By Theo Nicol
I spoke with Philip just a day before Christmas. We spoke for a rather long time. We talked about our journey and how far we’ve all come. When I told him that I was enjoying my retirement quietly at Russel village doing my gardening and building contracts, he said that he planned to retire in 5 years and move to Kosso, his home village where he is already building a night club in line with his retirement plan. But that plan was abruptly cut short by an Okada rider who absconded after fatally hitting a man who had big dreams and big projects.
Just yesterday, our mutual friend, Chief Sam Sumana called me to inform me that Philip was lying unconscious at Choitram Hospital after an accident in Kosso. We prayed for his recovery, we hoped that he would come out fighting. But like the plans Philip was working on, that was not to be. Just this morning, while I was watering my garden, the dreaded call came. “Theo, Philip don die o “!!!!!. That’s just what I never wanted to hear. That’s exactly what I had been fighting against since yesterday. Denying in my heart that the inevitable could happen. Now it’s a grim reality. My friend, colleague, and co-rider on the journey of life had his trip cut short by a careless Okada rider. Not by hypertension that he suffered from for years, not by the illness of any sort. That is what intensifies my pain! Philo is gone. My dear brother since 2008 is gone. I still refuse to believe the reality because we had just a few days ago discussed how we will be spending time together in my resort and in his night club when he joins me in our Peninsula village in 2027 as Kosso is just 10 minutes’ drive from Russel. Oh, this life! I’m gradually losing respect for life.
Our profession has lost a fighter. Philip was controversial, but he knew his purpose. He was loathed by the establishment, but he was courageous. He had many battles from different sources, but he was undaunted. His later life was filled with sorrow as he lost loved ones to death. His mother and brother, Alfred died within a week and were buried the same day. He lost many of his staff to death too. From Alex Terena, and ABM Kamara some years ago to Patricia Ganda and Aruna Turay, just last month and this month. He faced all those trials and tribulations like a lion, not knowing that just today, he too was going to answer His master’s call. It is indeed a tragedy. But Jehovah can never be questioned. The pain is still fresh but may his son, Philip jr., his family, SLAJ and the media One family must take heart. For as the bible instructs, we must mourn like believers, not like infidels. May Philip Neville find rest in the bosom of the Lord.
By Theo Nicol,
Former Deputy Minister of Communications and Information in the APC government of former President Ernest Bai Koroma; veteran journalist in Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
Neville was no Saint! But give him his due!
When you die, the good is oft interred with the bones. So said Shakespeare in Julius Caesar.
The comments over the death of Veteran Journalist Phillip Neville, have reached a new level of political diatribe and hate.
Some misguided members of the Ruling class who suffered the brunt of his piercing pen, accuse him of blackmail and victimization of the innocent.
We have forgotten so soon, Neville the daredevil’s exposures of corruption, extrajudicial killings, and siphoning off millions in the guise of Per Diem allowances. Even the APC was never spared his lambasts.
Yes! In the field of journalism, you’re loved to be hated, even by your peers.
In today’s Sierra Leone, you’re demeaned because of your success. Neville built a Media empire through hard work and dedication. Give the devil his due.
Neville was never perfect, and so are we all! Why smear his reputation in death? Why did you not challenge him with the facts while he was alive?
Shame unto you! Wait until your deaths and hear what your compatriots will say about you. Sure, you already know the gist.
Bury your hate in your hearts, because that is where it belongs. Let’s respect the dead if you will.
I know my eulogy already! How I wish I could hear the hypocrisy.
©️ Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara
The *Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ)* regrets to announce the death of our senior colleague, *PHILIP NEVILLE*, which sad event took place early today, Wednesday 28th December 2022 at the Choithram Memorial Hospital, Hill Station, Freetown.
Until his death, Mr. Neville was the owner and CEO of Media One Center (Standard Times Newspaper, Star Radio and Star TV). He was a former Vice President and Acting President of SLAJ.
We extend our sincere condolences to the bereaved family, relatives, friends, and the entire media fraternity.
Funeral arrangements will be announced later.
May the Lord have mercy upon him and grant him eternal rest in Perfect Peace.