By Abu Bakarr Sulaiman Tarawally
There is so much we can say or mention in the media when it comes to talking about Brima Samura. Apart from the fact that you can say he served as one of the critical voices on Television and Radio in contemporary times. Brima Samura loved teaching Journalism and mentoring younger folks in the profession. He was able to carve a niche in the profession with a style of written narrative strict with precision –a narrative midway the historical present and telling stories in blunt and plain language.
Fearless; yes sometimes. A lot who used to watch him on set often love the bluntness with which he speaks. In actuality, he does lots of facts check going forward to confront issues because his nature was filled with a life of ‘arguing over issues’ and scoring points.
I want to spare details in talking more about controversy; rather I want to concentrate on his innovations. Samura believed that being in charge of content places him in vantage position to hammer content in what he used to describe as his penmanship best form.
So when his newspaper was not in circulation, he offered to edit a few press amongst them was the Sierra Express Media where I met the young man. Actually, I did not have the privilege of working in his team because I succeeded him in that role. He fell-out with the proprietor, Adeyemi Paul but still maintained a good relationship. He was still then very useful to me and often would call to commend me over some stories I used to handle in the realm of that newspaper’s editorial house-style.
He intervened sometimes when I used to handle some issues with heavy fist. The sledge hammer at that time slammed heavily on the then ACC boss who was his friend. What he did was to come between us and broker a truce. That was when I came to realise that Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara was nursing strong political ambitions to make the waves at some point in his life. To be honest, that was the beginning of my relationship with Mr. Kamara, thanks to a Brima Samura truce. Later my relationship with JFK became stronger and we became friends up till this moment.
Samura joined me at some point when I established the Daily Express newspaper in 2013, in a conciliatory role helping with editorial oversight with my young Editor Mustapha Sannassie Biro. He authored several feature stories, Op-Ed, and commentaries during his short stay. He left to re-establish the New Age newspaper. With luck on his side he came across a business friend who helped him register a blog online which he later named SaloneToday.com. That website is now popular –helping out newspapers that are not published online to stream their content and make a rich web-page. Again I played a role in that because he consulted me on that course.
Brima Samura was targeted and beaten up with dog chains as he described it, while covering the March 31st, presidential election run-off. In an interview I did with him over the phone in one of the editions of the weekend news and current affairs program: Information Highway at the SLBC, he told me that his crime was taking photo shoots of some politicians of the All People’s Congress amongst them was Dankay, the daughter of former President Ernest Bai Koroma. The others, he said, include Sanusi Bruski, Ibrahim Washingai Mansaray, former Mayor of the Freetown City Council, Herbert George Williams, one Moisa Kekura and others all being APC members, in the full view of the Sierra Leone Police at the Lumley community Mafa field, West end of Freetown.
For the intervention of Umaru Fofanah, the BBC reporter in Freetown and former president of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, he said his life and lives of few other colleagues who suffered the same fate would have perished. He spoke to me though in a very strong pace –giving me the impression how fast he was able to recover from the ghastly act in a very short time within 24 hours when the incident occurred.
At another engagement, he agreed with me on a date to be a part of Information Highway and the schedule topic was to nose-dive into allegations of monies in the form of donations and state resources misappropriated by the Ernest Bai Koroma regime as consequence of the mudslide and the Ebola crisis which left a distasteful inker in the mindset of Sierra Leoneans. That date is left to be filled by another journalist I would prefer in the nearest possible future. I knew he had researched over the topic to flow in the program, but God knows the best.
His death message met me in shock and I’m sure he left a vacuum too big in the profession to fill. His memories will linger on as I cannot recall every story in such a long time of being together. May his soul Rest in Peace and I continue to say to his bereaved family and relatives to take heart for the irreparable loss.