and a Master of Education with Secondary Mathematics (MsEd) concentration from Saint Joseph’s University. The Rivercess scholar served the Government of Liberia for four years as Consultant and Assistant Minister and returned to private practice as consultant and researcher. The Rivercess man can be reached at 0886 681 315 / 0770 206 645, [email protected].