A leader’s apology is a performance in which every expression matters and every word becomes part of the public records. For a leader to apologize publicly is therefore a high-stakes move: for themselves, for their followers, and for the organizations they represent. Refusal to apologize can be smart, or it can be suicidal. Conversely, readiness to apologize can be seen as a sign of strong character or as a sign of weakness. A successful apology can turn enmity into personal and organizational triumph—while an apology that is too little, too late, or too transparently tactical can bring on individual and institutional ruin.
Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, the lawmaker representing Montserrado County has been in the news of late after giving conflicting information of the category of flight ticket that took him from Accra, Ghana on a Delta Airlines to the United States. He had earlier stated that he bought an economy class ticket but was forced to accept the story that it was actually a business class ticket after details of the purchase of the ticket were made public.
Speaking on the Spoon TV talk show upon his arrival from the United States of America, Mr. Dillon publicly admitted that his earlier defense put up that he did not buy a business class ticket was not true. He lamented the shame and embarrassment it brought to his mother, his family and support base. He specifically mentioned those who went to his defense after putting them under the impression that he was telling the truth as well as those whom he knew were defending the indefensible. He vowed not to repeat it.
Mr. Patrick Honnah, a prominent media practitioner in the country and a strong supporter of Mr. Dillon was among those who made their reactions known after the Senator made a U -Turn on his initial stance. Making use of his official social media page, Mr. Honnah who has never hidden his admiration for the Senator said: “My senator, I’m disappointed and embarrassed. Pick up yourself quickly and reset. Too many people look up to you, do not take it for granted. Humble yourself, pay particular attention to the messages contained in public feedback. I know the burden on you is huge but wisdom is needed! Wake up, dust yourself and try again! I am still hopeful,”
Charles B. Yates, another media practitioner and a staunch supporter of Mr. Dillon said that he had initially rebuked him but has forgiven him and will encourage him to look at where the senator’s strength comes from. “Our public outcries should inform you that we are hurt and disappointed… Your disgrace is all of us disgrace, most especially those
who supported you with passion. We do not hate you Abe Darius Dillon but we love Liberia more”.
Most of the comments following the social media posts of the two journalists were supportive of the Senator, stating that he has done something unique that is lacking among politicians and others in leadership positions in the country.
“At this point, we need to commend and encourage ADD for being bold enough to tell us that he erred and sorry for it. I will always support him,” Muna Morris said in her comment.
Another comment from Moses Tarn said, “Up ADD. You did what others will never do. Please be watchful next time, they are after you ooo”.
Also Paul Bazi wrote,” This could be seen as a slap on the senator’s integrity but to be frank, he is a human and has admitted his error, something that is very rare in this country. ADD our hope in you is high, please be focused and face the task ahead”.
Moved by the huge support and encouragement he got in the wake of the prevailing situation, Senator Dillon last night took to his Facebook page and wrote: ”Thank you for rightfully scolding me. My act of not telling a simple truth about a plane ticket was wrong and uncharacteristic of me for which I am being deservedly bashed. I understand your feelings and sentiments of disappointment. I owe it to you and my conscience NEVER to fall so cheaply again. Liberia deserves better and we must always strive to be and do better. We are imperfect humans, we learn; we move on! As always, God is in control”.
It can be recalled, on his trip to the United States of America, the Senator fondly called THE LIGHT by his admirers and supporters posted a photo on his official Facebook Page of him in the business class of the Delta Airlines that took him from Accra, Ghana to the United States of America. Followers, especially from opposition camp and some media institutions took interest in the post with the reaction that Mr. Dillon bought a business class ticket, which was expensive, suggesting that he was insensitive to the plight of the ordinary Liberian people and also was contradicting himself against what he publicly denounced in the past.
The Senator, a social media enthusiast himself responded with a publication of his flight ticket from Monrovia but mistakenly left the confirmation number of his onward ticket on Delta Airlines which got to those who had taken issues with him. After a series of back and forth with the story, Senator Dillon publicly admitted that he did not tell the truth about the ticket and that he actually bought a business class ticket on Delta Airlines while journeying to the United States of America.
Since then there have been wide reactions from the public especially from the various divisions of the polity. But what has emerged in the aftermath of the development is the fact the action of Mr. Dillon to publicly admit his wrongdoing and apologize to the people who got disappointed and embarrassed is something very rare in the polity and will go long way in defining the attitude of politicians when it comes to admitting to their mistakes, offering apology and vowing to not to repeat same.