What a wonderful person!
In a tribute to his friend who died seven years ago, Steve Ilo wrote: “The world has lost a good man, a friend, a brother and a confidant. A man with a heart of gold, a man who lived a life of purpose and fulfillment. You brought hope and sunshine to many family hearts.
Steve may have written his own epitaph.
For Steve we know all this and more.
He is such a gentleman!
Although Steve and I attended the University of Benin in the early 80s, our paths did not cross.
Even though they are both students of the Faculty of Arts, they still do not stop.
Although we were both athletes at the University (Steve was a topclass swimmer, while I played tabletennis), our paths did not cross.
We met in The Guardian newspaper. When I was at the Feature Desk, Steve belonged to the Special category of journalists who made journalists famous; This is a journalist who cuts the fat from bad grammar, spelling mistakes from stories that journalists in the field bring.
He is diligent and very thorough.
Naturally, his boss loved him.
Because he is so easy-going, he has made many friends in the newsroom.
Steve left The Guardian for PUNCH. I went too The Guardian for PUNCH.
If I succeed in becoming the Editor of PUNCH from November 1996 – December 2001, it’s because I think Steve is one of my very reliable colleagues.
He is our Chief Sub-Editor.
That is, they are responsible for creating headlines for front page stories and designing the pages.
I can’t remember an instance where I had to question his judgment. He is a thorough professional.
When he had to leave The Punch for greener pastures, he must have made six trips to my office before mustering the courage to speak to me.
And when I told the Chairman that Steve was leaving us, he could only say: GENTLEMAN STEVE!
Our hearts are saddened to see Steve go so badly. It’s true what they say the good Lord takes the best.
A family man, Steve loved his family. For him, his wife Lilian, who was found in The Guardian, is “a special gift from heaven”.
They call him VIRTUOUS.
His children: Ifeanyi and Kelechi are “my friends and joy”.
Undoubtedly, the road was a rude surprise.
For us colleagues and friends, we have lost a good man. Our consolation is that the Angels are glad that they have gained a gentle soul.
I commend this passage to all of us: “Do not let your heart be troubled; In my Father’s house there are many places: if it is so, I will tell you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and welcome you to his presence; so that in my dwelling place, you will also be there.” John 14:1-3.
Gbemiga Ogunleye, a journalist and lawyer, is the editor of PUNCH and former provost of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism.
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