A Short Tribute
Richie Awoonor Gordon
By Sorie Fofana
Journalism has lost one of its greatest and finest children, Richie Awooner Gordon. Olu Gordon, as he was fondly known, in the words of Umaru Fofana, the President of SLAJ was “a larger than life character”. I think he was a quintessential Jounalist. The late Karwigoko Roy Stevens would have referred to the late Olu Gordon as a natural Journalist.
I knew Olu Gordon through my elder brother, Lansana Fofana (Lans Fofy), one of the BBC stringers in Sierra Leone. Lans and Olu were great buddies. Olu could come to our residence in the East End of Freetown for a weeekend rest. I was doing my Sixth Form by then and at the same time writing articles for the “Chronicle” Newspaper which was edited by Lans Fofy. When Lans got arrested, Olu was one person who campaigned vigorously for his release from the Pademba Road Prisons.
Olu tried unsuccessfully to convince me to join PANAFU. He was a Pan-Africanist per-excellence and a keen admirer of the late Sheku Toure, Kwame Nkrumah and Stokeley Car-Michael who later changed his name to Kwame Toure.
When Olu Gordon returned to Sierra Leone from the United Kingdom immediately after the NPRC coup in 1992, he was arrested and detained at the CID head office on Pademba Road. The NPRC accused him of being the Spokesman for the RUF, an accusation he vehemently denied.
When we (Siaka Massaquoi, who was SLAJ President at the time and I) visited him at the CID, he was weeping like a baby. The CID boss at the time (I can’t remember the name now) told us that the matter was far above him and advised that we endeavour to make direct contact with the Chairman of the NPRC, Valentine Strasser.
Siaka Massaquoi contacted John Benjamin (one of the movers and shakers of the NPRC at the time) to arrange for a meeting with Valentine Strasser. Siaka Massaquoi later informed me that John Benjamin was very instrumental in securing the release of Olu Gordon from the CID. After he was released, Olu came to our office at the then Vision Newspaper at Lahai Taylor to thank Siaka for his intervention. Siaka advised Olu in my presence to leave the country as his safely was not guaranteed. Olu left for the United Kingdom and returned later to Sierra Leone to fight for the return to democratic governance in 1996.
As a University don, Olu was greatly admired by his students at Fourah Bay College. It is reported that some students used to abandon their classes just to catch a glimpse of this great History Lecturer. Olu never took kindly to his dismissal at Fourah Bay College.
When Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was elected President of Sierra Leone in 1996; Olu wrote to him pleading for his case to be reviewed. The University authorities threatened to leave the college if President Kabbah insisted on having Olu back at Mount Aureol. President Kabbah wrote to Olu asking him to move on with his life and forget about the idea of going back to Mount Aureol.
Olu was a principled Journalist. He was one of the few Journalists in this country that openly backed President Kabbah when he outrightly refused to pay Mohamed Wanza for a derelict gun boat that was never delivered to the government of Sierra Leone.
Olu resigned from For Di People Newspaper because Paul Kamara (the former Publisher of the paper) refused to publish his views about Mohamed Wanza.
Olu called a rare press conference at the Sierra Leone Library on Rokel Street to announce his resignation from For Di People Newspaper. I asked him whether he would consider going back to FDP and this was what he had to say, “I don’t go back on my words. I will never go back to FDP “. Unfortunately, he did return
to FDP because he wanted a forum to express his views. He was a fun-poking Journalist.
When I was appointed Information Attache at our High Commission in the United Kingdom in 2002, Olu Gordon and Paul Kamara joined forces together to fabricate a cocktail of lies about me. As far as I am concerned, that is now history.
Olu left FDP to establish the satirical Peep News margazine. I had great admiration for him because he never insulted anybody’s parents even when he disagreed with their views. He was a prolific debater, and an anti-corruption crusader. President Ernest Bai Koroma’s decision to appoint the late Olu Gordon to serve on the Anti-Corruption Commission Board was well – thought out. Thank you very much Mr. President for that patriotic decision.
The last time I saw Olu was at Stop Press Bar/Restaurant. He looked very frailed and very sick. That was the first time I spoke to him after almost nine years. His last word to me was “We have come a long way. It is time to move on….Let us put the past behind us”. I told him that I had nothing against him. God works in a mysterious way. I never knew that that would be the last time I would ever set eyes on Olu alive. May God have mercy upon his soul. Indeed, we have lost a great friend, brother and senior colleague. “Death, thou shall die.”
(Courtesy Globe Times Online)
Olu Gordon: ‘The Greatest Philosopher in Sierra Leone’
By Oswald Hanciles
As I reflect on Olu Gordon’s death which hit the airwaves in Freetown about a day or so ago uncontrollable tears would well in my eyes. I shudder because of the personal contact I had with Olu Gordon spanning thirty five years; and I weep because ‘The Greatest Philosopher in Sierra Leone’ wasn’t given a Nobel-laureate type of accolade while alive. This is not a eulogy. The title of this piece is a repetition. I used it in one of my articles – in THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN - on Olu Gordon about five years ago when Olu Gordon was very much alive. My admiration for Olu then, and now, is not only because he was ‘The Greatest Philosopher in Sierra Leone’, an unparalleled political satirist, but, because of his uncanny courage and Yoga-istic disdain for material possessions; the latter trait diametrically opposed to the cravings of 99.9% of the educated elite.
I first met Olu Gordon in 1975 when we both were freshmen students in Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. Olu Gordon then spoke English with an English accent, so he stood out clearly among his Krio-speaking peers. He was chubby; with a vibrant wit; and carefree ways. We were part of a group of freshmen students – including the late Abdul Mustapha, who was administrative director in the NRA; Leslie Parker, Sydney Njai, Abdul Sesay (a.k.a. “Jagger”), who are all in the US today; Theresa Sandy; D. Williams, one of the sons of the head of the civil service then, G.L.V. Williams - who decided not to join any of the clubs or fraternities in FBC, but to start our own club – which we called “CRESTA”; and for which I was President, and Olu Gordon Secretary General. Olu’s became ‘family’, and his room an extension of ‘home’ – we were part of that close group of students often in an out of each other’s rooms, and we could approach each other with demands, and jokes, without any inhibition. With clear hand writing script, Olu Gordon was one of the most admired writers on ‘Chuks Press’ (a notice board outside the Solomon Caulker dining hall). I could remember after the 1977 FBC students’-inspired uprising against the APC government of its Founder, Siaka Stevens, and it appeared as if the APC had coerced, and cowered all the students in the university into silence after the General Elections had been won by the APC, the first attempt at rekindling student resistance was an article by Olu Gordon on Chuks Press. That rare courage of Olu Gordon did not dim as he aged…
In 1997, soldiers of the Sierra Leone military overthrew the democratically-elected government of Alhaji Tejan Kabbah, and formed the AFRC junta. They shortly after called the RUF rebels from the bush to join them in a coalition government. To inject fear into the populace, this AFRC/RUF junta caught an alleged looter around Krootown. They dismembered his body, and made a grotesque display of his chopped off hands, mangled legs, decapitated head – stuffing his penis lewdly into his mouth. The press were telephoned to photographed the sordid brutality. This was splashed in several newspapers. Using the macabre photograph above his article, Olu Gordon subsequently wrote such words: ‘I wonder what was going on in the minds of the AFRC/RUF as they were chopping off the man’s body like chicken for dinner….They have done this to put fear into us. Well, it won’t work. We will not fear them…The very symbol they have used to put fear into us is what we would use to mobilize people against them…They will go…’. He did not put a pseudonym on the article. He signed it boldly, “By Olu Gordon”. That was published in For di People newspaper, owned by current sports and youth employment minister, Paul Kamara. It appeared as if Olu Gordon’s sheer temerity was suicidal, for it could have gotten him dismembered too. But that was the essence of Olu Gordon, a relatively quiet man with a revolutionary fervor that appears to make him almost inviolable.
In late 1998, most of the elite were certain that an RUF/AFRC attack on the city of Freetown was imminent. They fled Freetown for foreign countries in droves. It was then that Olu Gordon left the safe haven of the United Kingdom to head for Freetown. He told me that when he was in transit in Banjul, the Gambia, he met plane loads of Sierra Leonean elites fleeing Freetown; hysterical with fear even thousands of miles away from our capital city. Olu Gordon returned to Freetown nonetheless; not one to capitulate to fear. He was caught up in the pogrom of the cataclysmic January 6, 1999 AFRC/RUF invasion of Freetown. Why did Olu Gordon leave safe England for treacherously violent Sierra Leone?
Maybe, in death today, our society need to reflect on the mystery and mystique of Olu Gordon, and wonder why did Olu Gordon choose to live his life in the poorest country on earth, while he could so easily have lived in the United Kingdom, one of the richest societies on the planet? Olu Gordon was born in England fifty three years ago, at a time when that right of birth granted him automatic English citizenship. He schooled partly in England. Only a mad man would question the excellent quality of Olu Gordon’s mind. There is no doubt that within English society – as a teacher; or journalist; or social activist; or a politician; or a philosopher – he would have excelled, climbed up the English social ladder, and lived in comparative affluence. Olu Gordon disdained that relative luxurious life which his birth entitled him to, and chose to live in poverty-stricken Sierra Leone; and to practice a profession – journalism - where only 2% of its practitioners have ever been mildly called rich. Publishing his PEEP newspaper, Olu Gordon earned such meager sums that it was a life of from hand-to-mouth from day-to-day. To my knowledge, he never owned a car. With just enough money to feed himself, I don’t think he ever dreamt of building a house. A lot of scorn was directed at him by his FBC peers who over the years would become commissioner-generals, cabinet ministers, owners of big companies, etc. To them, Olu Gordon was a ‘failure’ because he never accumulated those trappings of ‘success’ which nearly all of our educated elite appear ready to kill for, or, commit genocide for.
To me, Olu Gordon’s detachment to material things, put him at the highest pedestal to which one can find the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Including the fact that Olu Gordon could use his ‘British citizenship’ to live in affluence if he wanted to; he also had a mother who was part Nigerian, and owned property in Lagos. With a tertiary post graduate qualification earned from a Nigerian university, with his powerful thought processes, Olu Gordon could have easily fused into Nigerian society as a ‘citizen’, and earned himself a fortune. Olu chose not the ‘broad path’, but, Jesus Christ’s ‘narrow road’ of championing the cause of freedom; of enduring deprivation so that he would not bow down to no ‘tin god’. Olu Gordon’s sheen was that he feared no man; bowed to no man; would always stand for the truth no matter what. During the SLPP days of President Tejan Kabbah, it was the richest and most powerful men in society – as politicians; as crooked business men; as dubious civil society leaders – who apparently feared Olu Gordon. Olu Gordon had the track record of ALWAYS bringing a corrupt person down whenever he would turn his journalistic pen against him/her. For several years as the then hyper-powerful Vice President in Kabbah’s government, Solomon Berewa, strived to win the 2007 presidential elections, Olu Gordon made him a paragon of satire in his PEEP newspaper – interchanging Berewa’s photograph with that of ‘Bruno’, a chimpanzee who had escaped from a forest reserve in Freetown. Berewa, for obvious reasons, never dared to take Olu Gordon to court for defamatory libel. Olu Gordon was not without his biases, apparently.
For one, as the 2007 elections drew close, as the APC won the 2007 elections, Olu Gordon never once put in his PEEP satire page anything negative about Ernest Bai Koroma. (Word is out that President Koroma appreciated Olu Gordon’s role in society; hence his appointment of Olu Gordon to the Board of Directors of the Anti Corruption Commission; and the President’s personal financial intervention when Olu Gordon’s health started deteriorating rapidly over the past one year). And Charles Margai was favoured by Olu Gordon, and spared Olu Gordon’s satire in PEEP newspaper. Olu Gordon was not a saint, either.
Olu Gordon, after working on his biting satire (one of his favorite object is still-alive octogenarian, Dr. Sama S. Banya), Olu Gordon loved to quaff harsh undiluted whiskey with his close friend, now also deceased, dollar millionaire, Eric James, in James’ white mansion opposite the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church on Hanna Benka Coker Street, in Brookfields, Freetown. The heady smoke of Cuban cigar seemed to give Olu Gordon that high he needed to challenge anyone who ran counter to his revolutionary ideal of what Sierra Leone ought to become. Those who are studying Philosophy in our tertiary institutions ought to begin the process now of researching, and giving proper intellectual prominence, to the thoughts, and life, of Olu Gordon. ‘Olu Gordon’ needs to be studied in all our educational institutions. I shed tears for you, my friend, not much so with sadness, but, in great honor for the life you lived so well, so valiantly, so purely – for Africa, for Mother Sierra Leone. If there is a heaven beyond the galaxies, the ‘angels’ are blaring their horns in welcoming honor for you, Olu Gordon.
If anyone would have told me few months back that Richie Olu Awoonor-Gordon, commonly known as Richie Gordon, would have given up the ghost last week, I would not have hesitated to dismiss such as a vile insinuation coming from a rather demented mind. This is partly so because the late man was hale and hearty in my many interactions I had with him as made it a habit to most times stopped by his office at the main intersection of Hannah Benka Coker Street and Syke Street in Brookfield’s, Freetown on my way from work during my sojourn at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
However, alas, it did happen on April 4, 2011 when news reached me at work from the UK that “one of Sierra Leone’s finest and controversial journalists, Olu Gordon has passed away”.
Whilst I am still grappling with the painful reality that indeed Richie is gone to the other world, the sad part of his death is concerns over who would fill the void left by Richie in the crusade to fight against the scandalous social ills of corruption, tribalism and the persistent marginalization of the urban masses and women, whom the ever-growing petit bourgeois class would shamefully dub the “hoi polloi”?
And, this is where I have come to perceive the passing away of Richie Gordon as a bad symbolism for a country that is recuperating from a dismal conflict part of whose reasons was attributed to the issues Olu had fought for in a long time.
For instance, during his lectureship days at Fourah Bay College in the 1980’s, Richie became an icon not just because of the ecstatic way he delivered his lectures, but by using that academic forum to remind his students that sound education was the sure way to liberate the country from the abyss of collapse. It was therefore no surprise, as some of his colleagues would recount later, that students and even Richie’s colleague-lecturers would troop to his lectures to hear the African history lecturer spoke with some classic authority.
Not surprising, following the Alie Kabbah-led students’ demonstrations that challenged the college administration and by extension the central government in 1985, Richie was “expelled” for the dubious crime of “inciting students”.
Even though I have read articles by Richie Gordon that spurred me into journalism evben before meeting him in person, it was not until 1992 when I entered Fourah College that I had the opportunity to interact with him more personally. Under the auspices of the Pan African Union, Richie would endure the harsh realities of boarding a cab from Model to campus to study Panafrican literature. Unbelievable at the start about his commitment, with reminiscences of the trumped-up allegation against Richie by the college administration that he “incited” students to demonstrate in 1985, I recalled asking one of my colleague Pan Africanist, Abdul Karim Bah a rather skeptical question of “how come this man is so committed to come up college to study with us”?. The response I got flabbergasted me. “Let us study with him….he is a brain our country should be proud of”, Bah casually responded.
Spurred by his forthrightness and dedicated passion to serve as the voice for the voiceless majority, my interest in journalism caught fire and became an active member of the press reporting for the defunct Newbreed newspaper until the proscription of the paper in 1993 following our arrest as a result of that “strasser and the 43 million diamond deal scandal” publication. In one of his visits whilst in incarceration, Olu further rekindled my spirits when he not only comforted me, but also left me with the exhilarating words of “this is part of the struggle’.
Indeed, it was part of the “struggle” that my colleagues and I later on imbibed during our student leadership roles that eventually made us challenge the status quo that warranted the central government then to unleash armed personnel on us at the Parade grounds, and sent us into exile in 1997 following students’ demonstrations against the AFRC junta coup. However, in all of these, we were never deterred as some of us returned with renewed hope to modestly contribute to nation building through advocacy for democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
Richie Gordon knew the type of war he was fighting; injustice, corruption, nepotism and political compromises against the people. In such a situation, he was sure to encounter the wrath of those against change, including unfortunately some colleagues in the press. Therefore, the death of Richie may have come to symbolize the death of a sustained campaign against the very vices the journalism icon and human rights activist stood for. Nothing could have been better said about Richie than what my friend, Oswald Hanciles pointed stated that “…during the SLPP days of President Tejan Kabbah, it was the richest and most powerful men in society-as politicians; as crooked business men; as dubious civil society leaders-who apparently feared Olu Gordon. Olu Gordon had the track record of ALWAYS bringing a corrupt person down whenever he would turn his journalistic pen against him/her…”.
Therefore, even a marathon tribute to Richie may not pacify him in his eternal resting place unless and until someone fills the void in the consistent advocacy on behalf of marginalized youth and women, a sustained campaign against political and economic graft and the respect for human rights generally. And to this, as I write this piece, will some of us renew our commitment to do just that in honour of the late Richie Olu Awoonor-Gordon, an iconic journalist, a revered human rights campaigner, an illustrious academic and a distinguished voice for the voiceless.
May his soul rest in perpetual peace!!!.
(courtesy Newstime Africa)
Adewole John 1948-2011
By Isreal O Parper, Former President- APC UK
(1982-1992)and Ireland and First National Auditor- APC Youth League, Freetown
First Secretary General and Former Chairman, Sierra Leone Grammar School Old Boys Association UK
EDWARD WILMOT BLYDEN III 1918-2010
Edward Wilmot Blyden III, the only surviving grandson of the great West
African savant, Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832-1912) of Liberia
peacefully passed away in his sleep at his residence in Freetown Sierra Leone on October 10th. He was 92 years old. Professor Blyden served the country as
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the former USSR, Eastern Europe and East Germany from 1971-1974, and the Sierra Leone Mission to the
United Nations-1974-1976. From 1976-1980, he served as Adviser to President Siaka Stevens. He was a charismatic figure in pre-independent Sierra Leone,
who stirred the imagination of youth and some of the educated class with his creation of the Sierra Leone Independence Movement: designed to educate and instruct political
parties on self-determination and direction in attaining independence from the British Colonial Government. Prominent members of the movement were the
West Indian pan-African George Padmore , Kwame Nkrumah, Chief Tamba Songou Mbriwa of Gbense Chiefdom, Kono, with whom he later co-founded the Sierra Leone
Independent Progressive Movement which held similar objectives in 1955. In the pre-elections of 1957, the movement did not win which disappointed not only Blyden,
but also Nkrumah and Padmore who were struggling to create an integrated West African region to pre-empt the insidious influence of neocolonialism.
Edward Blyden left Sierra Leone to complete his studies at Harvard University and attained a Phd in 1960. He was appointed lecturer of Political Science
and Extra Mural Studies at the newly opened University of Nigeria at Nsukka-The first in Nigeria to offer an indigenous curriculum.
He became the university's first public orator. With the onset of the Biafra war in Nigeria he returned to Sierra Leone in 1968 to lecture at Fourah Bay College.
He became the University of Sierra Leone's most charismatic public orator. In 1971, he was invited by Siaka Stevens to represent the country as Ambassador.
He was instrumental in negotiating a treaty between the Rumanian Government and Sierra Leone for the construction of the Bumbuna Hydro-electric dam,
trade with Hungary and Sierra Leone. At the United Nations Blyden was actively vocal on the Palestinian Question debates of 1975. In 1980,
he was invited by the University of Liberia to speak on the 100th anniversary of the of Liberia College. His speech made an impact on the Liberian student population
who circulated copies of the speech which they memorized. Edward Wilmot Blyden III received many distinguished awards including the
United Nations Peace Medal for 1977, Doctor of Letter degrees from Lincoln University and the University of Nigeria,
Nsukka and an award of Recognition from St. Thomas Virgin Island, his grandfather's birthplace. He is survived by his wife,
Professor Amelia Elizabeth Blyden, eight children, and many grand and great-grandchildren in the United States and England.
Toyin Falola Department of History The University of Texas at Austin 1 University Station Austin, TX 78712-0220 USA 512 475 7224 512 475 7222 (fax)
Abdul Aziz Rashid
is with great sadness that we announce the sudden death of Abdul Aziz
Rashid - our brother, father, nephew, uncle, cousin and friend. This
sad event took place on Friday, October 8, 2010 at home and was
pronounced dead at the Doctors Community Hospital, Lanham, Maryland,
Abdul was born on March 29, 1959 in Sumbuya, Lugbu Chiefdom, Southern Province of Sierra Leone, West Africa. He was born unto the union of the Honorable Karim Rashid and Madam Yewah Rashid, nee Bangali of Kuadima in Sumbuya, Sierra Leone (both parents pre-deceased him).
He received his primary education at the Kissy Primary School, and his secondary education at the Albert Academy, where he excelled with distinction. Mr. Rashid received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Cuttington University in Suacoco, Liberia, 1982. He started his professional career with the Meridian and Euro banks in Liberia, as the vice president.
Thereafter, Abdul moved to the United States in 1994 to further his studies at the University of Denver in Colorado, where he was awarded a Masters in Accountancy (MAcc.) degree. Subsequently, he worked in various financial institutions, including Meryl Lynch in Denver, Colorado, as a Financial Planner. Abdul also worked as Project Accountant for the National Council of University Research Administrators and the Pan American Health Organization, Washington, D.C.
Abdul, a quiet and peaceful man, leaves to mourn his loss: his three children, Ahmed, Rakie and Abdul, Jr.; his former wife, Dr. Nau Domah; members of the Rashid, Bannister, Brewah, Gebeh, Sandi, Nallo, Jabati, Muana, Gombeh, Abdulai, Moriba, Koroma, George, Stevens, Tucker, and Bangali families; special friends Jay Bowman, Martha, Saffie and Dr. Martin Kaba; along with many other relatives and friends in Sierra Leone, Liberia and the U.S.A.
May His Soul Rest In Perfect Peace!
Contacts for additional information
Rakie Rashid-Sandi: 240-491-2156; Fatima and Salami Rashid: 240-705-5378, Mathias Bannitser: 202-553-8592; Gladys Bannister: 703-608-2394; Suna Nallo: 410-412-4311; Massah Kallon: 856-534-9840; Miatta Gebeh: 202-758-4712; Satta Nallo: 301-330-8689; Yambasu Brewah: 301-613-6965;
A Father's Grief
TributeTo My Dear Son, Leonard Balogun Koroma Jnr.
From Leonard Balogun Koroma Snr.
It’s barely five months ago that I gave a befitting tribute to my late mother at St. Philip’s Church in Freetown.
Today, one of the worst things that could happen to any parent or family has just happened to me and my family. On Monday September 13th, 2010 at about 9.45am at the Choithram Memorial Hospital, Hill Station, we lost our 26 year old son, Leonard Balogun Koroma Jnr during surgery for appendicitis. Balogun Jnr had returned to his native land from the United States of America, 3 weeks earlier to explore the possibility of returning home finally to join me in my business and take over as my eldest son and heir. You could see the happiness and relief on his face on his homecoming. He was robustly healthy and strong, at least outwardly and showed no signs of illness. I wanted him to take over my business so that I could have more time to engage in what I love most; Politics and helping the less fortunate in society. However, God had a different plan for him.
On Sunday evening while in Kono on a trip, my wife called to inform me that Balogun had complained of severe stomach pains, which interestingly he had never experienced during his 18 years stay in the United States of America. I told her to take him to the Choithram Memorial Hospital where he was diagnosed for appendicitis and slated for surgery the next morning; Monday the 13th, yes that unlucky number 13. The rest is history. My dear son, a complete replica of myself passed away on the operating table and never came out alive from what was supposed to be minor surgery.
When an event like Balogun’s death happens to other people,
we think perhaps that these sorts of terrible things should not happen to us.
We convince ourselves that these are tragedies that happen to other people;
even though we know that accidents do happen and misfortune visits many
families in the world. Yet there is something that prevents us from thinking
that such a tragedy can befall someone we know. We take it for granted that
fathers will pass on their inheritance to their sons. That is how we assume, it
is supposed to happen. A son will take his place and read the eulogy for his
father. He will extol the virtues of a long life and maintain his father’s
name. A son will grow older. He may have children of his own. To them he will
in turn pass on what he has learned. He will grow up to be a man and fulfill
his father’s expectations of him. When things don’t happen in that order to fit
our expectations, we are left trying to make sense of what happened. What then
is the point of life if we cannot read the road map or fulfill our destinies?
Why we are not prepared for the unthinkable?
Perhaps we will never know the answer to those questions, at least in our lifetimes. What we do know is the pain and the frustration that we have felt over the last 2 weeks. We know what it is to feel anger and impotence in the face of a loss that we find difficult, if not impossible to comprehend. Yet we know that even today we must find a way forward
If we are to continue with our lives and pay tribute to Balogun Jr., who has been taken away from us so suddenly.
Balogun has been taken from us; We as a family, and I as a devout Christian and as a Mason accept it as the will of God and have accepted the unthinkable and inevitable.
When I met my wife Mrs. Hawa Logus Koroma about 34 years ago in 1976, we had no guarantee that God would bless us with children or a son we would name Balogun Jnr. God then gave us Balogun and now God has taken Balogun away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
Scientists’ over the centuries have tried unsuccessfully to
create life. The closest they have come are robots, clones and human cells; but
they have never been able to synchronize things and produce a human being and I
am sure they never will, because that secret belongs to God and to God only. We
will therefore blaspheme and sin if we start asking questions about Balogun’s
death and advance reasons why it should not have happened. We are therefore not
asking any questions, except to thank God for his life and 2 years old
daughter, Leah Marie Koroma who I now want to introduce to you together with
her mother Kristin and her parents who are here from the United States of
America for the funeral.
Balogun is gone, but will always be a part of us. His only daughter, Leah Marie will never replace our child, but will remind us of him whenever we see her, reminding us of his gesture, his looks and his very nature. She is a legacy to us and we will always cherish the legacy. Thank you Kristin and family and we hope that you will continue visiting us whenever you can. As we console ourselves, we also console Kristin and her family for this great and irreparable loss.
Balogun’s achievements were many. He lived his life to the best of his ability and we must draw comfort from that. We must remember that he is in another place where the things that consume us perhaps do not matter.
Today we are remembering our son and what he meant in our lives. Put simply he enriched our days. As we say our final goodbyes we ask for the courage to go on without him. Someday, somehow, sometime we will come to terms with our loss. Time will; we are told; help heal the wound but today it is a raw and aching wound.
I will not conclude without giving thanks and appreciation first to the Almighty God for his short life, President Ernest Bai Koroma and First Lady Madam. Sia Nyama Koroma; Vice President Sam Sumana and Lady Kadia Sumana for their tremendous support; and all our family friends at home and abroad too numerous to mention for their assistance in so many diverse ways in giving us the strength and courage to face these challenging period in our lives.
"Nature it seems stands on its head
When you mourn the loss of a son
Today we remember his life with us
The years of laughter and fun ,
We’re thinking of all the times that we shared
And though we are bowed with grief
Today we celebrate the son we once had
Because it is our firm belief
That his life enriched us in so many ways
Brought sunshine and happiness into our days
And though we are heartbroken and very sad
Today we admit that we’re also glad
That we had him, if only for too short a while
Not yet but sometime we’ll remember and smile."
MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE.
GOODBYE BALOGUN, SLEEP AND TAKE YOUR REST TILL WE MEET AGAIN.