In a letter conveying the news to him, Swaebou Conateh of the Dippakunda-based Gambia Communication Agency and Baroueli Enterprises, the publishers of “The Gambia News and Report” weekly magazine, reasoned that Bishop Tilewa Jonhson’s selection was because of his recent election as the Ninth Archbishop and Primate of the 38 member Province of West Africa’s Anglican Church, making him the first Gambian Bishop to hold such position.
The Magazine’s management recalled that it was at the 28 September, 2012 Special Synod of the West Africa Section of the Anglican Communion’s Church of the Province of West Africa (CPWA), held at Suacoco, Bong County, Liberia, “the lot fell on you,” already the first Gambian Bishop, to be also elected the Ninth Archbishop of the Anglican Church of the Province of West Africa, which is one of the 38 Provinces of the Church headed by a Primate and Archbishop.
The Anglican Communion, established in 1951, is a group of autonomous episcopally governed reformed churches in communion with the UK-based See of Canterbury. There are about 80 million members of the Communion in over 800 dioceses grouped in 38 national churches or regional provinces, each headed by a Primate and Archbishop and among which is the Church of the Province of West Africa (CPWA) comprising Cameroun, Cape Verde Islands, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.
It is “In view of this singular achievement on your part, along with various others at the national and international levels, at the level of the church and in the country’s affairs; in the field of education and in terms of service to The Gambia and to humanity as a whole, as can be seen from the account of your record of service, that we designate you our “Person of the Year 2012.”
Among others, President, Synod of the Anglican Diocese of The Gambia; Chairman, Board of Governors, Rev. J. C. Faye Memorial School, Banjul; you also served as Chairman of Independent Electoral Commission; Chairman of the Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (TANGO); First Chairman of GAMWORKS, Member, Commonwealth Observer group to 2 General and Regional Elections in Guyana, December 1997; Chairman, Coordinating Committee for Liberian Refugees (CCLR), Banjul; Teacher at Gambia High School, Banjul; Chairman, National Dialogue Team, Strategy for Poverty Alleviation; Chairman, National Committee on Christianity, Population andDevelopment, and membership of National Population Commission; Council of Elders for Conflict Prevention and Management in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); and Chairman, Continental Committee for Ministry to the Uprooted, All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), Nairobi.
The publishers of the “News and Report,” stated that Johnson has met the criteria set for the naming of the magazine’s award winner. The three point criteria for the selection as given in the letter stated that:
1.The Person of the year must be someone who, through his work, profession or personal endeavour, is judged to have contributed the most to the public welfare and to advancing the country’s development in the interest of all Gambians.
2. He or she must have contributed significantly in enhancing in a direct and tangible form, the social and economic status of Gambians as a whole
3.He or she would have put in place for posterity facilities and or infrastructures and other achievements that can serve as a lasting memorial of his contributions no national development.
Thus, the letter added that the management of “The Gambia News and Report Weekly” magazine is satisfied that Archbishop Johnson has met the criteria set out above, and because of these recognitions “you received and continue to receive nationally and internationally, through appointments by the international church and interdenominational movement, the United Nations, the Commonwealth and others, and which have only placed you in a unique position to bring honour and high regard to yourself and your country of origin, and because of your career successes in and out of government and the church, therefore, our management, satisfied that you have met the criteria set above, has accordingly designated you the magazine’s “Person of the Year 2012.”
The letter concluded by congratulating him on the “well merited recognition for what you havebeen able to achieve through your profession in the annals of our country’s history.”
“The Gambia News and Report” magazine, which started publication as a monthly in 1992, has since June 1996 been published weekly. The magazine’s Editor and Publisher is Swaebou Conateh, who is also the Managing Director of the publishing company, The Gambia Communication Agency and Baroueli Enterprises.
Previous Man/Gambian/Person of the Year named by the paper were: Amadou Samba, Pa Sallah Jagne, Dr. Ebrima Samba, Dr. Lenrie Peters, Lamin Waa Juwara, Isatou Njie-Saidy, Bye Lamin Jobe, Mrs. Harriet Ndow, Imam Karamo Touray, Ousman Conateh (Fisko), Muhammed Jah, the late Deyda Hydara (posthumous), Pa Sallah Jeng, Bolong Sonko and Mustapha Njie (joint-winners),President Yahya Jammeh, Dr. Isatou Touray, Kora Maestro Jaliba Kuyateh, Sir DawdaKairaba Jawara and Lawyer Fatou Bom Bensouda.