Pa Baimba Sesay
He was one of five of us who returned home having been sacked in 2018 as diplomats. He was in Brussels also covering the Vatican as Press Attaché whilst I was in China. We had close and great working ties as diplomats. But our bond actually grew stronger when we came home and him, becoming our ‘Lead Voice’ in our quest for our end of service payments to be effected by government.
Chernor Ojuku Sesay demonstrated one of his qualities- fighting for the general good. It was an appalling experience. I was providing the technical support, collating and printing of documents of most, if not all recalled diplomats as and when requested by government through the ministries of foreign affairs and finance. He was playing the very difficult diplomatic role of engaging relevant sectors in pushing for our monies, smiling where he should even get angry.
His journalistic disposition had immensely helped us as attachés. I saw it all and here is the story; we had an unpleasant experience; we both had worked on getting documents for all (well over 95%) of recalled diplomats. It demanded time and resources. But we did and eventually we all were waiting to hear of payments having been effected. Ojuku, like me and others was sniffing for information regarding progress. But he had his trusted friends and sources.
He was to later learn from one at finance ministry that we (attachés) had been ditched, left in the desert to starve, with payment for all other diplomats but Attachés. In fact there were no documentations for attachés, including both of us, who were the ‘unofficial coordinators’ on the ground. This was derisory. It also was fascinating but came as a surprise given all what we had done for weeks if not months. We both had to get to the drawing board again and commenced the entire process of pushing. We later got joined by two other strong colleagues.
Ojuku was a fighter. He had told an official at finance ministry that if they refuse to pay our monies, “we go die lef den money ya with una…” well, as predicted, 50% of that payment came and indeed, he is gone to come no more and never to receive the balance, should it come, in person. This era of ‘chasing’ our legitimate dues even brought my wife closer to the late man. We would hang heads in my business place and discuss our frustration. We would meet and have ‘formal’ meetings at the shop and somebody (wife) in small corner would be provoking us. At one point, he call the country’s FS and protested that “what we are chasing was our legitimate dues and not a favour from government.”
Ojuku believed in pursuing a collective fight and bringing team result. He had got suggestions from three persons; two in government and one business man we had asked to help. Ojuku was to accept that payment be made to those of us (attachés) in Freetown. For him, that was not a workable solution because it was like betraying colleagues those out of the country. We waited for months.
Chernor was a good-humored person, always having ways of reducing tension or stress. He believed in getting results, telling you to “remain optimistic.” He was a writer per excellence, like another late senior colleague, Sorie Sudan Sesay of blessed memories who was also covering the UK as Press Attaché. He excelled in his job in Brussels. Within years of dedicated service, he learnt a lot and afterward brought with him home, the personas of a true diplomat.
His trip to Ghana was the start of a long, sad journey of no return. His first option was Brussels. He didn’t and ended in Accra, as per God’s plan for him. As colleagues, we (I, Alusco and Mariama) would converge at his house literally endlessly praying (by faith we were convinced he would be healed), encouraging him to remain strong. He really was strong and assured us he was going to come home with good health. But God works His way!
Death is inescapable. It is an adventure to the faithful. It however remains man’s vilest adversary much as it comes distinctly as a means to reaching our Maker. It is a tough end product of a long lasting path to eternity. But there is one beautiful lesson; life is lived once, but when well lived, once is enough. Our colleague lived his life well and impacted society through his journalistic trade. His demise has surely left a gap. As we take you to your final resting place, we say adieu and rest well, not forgetting how your journalistic instinct helped us collectively as your colleagues. May we not forget that in a moment.