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Banjul Muslim Elders, others pay tribute to Archbishop Tilewa Johnson

Jan 30, 2014, 9:34 AM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

The Committee of Banjul Muslim Elders, Pipeline Mosque Foundation and Night of St. Peter and St. Paul are the latest to pay their condolences to the late Rt. Revd Dr Solomon Tilewa Ethelbert Willie Johnson, first Archbishop of the Internal Province of West Africa and the Ninth Primate and Metropolitan of the Church of the Province of West Africa, who passed away on Tuesday 21 January 2014.

The delegation, among others, included the Imam Ratib f Banjul, Alhagie Cherno Alieu Mass-Kah, mayor of Banjul Abdoulie Bah, Alhagie Dr Malick Samba, Alhagie Sheriff Badjan of the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council and Archbishop Rev Dr Daniel Yinkah Sarfo of the Internal Province of Ghana.

Speaking at the late Archbishop Johnson’s house in Fajara, speaker after speaker led by Dr Alieu Mboge, of the Committee of Banjul Muslim Elders said: “The sorrow is felt just as much as it is worth; therefore the spontaneous and widespread outpourings of sympathy for the loss of Archbishop Dr Solomon Tilewa Johnson is a telling testament of the high worth in which he was held, and the wide appeal he had among Gambians and non-Gambians alike. He will be greatly missed.

“I have with me messages of condolence from the Imam Ratib and the Committee of Banjul Muslim Elders. We can do little else than record our heartfelt sorrow at a loss which has befallen not only the Johnson family but the whole nation, Christian and Muslim alike. May God give us strength and wisdom to continue the good works he had begun; and to the family, please be assured of our continued prayers and support,” Mboge stated.

“May God have mercy on his soul”, he concluded.

Sheriff Badjan, speaking on behalf of the President of the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council described the late Rt. Rev Dr Solomon Tilewa Johnson as a good person.

According to him, Allah said people who are closer to us (Muslims) are Christians, noting that it was not by accidents that they paid their condolences.

“We have lost one of us”, he said, while praying for his good deeds to welcome him in his second life.

Archbishop Rev Dr Daniel Yinkah Sarfo, Internal Province of Ghana, said Archbishop Rt. Rev Dr Solomon Tilewa Johnson was there for everybody - not just Christians.

He described the visit of the elders of the Muslim community, to pay their condolences to the late Rt. Rev Dr Solomon Tilewa Johnson, as a clear indication that Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters and should support one another as we have been doing.

“Your presence here is a manifestation that he was here for everyone, not just Christians, but also Muslims and the world at large”, Dr Sarfo stated.

His life touched many lives, he noted; “he was a champion of inter-faith dialogue”.

“He worked for humanity in the country and the world at large”, he said, while calling on all to continue to work together as we are all one.

“All those who watch this will know that Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters”, he remarked, adding, “we hope that the relationship will continue to grow from strength to strength”.

Mother Precilla Johnson, wife of the late Rt. Rev Dr Solomon Tilewa Johnson, said she was indeed humbled with the presence of the various delegations, adding this has gladden her heart that his Muslim brothers are here.

“I am touched beyond words”, she said, adding that her late husband recently attended two ‘gamos’ to which he was invited, and even spent the night there.

“He always carried the message that Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters anywhere he went to in the world,” she pointed stated.

“Leaving your businesses and other duties as well respected people in the country, and coming here is a clear testimony of the relationship between Christians and Muslims in the country. This is really touching - you did a wonderful thing for this family”.

“I thank you for your kindness”, she said further, adding, “I’m grateful for your brotherliness and solidarity”.

The death of her husband almost left her devastated, she said, but was quick to note that she has to celebrate his life.

“He was a celebrated man, and so we shall celebrate,” she said.

Alh. Abou Dandeh Njie, President Pipeline Mosque Foundation, described the death of the late Rt. Rev Dr Solomon Tilewa Johnson as the loss of a dear friend.

He described the Gambia as a very small country, with everybody related in one way or the other somehow.

The former Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) president described the late Rt. Rev Dr Solomon Tilewa Johnson as a pious gentleman, and also a keen sportsman who died young.

“We miss him and will continue to miss him, because has been a role model for Gambia,” he stated, noting that he was someone we can feel proud of.

“We hope Allah will grant him peace in paradise”, he prayed.

Alhaji Dawda Jagne said he had worked with the late Rt. Rev Dr Solomon Tilewa Johnson for six years, adding that if they wanted someone trustworthy and honest, the late Archbishop Johnson was the man.

James Gomez of Night of St. Peter and St. Paul said, “the late Rt. Rev Dr Solomon Tilewa Johnson was a soldier of the Lord and has fought gallantly.

‘‘He does not only work for the Church but also for The Gambia and world at large, he pointed out, while praying for his children to follow suit.’’ Tom Bright, Vice President of the Diocesan Standing Committee, in his vote of thanks thanked everyone for the demonstration of solidarity.

Other speakers included Oreme Joiner, who chaired the ceremony, Monseigneur Jacques Boston, Diocese of Guinea and Guinea Bissau, Rev Gabriel Leonard Allen, and T. G. G. Senghore, former Governor Central Bank of the Gambia, among others.

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