On Friday we will be following Mr. John on the last leg of his journey on earth. He will not see us though so close. We will be in his motorcade. He will be in the farewell service hosted in his honour but not in the pew. The tolling bell will not wake him up to have one last look at the world, his family, friends, and acquaintances. It will be completely different from being in the same car as we headed to Bo for the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists elective triennial conference last June. It will certainly not be the victory songs we sang after the announcement of the election results. Nothing similar to the cheers, the fun we had at the dinner or even on birthday celebrations in the office. It will be sombre, tear-flowing moment accepting that you are going to a place where we will not receive phone calls and emails from you. You will not be in the office on Fridays to chat about mundane things. No, no opportunity to reset your time.
I knew you for years as editor of Awoko Newspaper but had a much closer relationship with you less than a year ago when I joined the newspaper as a business reporter. I wished you stayed longer so that I can milk from your reservoir of experience and knowledge about humanity. Friday mornings were the best of times we chatted about issues, not just story ideas but how you moved on in life. How the media landscape has changed.
He was a workaholic, always wanting to be behind his desk with his glasses on and fingers on the keyboard of the laptop in front of him. He is most often in the office before 9 am and would stay on after 6pm. This was his routine from Monday to Saturday. He was involved in a fatal road accident along Lumley beach few months ago and he survived it together with his driver. During that moment the doctor demanded that he should rest for some time. He went home for few days but there he was again, behind his desk looking at the materials submitted. At one stage the managing editor Mr. Kelvin Lewis asked the entire staff to stop him from working for a while. He left the office but few days after, as he kept saying during that period, he was in the office to help Victor the manager to handle some pressing issues relating to adverts.
As you always said, you have seen it all from Australia to London, from continental USA to China and from Athens to Ethiopia. Your maker could not reset your time though you wanted it. You were hoping to have a 10 day rest period in South Africa. It never happened. Your clock was ticking fast to mark the end of your earthly journey. I love you, we love you, and Awoko newspaper misses you. You are no longer with us but still lives in our memories. Your dreams and worries are over. Adieu Mr. Samuel John and rest in peace.
We shall meet again where we will live to part no more.
By Silas Gbandia
Friday September 30, 2016