By Aruna Turay
Former minister in charge of religious affairs in Sierra Leone, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden on Sunday 20th November, 2022 testified for 13 minutes at the New Life Ministries International Church (London branch) on her visit to the Vatican in Rome, Italy and her meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis, courtesy of the First Lady of Sierra Leone, Dr. Fatima Maada Bio.
Standing comfortably in front of worshippers at the Church, full of joy and smiles, the beautiful Dr. Blyden testified of how God humbled her 5 years ago by allowing what she described as “an unfairly political sideline” on her person and how God has now uplifted her 5 years later through using her small sister Dr. Fatima Maada Bio most unexpectedly.
She also recounted how she single-handedly, with support from both Islamic and Christian religious leaders in Sierra Leone in 2017, brought to calm what was already a potential religious unrest between the two faiths shortly after the first visit of Mufti Ismail Menk to Sierra Leone.
She said it was as result of her timely intervention to alert the security forces to deploy in all Evangelist Ajesafi’s Churches and her also summoning leaders of the two faiths on a peaceful resolution of the pending disaster that saved the country from that potential religious unrest.
She said it was these and other efforts she had made to unite and maintain peace and tranquility among the different religious faiths in Sierra Leone that won her the opportunity to, at this time, visit the Vatican and get a warm handshake with, and blessings from His Holiness Pope Francis.
She further recounted how she was deliberately left out of a government delegation in 2017 by the government governance then, despite her being the minister in-charge of religious affairs, to go see the Pope.
This according to Dr. Blyden was one of her worse moments of political betrayal, stating that for her to now be given the opportunity to meet the Pope, and with an opportunity coming from Dr. Fatima Maada Bio who is not in her political party, is worth thanking and appreciating.
Dr. Blyden closed her testimony by thanking Dr. Fatima Maada Bio for the opportunity giving to her to meet the Pope and received his richly blessings.