By Fidelis David
Since I heard the news of the death of Shola Ilesanmi, a reporter with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Yoruba, I have become the shadow of myself.
His death sent shock waves to my heart and bone marrows and I told myself, David, you have lost one of your God sent Angels. You have lost one of your destiny helpers. You have lost a role model. You have lost a friend and you have lost a teacher.
The flood of tribute, encomiums that has continued to greet the passage of Shola is an obvious and convincing testimony to the fact that he was loved by all and that his life was colourfully signposted with indelible love, dedication and trust.
I heard that the award-winning young journalist, who started his career in the profession with the Ondo State Government owned Orange FM and OSRC, breathed his last at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital (UNIMEDTH) , Ondo City, but details of what led to his untimely death still remain unknown.
The Ondo State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), in a statement signed by the Chairman and Secretary, Adetona Aderoboye and Leke Adegbite respectively, described the passage of Sola Ilesanmi as sad and shocking.
Also,Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) through the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo , described Shola Ilesanmi as an enterprising and resourceful young man whose passion for Journalism was immeasurable, stressing that his quest to seek news stories in most unusual sniff-moves was evidently legendary and undoubtedly impactful for the period he served in OSRC, even as an Award-winning Journalist.
“An indigene of Owo, Sola was a talented young man and one of the state’s brightest. He was a promising Broadcast Journalist with clear vision and purpose. He will be sorely missed “.
Meanwhile, people in the real world always say, when something terrible happens, that the sadness and loss and aching pain of the heart will lessen as time passes, but I don’t think such saying will be applicable in the case of Shola Ilesanmi.
During my service year in Lokoja, Shola never relented asking me to open my online newspaper because he could see the dexterity in me. He told me to open it, so that the little commercial news I get could serve as a source of income for me until I get a standard job “.
” It will interest you to know that, there is nothing I will write, Shola will always read it, screenshot any error in the write-up (if there is any) and call my attention to it privately on Whatsapp. If he discovered that I was not online, he would make a phone call “.
” I have come to a judgement that Shola’s death is a personal loss to me because this is a person who believed in my ability. This is a man who believed that I am too good for where I am presently. Sometimes, he will call around 1am to send my CV or apply for a particular job he discovered that it could change my story for good “.
” Not long ago, he said, “Alaye mi (my guy) I am not happy with where you are. You don’t have to relent. Let’s keep pushing because I know you are too good for where you are, that place you are working is just for a short time, that is not where you should be. Have you reshaped your CV?. Send it to me on Whatsapp, don’t worry, you will get there”.
To me, Shola was a man of his words, a man of peerless honesty and boundless love, an icon of leadership. He was unassuming, so humble and hard-working that the Webster Dictionary made a mistake by not adopting his portrait as the image, illustrating the virtue of hard-work and humility.
Shola was a father, friend, advicer, a mentor and a confidant . To his other colleagues, especially in Ondo State, he was a close ally and a dependable friend. He was always enthusiastic about his work. In fact, he deserves a post-humour award for his promptness at his duty post.
No doubt, he served Ondo state government to the fullest. His death could be compared to that of Olubunmi Afuye and Sweet Steve of Orange FM. They died unexpectedly.
” Shola will be missed by all, especially for his cheerfulness and friendly disposition to everybody but the consolation, though, is that he did not die in vain. He actually made his mark and no doubt, his footprint on the sand of victory will continue to celebrate the virtues “.
The consolation is the non-realisation of the fact that the owner of life and living can take it without notice that makes most of us play God. Our prayer is that the almighty God will grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss occasioned by his untimely death and grant him a peaceful repose in eternity.
Sleep on, Agba Reporter! .
May your gentle soul rest in peace.