Johnson N. Gwaikolo — In Leadership and Service

By Conmany B. Wesseh 

The sad passing this day of Hon. Dr. Johnson N. Gwaikolo is yet another irreparable and irreplaceable loss to the United Methodist Church and to the nation; and even more so to his dear wife, his lovely children and the entire family; as well as the uncountable friends he made in the church and during his admirable and selfless public service.

JNG, the ease, and I had been on the phone, texting and voicing until 10:51 on the night  of February 18. We were comparing notes on the financial contribution of the United Methodist Church Legislative Caucus to the rally at the 191st Annual Conference that ended same day in Buchanan City. He reported US$3500 as he was one of two fundraisers. We also consulted about his possible successor as Coordinator of the Caucus. We considered Sen. Bartekwa, Rep. Moima Briggs and Rep. Romeo Quioh; and after consultation, we thought to leave it to the Caucus with Sen. Bartekwa, as senior, being preferred.

It was a deadly shock for me to hear of his passing 12 hours later.

I have known JNG since 1991, during the early days of the civil war when Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer led the Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU). 

In that Government he was the Deputy Speaker and later Speaker of the Interim Legislative Assembly (ILA) which had other fairly young fighters for social justice such as Dusty Wolokolie, John Kanweaye, etc. Since the main mandate of IGNU was to end the war and restore peace, I had to work relentlessly with him and the ILA in my position as Special Advisor to President Sawyer on the Peace Process. JNG, a gentlemen par excellence, a consummate negotiator, a dedicated peacemaker, an astute educator, and a great political leader and I found ourselves along useful and memorable paths for peace in the country.

No wonder why fate had us spending his last night talking about leadership and service to humanity in Liberia.

May His Soul Rest in Perfect Peace.