Why should we weep when the weary ones rest,
In the bosom of Jesus supreme;
In the mansions of glory
Prepared for the blest?
For death is no more than a dream.
Only a dream, only a dream
Of glory beyond the dark stream,
How peaceful the slumber,
How happy the waking,
For death is only a dream.
The above lyrics is the second stanza of Death is only a dream composed by renowned hymnist Charles Walker Ray who lived from 1832 to 1917. Although the hymn was composed more than a century ago, and in spite of the many different renditions it has undergone over the course of time, its lyrics are still fresh and undiluted, and the message it carries therein is ever comforting. Given the fulfilled life our dear colleague Johnnie Aryeetey lived,the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) could not have found a better tribute to his memoryCharles WalkerRay’sDeath is only a drea.
Johnnie Aryeetey was a journalist par excellence who served his profession and Mother Ghana so well. At the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation where he worked for many decades, he rose through the ranks to become the Director of Television until his retirement. He was very instrumental in the development of many flagship programmes onGhana Television. One of such programmes, for which the nation may forever be indebted to him, is the election broadcasting on GTVahead of general elections to give platform to presidential candidates and political parties to present their policies and programmes to the people. If Johnnie was alive today, he would, perhaps, have been busier than the Electoral Commissioner, preparing to get this programmerunning for this year’s crucial elections in December.
To the GJA, Johnnie Aryeeteywas a pillar of support in many of our activities, especially our flagship annual GJA Media Awards, as he facilitated the live coverage of the event on GTV. Apart from that he served the GJA in many different capacities, and whenever duty beckoned from the Abdul Nasser Avenue at the Ringway Estates in Accra, he responded with alacrity. It was with such dedication and commitment that Johnnie sought the mandate of the inky fraternity in 2017 as presidential candidate in the GJA elections that year. But although fate did not smile on him to lead the Association, we are certain he is smiling in his grave now, knowing that he rendered immeasurable services to his beloved professional Association.
One thing Johnnie will be sorely remembered for is his mentoring acumen. He was ever ready to coach and inspire young journalists to fulfil their professional dreams. Many of his mentees have risen to become big names in the media industry. Another quality of Johnnie Aryeetey that cannot be lost on anybody is his high sense of discipline and professionalism. They were like his shirt on any time of the day – very straight, neat and crisp.
It is for the above reasons that the GJA was utterly devastated upon hearing the news about the death of Johnnie Aryeetey. We thought death was cruel to have summoned him too early. But as Charles Walker Ray admonishes in his evergreen hymn, death is only a dream, and we should not weep when the weary ones rest. So do we believe – that Johnnie Aryeetey’s death is only a dream. We shall forever hold you dearly and celebrate you in our heart for all the good services you rendered to the GJA.
To the bereaved family, we urge you not to drench yourselves in tears for the loss of our beloved colleague. Rather, you should be joyful, taking consolation in the biblical injunction that death is our gain. We pray the good Lord to strengthen you in these difficult moments.
Johnnie Aryeetey, as the rank and file of the GJA bid you farewell in this tribute, we do so with a heart of gratitude. May God grant you a restful place in His bosom. In our farewell bid, we also wish to do so in glowing tribute to your alma mater Accra Academy, which you took exceptional pride in, to say: