(The modern architect of the Sierra Leone Public & Civil service, the first Principal of the Kenema Secondary School (KSS), the author of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone and one of the living pioneers of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party-SLPP)
A book review done by Hindolo Tonya Musa in a book launching ceremony on 15TH April 2014 in Freetown
Peter Tucker is sharing the journey of humanity by giving meaning to life experience both in private and public. Peter gives meaning to where he was born in the national history, the meaning of Christianity in his early childhood where the Roman Catholic Church has impacted much on his orientation and civilization, the meaning of being a student of our shrine of knowledge- the Fourah Bay College, the meaning of being a secondary teacher in missionary activities and being a headmaster in a strategic Central school and the transformative leadership he provided for KSS to be a visible secondary school in a very short period, the meaning of serving the nation as a secretary in the Prime Minister’s office where he participated in regimes of Sir Milton Margai, Sir Albert Margai, and the military junta of Joxon-Smith all in the 60s; also the meaning of being a postgraduate student in Oxford where he became member of the legal society an opportunity he had acquired to participate in the struggle for racial equality; Peter’s meaningful narrative of life ends with his experience at home and the meaningful discourse on community service after international and national services rendered. He concludes his experience as follows:
“During my long public service, I helped a lot of people but I am sure I also hurt others. All I can say is that my mistakes were mistakes of the head and not of the heart. I cannot end this brief of life story without apologising to Sisters of St. Joseph Cluny whom I unintentionally embarrassed over the Rogers affair.” Pg 297 Giving meaning to the Turner’s Peninsular -In Nicolas Owen comment on a diary, Peter extracted the following words to give meaning to his place of birth in the national history. The excerpt reads “It seems to me the blacks on the coast retains their ancient customs without alteration in anything, which alters a good deal by the help of cloaths, swords of household furniture, likewise has made some addition to their grandeur with our goods in general.” P5
Giving meaning to the Catholic episode in this life journey, Peter Tucker recalls his father’s words as follows “His words about priests kept ringing in my ears. I thought of the good work the priests were doing and the way our people, including my father, revered them; but I said to myself “forget it, how can a poor cassava-eating noisy flute player like you become a priest? You are not worthy to be a priest.” Pg 43 Performing in public examination is among the excellence performance in his autobiography, Peter notes “I was among the crowd of school leavers who gathered there to look for their names. There were only two passes in the first division: one from the Bo School and the other from ST. Edward’s School. salia Jusu of the Bo School and I, both of Protectorate origin, had topped the results in the whole country.” Pg 61
WHAT IS FBC IN PETER TUCKER’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY?
The Anthem of West Africa or the Fourah College is a chapter in the lives of many leaders who benefited from university education in the 40s and 50s, but to Peter Tucker, it is beyond a chapter. He notes his impressions in the following words: “Moreover for me, FBC was a new world of whose existence I had been only vaguely aware. That new world, as I saw it during the four years I was in it, can best be portrayed as a miniature global community dominated by dons and students. Perched high on the brows of Mount Aureol, it seemed oblivious of the real world below. The characteristics and social activities of the students made the most significant impact on me.” Pg 68
In developing the KSS, Peter Tucker writes “I stood my ground, arguing that the boys who were attending St. Edwards School or the CMS Grammar School, where I had taught for a while, were no better than the boys that were coming from the primary schools in Eastern Province and I saw no reason why the latter should be relegated to third class status in the educational system. I bitterly condemned the theory of that Protectorate pupils were not intellectually capable of benefiting from full secondary grammar school education.” P112
In the Prime Minister’s office Major names include Panda, Daramy, Tejan Kabbah, Kallon, Davidson Nicol, David Lansana, Hingha Norman, Patricia Tucker, and Rogers Wright and so on. Some of the prominent events were the death of Sir Milton, naming his successor, Sir Albert’s one party proposal and the 1967 General elections and the coup. The episode ended with life a decision:“For my part, I always believed that the SLPP would end up with an overall majority in Parliament and it did not matter much if Sir Albert became Prime Minister again because I was going to leave the Civil Service any way. I had doubt serving an APC Government in those circumstances but my general position was that I would serve any Government that emerged from the elections.” Pg 204 another circumstance was Juxon Smith threatened to shoot me “Mr. Tucker if you don’t send those men in the next ten minutes, I will deal with you severely. I told him firmly “Mr. Chairman, you are a Sierra Leonean and you must know that in this country you don’t arrest your father!” pg 215
The lunch at Buckingham Palace marks the climax of universality of his recognition in the area of public life: “The highest point in my career came when i received an invitation to have lunch with Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Phillip at Buckingham Palace. It was November 1981, on the day when it was announced that Princes Diana and Prince Charles were expecting their first baby. ..had also sat on the banquet table with Her Majesty and Prince Phillip in Sierra Leone. However, this luncheon was different; it was like family affairs, and to me it was a kind of testimonial that I had made it.” P266
Authoring the 1991 Constitution, which serves as the new covenant of the multiparty democracy is an outstanding experience discussed in this book. That extended to Peter’s position on the Lome Peace Accord. He was also asked to review himself by way of heading the Law Reform Commission under the leadership of Ahmed Tejan Kabbah.
The book presents Peter Tucker as an icon of public life, an author of national political covenant, a mentor of several models in national development, a contributor to civic development and a hero in national history of Sierra Leone. Thus, the MISSION BOY FROM SHEBAR ended as the FATHER of the ISLAND.
It is very important to read through this book for moral and political education.
What is your birthday?
What is your impression of today’s civil service?
What are the key issues to review in the 1991 constitution?
HINDOLO TONYA MUSA- M.Phil, MA, BA (Hons), Diploma and Certificate in Mass Communication
LECTURER MASS COMMUNICATION- FBC-USL
Tuesday April 22, 2014