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Tribute: Ibrahim El-Tayibb Bah – the passing of a great mentor

Tribute: Ibrahim El-Tayibb Bah – the passing of a great mentor

Every time someone close to us dies, we lose a great part of our life. This is exactly how I felt when I heard the sad news that Ibrahim Tayibb Bah (in photo) had passed away.

Today, I am writing this tribute with tears in my eyes and a great sadness in my heart for a great journalist and mentor. His passing is a great loss to me and I am sure to numerous others who have had the fortunate opportunity of sharing this great man’s knowledge and time.

Mr. Ibrahim Tayibb Bah has left this world for eternity, however, I believe his soul is with us, and for me, memory of him still lingers in my mind.

In his life, Tayibb, as he was known by his numerous comrades, admirers and friends, lived a life of piety, wisdom and knowledge. He was a great respecter of people, including the young and old. We loved Tayibb but the Almighty had his plans. Tayibb answered the call to eternity on Saturday 18th June 2011 at the Choithram Hospital in Freetown.

The late Ibrahim El-Tayibb Bah, a veteran journalist who dedicated his life in representing the underprivileged through journalism and writing was one of the pioneers in the setting up and sustenance of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ). Mr. Ibrahim Tayibb Bah played a vital role in his hey-days in uplifting the association into higher height as well as strengthening its activities.

As a devout Muslim, he was buried following the tenants of Islamic principles. Allah be praised. His burial which took place on Sunday 19th June, 2011 at the Goderich cemetery in the west end of Freetown attracted citizens from all walks of life, including prominent personalities.

Ibrahim Tayibb Bah served in prominent leaderships. He was the president of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, President of the Guild of Editors, initiator and proprietor of the Sierra Leone Yellow Page and editor of the Eastern Post newspaper, one of the few newspapers operating from the provinces. While serving in these various leadership positions, he has helped a lot of media practitioners to study journalism at the Mass Communications Department at Fourah Bay College (FBC) whilst others benefited one way or the other from his training programmes in and out of the country. Besides all of this, it was during his tenure as president of SLAJ that he started organizing annual general conferences for the association in Freetown and in the provinces.

I first met the late man at the Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA) offices where the then managing director, the late Abdul Karim Jalloh made a brief introduction and asked him to train me to become a journalist. Without any argument or comment, Tayibb accepted his request and told me to report the next day at his office to start work immediately. This is how I entered into the field of journalism which I am now enjoying through his encouragement and advice. He always regarded me not as a cub reporter and apprentice but as a younger brother.

Journalists can attest that the late man always attended programmes organized by the association even after he stepped down as president of SLAJ and even up to his death, he attended SLAJ’s Biennial Conference in Kenema, the funeral of late Richie Olu Gordon, and other SLAJ programmes. He was always committed to the ideals of the association and his great death will be seriously felt by his colleagues both at home and abroad.

During my days with him at the Eastern Post, he always ensured that I accompanied him so that I would have first-hand experience in the knowledge needed for me to later succeed. My days were busy and hectic and I was  only able to relax at the end of the day, or when he was out of the country.

Tayibb Bah was one of the few journalists his colleagues admired a lot because of his dedication and hard work to the journalism profession.

I was shocked at news of his death through kidney failure because this is a man who was energetic in his doings and has always maintained routine medical check-ups. Indeed good things never last, as shown by the sudden death of Brother Tayibb Bah.  That is why the death of Tayibb is not only a big loss to his family, to SLAJ, but also to the entire nation and beyond.

Brother Tayibb Bah, rest in peace and may Allah Almighty guide you in eternity. Insha Allah

By Bai-Bai Sesay in Freetown-Sierra Leone

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