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Chernor Ojuku is gone, but will never be forgotten

Chernor Ojuku is gone, but will never be forgotten

30 January, 2020 – The former Press Attaché to the Kingdom of Belgium has passed away in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, this morning, according to family sources.

What a shocking piece of news to fall on the ears of the nation on this day! The news of Chernor Ojuku’s death can only be characterized as a thunderbolt that has sent tremors to the nerves of many Sierra Leoneans, especially journalists that are aware of the great and meaningful contributions the late gentleman had made for his country.

I called him a few weeks ago to check on him not knowing that would be the sign off call. I knew he had health challenges but never knew it was life threatening. He was admitted to one of our local hospitals last November. And this was his message to some colleagues shortly after he was discharged in early December: “Colleagues, glad to inform you that I was discharged from the hospital yesterday. I’m presently at home in Freetown recuperating. Thank you all for concerns, prayers and calls. I appreciate all of you.”

Chernor Ojuku Sesay, 54, started his career as a journalist in the early 1990’s. He was the Managing Editor of The Pool Newspaper. He also served his country excellently as a diplomat in Belgium and the European Union from 2008 to 2018. He was a veteran, seasoned and a very resourceful journalist and always encouraged and challenged me to be resourceful as he was.

I met him in 1997. Both of us worked in the same building (Kommeh Building) at No.1 Short Street in central Freetown from 1998 to 2005 before I left for the United States. The last time I saw him was in 2008 shortly before he left for his duty station in Brussels. But since then, he had never been in incommunicado with me. Even during my many years of stay in Saudi Arabia as Press Attaché, he would often call and email me to ensure that I was doing alright. He was indeed exceptionally a true brother and an intimate friend.

He was one of the Journalists I have looked up to as the standard for fair, probing and thoughtful journalism and I know countless others who feel the same way. He was an upright person who upheld flag of unbiased reporting throughout his journalism career. He was an undisputed investigative journalist with sound proofs. He was very bold, fearless, and professional. He was a hard working journalist who totally devoted all his skills, experience, time and all of his energy to the profession he so much loved. He was a keen journalist for close to 30 years. He was a great personality who was highly connected at all levels.

He will be long remembered and celebrated as a well-rounded journalist who distinguished himself as a very good sport reporter, columnist, editor, ‎media manager and diplomat.

Like many others, I’m heartbroken at the loss of a very trusted and cherished colleague, friend and elder brother. Ojuku was a man who was central to the professional lives of many young journalists and many younger and upcoming journalists saw him as a role model and as their mentor.

I beseech the Almighty Allah to condone Chernor Ojuku’s mistakes, accept his good deeds, have His infinite mercy on his soul, and make Paradise his permanent abode. May Allah protect his family from all evils, guide them to the right path, continue to provide their livelihood, and enable them realize the dreams and aspirations their late father and husband had for them. Ameen.

By Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, former Press Attaché to Saudi Arabia

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