Liberia Bids “Gina” Farewell Today -Thousands of Well-Wishers Expected At Funeral Service

MONROVIA – Tens of thousands of citizens are gathering today to pay tribute to a renowned Liberian journalist, who during this lifetime cut across diverse segments of the Liberian population, and was credited for culturing countless young professionals.  Fallen Philip N. Wesseh reportedly struggled with diabetes and finally succumbed mid-September this year. Pundits are predicting a huge assembly of people, mainly of the inky fraternity, and powerful eulogies given the fact that the fallen journalist was an anchor point of many in the Liberian society. The Analyst reports.   

The late veteran journalist, Philip N. Wesseh, also affectionately called “The Gina” by his professional colleagues, died on September 14, 2022 at the JFK Memorial Hospital in Monrovia. He will have his final journey to eternity this weekend as thousands of mourners including government officials, professional colleagues, the Liberian media fraternity, family members, well-wishers and friends are expected to throng the edifice of the Trinity United Methodist Church in New Kru Town, Bushrod Island, to bid the deceased media guru a befitting farewell.

According to a statement from the family through his wife, Mrs. Tepla Toe Wesseh, and Daughter, Ms. Mary Wesseh, the mortal remains of the former Managing Director of the Inquirer Newspaper will be removed from the St. Moses Funeral Parlor on the Somalia Drive (Japan Free Way) this morning, Friday, October 28, 2022. He will then on the day be taken to the Trinity United Methodist Church in New Kru Town, Bushrod Island, where funeral rites will begin at 10 am and thereafter the interment will take place at the Brewerville Cemetery, outside Monrovia.

The Liberian community woke up to the shocking news of the passing of  Mr. Wesseh, one of the country’s enterprising journalists in the early morning hours of September 14, 2022 at the John F. Kennedy Medical Hospital where veteran Philip N. Wesseh had been admitted following a protracted illness.

The well-rounded media practitioner and trainer, who doubled as Managing Editor of the Inquirer Newspaper and an instructional staff at the University of Liberia, had sought medical attention in Ghana in April this year through the kind intervention of President George M. Weah who provided funds for the ailing veteran journalist to undergo thorough treatment in Ghana.

Minutes after news of Attorney Wesseh’s demise made the rounds on the Internet, glowing tributes started pouring out from institutions and individuals that have benefited from the virile service and fountain of knowledge that ‘Gina’ opened up to aspiring journalists over three decades of his journalism career as well as his contributions to national development.

President George Manneh Weah, who had earlier provided funds for his treatment in Ghana  described as deeply saddening, the death of the iconic Liberian journalist who passed away on Wednesday, September 14 at the John F. Kennedy Hospital and consoled with the bereaved family for the unfortunate occurrence.

Information Minister Ledgerhood Rennie, in an official release on behalf of the government, described his death as a “massive blow” to the journalism community in the country.

“He was the central figure that all journalists – young and old – could reach out to for wise counsel and direction,” the Information Minister said then.

Minister Rennie noted that “Philip earned for himself respect and influence in the journalism community for the “congenial, but professional relationship he formed”. He said the fallen journalist “safeguarded the public trust”, while keeping the true values of the profession alive.

The umbrella institution of media practitioners in the country, the Press Union of Liberia, in a release described the death of Atty. Wesseh as “a great loss” to the media community and has charged emerging journalists to emulate the practices of the fallen veteran, noting that he will be missed.

PUL also opened a book of condolence where sympathizers wrote in various eulogies on the passing of the late Wesseh.

For the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA), Gina’s passing has left a deep void on the media landscape.

The group further stated: “We are deeply saddened by the passing today of veteran Journalist Philip N. Wesseh of the Inquirer Newspaper. GINA as he was affectionately called, was a consummate professional whose impact on the media in Liberia is profound. He was a boss and mentor to many including several ALJA members. We extend our sincere condolences to his bereaved family, the staff of the Inquirer Newspaper, and the Liberian media. May his soul rest in perpetual peace and may light eternal shine upon him”.

The late Wesseh, aged 64, had a flourishing and illustrious career in journalism spanning some 40 years which he started upon graduation from the D. Tweh High School, formerly William Richard Tolbert High School in 1981.

Besides the Inquirer which he personally midwifed on the media landscape on January 15, 1991 with its maiden edition as one of the oldest post-war newspapers in Liberia, Mr. Wesseh also worked with two other local dailies, the DAILY STAR and DAILY OBSERVER Newspapers during the 1980s.

Until his death yesterday, Wesseh did not only teach journalism or mass communications at various tertiary institutions including the University of Liberia, United Methodist University and Jireh, among others, he also nurtured many journalists in the profession through workshops, seminars and vacationing programs as well as internships at the Inquirer Newspaper.

He studied Mass Communications (Journalism) and Economics at the University of Liberia and earned a Law degree at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia.

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