Chernor Ojuku is gone, but will never be forgotten
By Alhaji M.B. Jalloh
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
HE WAS A TRUE FRIEND AND BROTHER
WHEN he visited the U.S in 2011, Chernor Ojuku’s trip was not complete until he visited me at home in New Jersey..He spent hours with me and by the time he left my family commented that he was one of the most pleasant friends I have ever introduced to them.
Chernoh Ojuku was a true friend and BROTHER. He was the quintessence of the enduring virtues everyone likes in a man- polite , friendly , humble, empowering, and diligent in business. I never had any cause to complain about him all the years we worked on the Cocorioko newspaper and as diplomats. He was always pleasant and respectful. He never imposed his ideas or beliefs on anybody. He was a keen listener and loved consensus more than dispute.
WHEN he met my son, who is a diplomat in Belgium, he accorded profuse courtesies to him and his wife, the Permanent Representative of Grenada to the European Union..He also introduced them to the Sierra Leone delegation during a summit..
He was one of the architects who worked very hard behind the scenes , along with ambassadors, to ensure that former diplomats started getting their retirement benefits from this government..
He was a true friend and BROTHER, loyal, faithful and very respectful. I have lost another great BROTHER as it happened in December when Head of Chancery Alhusine Sesay, another remarkable diplomat, passed away.
May his soul rest in peace.
In tears. I do not know what to say except that the Lord provided and the Lord has taken away . WE all belong to the Lord and to the Lord shall we all return.
Chernoh Ojuku Sesay, the finest and most respectful of gentlemen and professionals . It is absolutely devastating to hear this morning that he is no more..
God’s will has been done. He called home another great man from our breed. He was one of the best and I enjoyed working with him. What a gentle and respectful soul . He was almost spotless.
Before we served the last government ( he as Press Attache in Beligium and I as Minister Plenipotentiary at the UN), he was Freetown-based correspondent of my newspaper, Cocorioko.. He served faithfully and diligently. He was one of my best ever news correspondents.
MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE.
FARE THEE WELL, OJUKU
A colleague, a friend and a brother is gone… Chernor Ojuku Sesay…
Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote about him in ‘Pope Francis, Politics and the Mabanta Boy’: “… My second option, as always, was the Press Attache, Chernor Ojuku Sesay, a colleague journalist and long-time associate. He also had an illustrious, if chequered, career in journalism – not least because he also suffered imprisonment, got brutalised…” (pp 321-322)
O death, where is thy sting?
God be with you till we meet again, brother, even as we exchanged text messages until a few days ago while on the sick bed in Ghana..
Obituary: 30th January 2020
Chernor Ojuku Sesay Dies Accra
Details of what went wrong with Ojuku, as he was commonly known to most of us, remain unclear. But his death in Accra has been confirmed by family members.
Ojuku, according to family members had been sick for a while and was evacuated to Accra where he died yesterday.
Ojuku Sesay was a well-known Sierra Leonean journalist who was later appointed to the Kingdom of Belgium as Press Attache! He held the said position until the APC lost power to the SLPP in 2018.
Ojuku was more than a friend to me. I worked for his Pool newspaper in the early 90s and we struggled together in Wellington as we fought bravely to get a breathing space in Freetown.
Arrangements are on course for the repatriation of the body to Sierra Leone.
May Allah forgive him and admit his soul in His kingdom.
May his soul rest in perfect peace.