Mr. Richard Kojo Ellimah, the Executive Director for Center for Social Impact Studies, a civil society group based in Obuasi has scribbled one of the most heart touching tributes to the late Kessben Media Journalist, Mr. Eric Confidence Kojo Baah who passed on 16th October, 2016 at the Effiduasi government hospital.
The Natural Resources luminary who also doubles as an astute Journalist revealed in his tribute, the late Breaking News co-host was his student at the Kumasi based media institute IBM&J.
Below is the full tribute…
Tribute to a Friend….
It was a hazy Monday morning in January 2003 when I was ushered into the office of Mr. Owusu, Director of the Institute of Business Management and Journalism (IBM&J), unofficially Kumasi’s own version of the acclaimed Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ). I had met Mr. Owusu in December 2002 when I interviewed him on Shaft FM. After the interview he gave me an offer to teach in his school, an offer I couldn’t resist. I was studying at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and had a lot of time on my hands. Moreover it would be an opportunity to pursue a passion I loved: teaching.
Anyway, after the introductory conversation I was handed over to Mr. George Arthur, then the News Editor of Fox FM who showed me round the school and introduced me to the classes. I was to be the new Radio Broadcasting and Mass Communication Lecturer.
After the tour I was actually getting ready to go back to campus (KNUST) when a young lady (Sophia, Assistant class prefect) came to the Common Room and said it was time for Radio Broadcasting class. I calmly told her I would start teaching the following week. But she wouldn’t budge. Well, I had an inkling of the kind of class I was going to teach, JC15. Eventually I went.
Oh boy! What a noisy class I met. I asked everyone to introduce themselves. It was at this stage that a certain diminutive young man stood up to introduce himself. As he rose the whole class went into an uproar. “My name is Eric Confidence K. Baah”. Then I said rather impatiently “Young man can you give me your official name? I don’t like this Confidence nick name everyone calls you here”. With a serious look he responded “That is my official name Sir”.
That encounter started my 13 year friendship with the late Confidence K. Baah of Kessben FM and TV fame. In that class were students who had dreams. It is no surprise that most of them are now making it in their chosen fields of work. From my head I can recollect: Prince Osei Tutu (Rainbow Radio, Accra); Ridwan Issah-Khalifa, (Chronicle, Kumasi); Morgan Owusu (USA), Cecil Kwabena Opoku (Kumasi), Barbara Abena Kumah (GTV), Sualah Abdul-Wahab (GBC), isaac Nongya (Metro TV), Francis Dodovi (Special Aide to Ashanti Regional Minister), Elias Williams (Alliance Francais), Diana Aduhene (Kumasi), Lawrence Blay (Pastor in Takoradi), Alfred Kudaya, and many others.
Confidence was undoubtedly the live wire of the class. Always in a good mood, he infected the class with his humour. With him there was never a dull moment in class. His absence from class was therefore quickly noticeable.
Confidence’s appetite for knowledge was incredible. He always had questions up his sleeves. This was because he read a lot. I remember when after I taught the class Interviewing Skills we decided to do practicals in class. Confidence volunteered to be the interviewer. He was simply awesome. It was a joy to behold the animated political discussions that took place in class involving Confidence, Morgan, Osei Tutu, Issah and Dodovi. I always had to do my own background reading before going to class each week. I hated to be put on the spot by Confidence and his gang! But they were the reason I always looked forward to Tuesdays and Fridays.
Considering the potential these students showed in class I decided to break the rule in the school that permitted internship only in final year. First, I gave them a practical feel of radio talkshow when I brought Confidence, Morgan, Issah and Kudaya to Obuasi to participate in Shaft FM’s “Ghana This Week” current affairs program. I sat back and watched in admiration as they made insightful contributions to the program then hosted by Hon. John Alexander Ackon, now Ashanti Regional Minister. Furthermore during the short vacation I arranged and got them internship opportunities with Spirit FM and Kapital Radio.
Later when they started stringing for Kumasi Mail both Confidence and Issah sent me their stories to edit before publication. At Kessben I used to call Confidence after programs to do a review. Being the humble person he was, he would embrace every criticism and take it in good faith. The last time we spoke he complained that I had stopped sending him motivational messages. Apparently he used these messages for his program.
In keeping with his big dreams, Confidence together with Issah discussed the option of doing a top up degree course at the Christian Service University College. From here I advised them to pursue a Masters degree but not in Communication but in Development Studies, considering the nature of their jobs. So Confidence, Issah and Cecil enrolled at the KNUST for a Masters in Development Policy and Planning.
What Confidence lacked in physical stature, he made up for it in insatiable appetite for knowledge. He had big dreams. He wanted to study law. He wanted to be President of Ghana one day. But death cannot end these dreams. Confidence is alive. He still lives in the thousands of lives he has influenced. Like us, he was not perfect. But he paid his due.
My dear student and friend, your short but eventful life has taught us that dreams are achievable. You have also taught us that our lives do not belong to us. We live borrowed lives. One day the owner of our lives will call. We just have to be ready to answer the call. May your death serve as a perpetual reminder that it is appointed for us to die once, after which we face the judgment.
Confidence, I am privileged to have known you. Rest well, dear friend!