I DIFFER, MR. MOMOLU
By: Joseph O. Brown, Sr.
Reading through an online news magazine, I am amazed; rather, I am appalled by the message conveyed and assertions contained in the article entitled: “Children of A Lesser God” written by Henry Momolu, in the July 20, 2018 edition of the magazine.
The article, as authored by Mr. Henry Momolu, attempts to depict a divided nation Liberia within the context of a settlers and indigenous rivalry. While I accept that Mr. Momolu’s assertions are his personal perspectives of how he suggests the state of affairs has been and what he yet thinks are currently unfolding, for which I might not be at odd with him, I am flabbergasted, to say the least, to find that he is very categorical in holding that “settlers’ children”, mentioning “Baby Shad, George Henries, Jimmy Pierre, Boywee (Wesseh), Bobbin and Randolph McClain, Romeo, Stephen and Chu-chu Horton, Alex Brewer, Marbue Dennis, Marbu Richards, Nat Baker” are not “defending the legacy of their pa and ma”, adding “For true, true, your will do anything for government job and local favors”.
To be as blunt in generalization in such a manner as Henry is just as well being too unfair to the accused in their individual capacities because such claims go down to the very personal character of the people so named, thus requiring a more scrupulous level of researching and verification on a person to person basis. Mr. Momolu contends that, for the purpose of these clarifications, Romeo, Stephen and Chu-chu have reneged on the defense of the legacy of their “pa and ma”.
A legacy is something handed down by a predecessor to a successor. It may be good or bad. It may be a gift of personal property or money. Yet still it may be something such as an achievement that is a part of history or that remains from an earlier time. I am persuaded to think that within the realm of Mr. Momolu’s allegations, he makes reference to some achievement that is a part of the historical evolution of their parents’ establishment in Liberia dating back to the past. If my line of reasoning is acceptable, then the question is what was the legacy of the parents “pa and ma” of Stephen, Romeo and Chuchu which they have supposedly reneged on defending?
Rev. Dr. Daniel Richard Horton and Mother Ora Milner Horton came to these shores as missionaries of the National Baptist Convention of the United States of America, settled in Grand Bassa County as their first mission station in 1917. Armed with the gospel of Jesus Christ, they helped to break the shackles of sin and spiritual death and helped to empower those who were socially and materially deprived. After serving in Grand Bassa County and later at the Providence Baptist church in Monrovia, the Hortons were motivated by the level of spiritual, social and material deprivation of the ethnic people of Liberia then, to establish the first indigenous Baptist congregation in Liberia which would administer to the body and soul of the disciples. They then established the St. Simon Baptist Church in 1923, with a little over two dozens of ethnic Bassa people being on its first membership roster.
Pursuant to their dream to transform the physical lives of the people, they also founded the Bassa Brotherhood Industrial and Benefit society which was incorporated through the act of the National Legislature in a joint session on December 5, 1925 that would cater to the physical and social needs of the people. Subsequent thereto, as the ministry of the church grew and evangelists trained under the tutorship of Dr. Horton, he planted other churches around the country and founded the Liberia Direct Baptist Missionary Conference as the umbrella under which all of the churches so founded would work together to develop strategies for evangelism, church planting and continual fellowship.
Today, the first church, the mother church, the St. Simon Baptist Church, the Bassa Brotherhood Industrial and Benefit Society and the Liberia Direct Baptist Missionary Conference comprising over forty local churches around Liberia remain a legacy in the true and substantive sense, of Rev. Dr. Daniel Richard Horton and Mother Ora Milner Horton. They came to Liberia, toiled so hard in the establishment of these institutions which today remain with us not only for the spiritual upliftment of the people, but also for the physical relief of those who accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior and walk worthy of the benefits that these institutions bestow.
Now let us examine the records to ascertain the validity of Mr. Momolu’s claim that Stephen, Romeo and ChuChu reneged on the legacy of their parents. Stephen and Romeo have gone to join their parents and other faithful servants of the cause in glory-land. But we know that prior to their eventual departure, Stephen remained a member in good standing of the St. Simon Baptist Church. He was ahead of Romeo on the journey to glory but prior, Romeo was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the St. Simon Baptist Church and Executive Secretary of the Liberia Direct Baptist Missionary Conference and made immense contribution to the sustenance of this work, “the legacy” by ensuring the calling and maintenance of leaders who gave quality service to the mother church at the same time ensuring the physical expansion of the work through the enhancement of the planting of additional churches, the training of ministers at the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary and the construction of the Horton-Paye Agriculture Institute in Nimba County. He did not renege, Mr. Momolu! He worked selflessly, up to his last days, for the strengthening of the three-pillar Christian ministry as passed down to us by his “pa and ma”.
As for ChuChu, he is yet with us. He has and continues to be a strong tower of strength for the work. The Church, the Society and the Conference give him the due deference. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Deacons of the St. Simon Baptist Church, the mother church of the ministry. He is a consultant and holds a special place in the Liberia Direct Baptist Missionary Conference as the key presenter of the “Founders’ Lecture Series” intended to keep the founders’ dream regarding evangelism, empowerment and church growth alive among the churches. ChuChu is also an advisor at the level of the Bassa Brotherhood Industrial and Benefit society. He is a stabilizer, a reconciler and an astute pace setter. Today Bassa Community, a community brought into being through the missionary work of ChuChu’s “pa and ma” is at peace with itself as a result of the mediatory role of ChuChu. You might agree with me that the sacrifices ChuChu made in this regard, even at the peril of his life, and continues to make, are in clear defense and jealous protection of the legacy of his “pa and ma”.
Finally, did Stephen, Romeo and ChuChu renege on the defense of the legacy of their parents? The answer, from the foregoing, is obvious: NO! Quite to the contrary, they worked so hard, in spite of the challenges of their day, to promote and sustain what was passed to them. Now ChuChu as the only surviving offspring of the founders stands in the gap un-despaired and ever-resolved. Though confronted by the constraints of advanced age and its attending consequences, yet he has never lost sight that he has a ‘charge to keep and a God to glorify’. This, ChuChu is aware, is a responsibility placed upon him by divine favor which he has dared to uphold and never willing to compromise in his lifetime.
An advice to Mr. Henry Momolu is to be a little more meticulous in his reportage. Investigate, make research, and avoid collective guilt and condemnation by association. Those are bad tenets of journalism.
As earlier mentioned, it is not my intention to critique the article “Children of A Lesser God” or tell whether the article is worth what the proponent purports, though it is my right to do so as I may to all other professional publications. Those expressed claims are Mr. Momolu’s opinions and perhaps his convictions too. But what I do insist is that he was not absolutely right to assert that Stephen, Romeo and ChuChu reneged on the defense of the legacy of their parents. In short, he was absolutely wrong; and a wrong, as a professional journalist, he needs to right in subsequent publication. Sincerely, Mr. Momolu, I differ with you in this regard.