A local adage goes thus, "When a dog remembers what it ate, it begins to lick its mouth". This was applicable to some journalists and none journalists in the state who showered love and encomiums on the editor-in-chief of the Evangelist Newspaper, Mr Solomon Okpo, as he celebrated his 63rd birthday, weekend. Speaking with Weekend Pioneer, Mr Idorenyin Umoren, the production manager of Pioneer Newspapers described Mr Okpo as a man that rose from grass to grace. He informed that the editor-in-chief started work with Pioneer Newspapers back in the days of Chronicle Newspaper as a production staff. "He was not dismissed but because he aimed high in life, he later resigned and moved on. Today, Okpo is a consultant, publisher and editor-in-chief of Evangelist Newspaper. He has done very well. "He is hardworking, pushing, very courageous and a force to reckon with. At a point, I told him he is inspiring me. He is a great inspiration." Comrade Mfon Hanson, the state assistant secretary of NUJ, Akwa Ibom State, described Okpo as a quintessential hardworking man, intelligent and straightforward, has a reputation for blunt speaking and can choose between good and bad distinctively. "He is a no nonsense man but takes delight in rewarding hard work. He recognizes excellence and celebrates it. Yes, he is my boss when it has to do with journalism practice, especially in the areas of creative writings, interviews and tape transcription. "Sir, as God has decided to bless you with another year to celebrate your natal day today, I hereby move a motion that God should bless you, enlarge your coast and expand your horizon, as you bask in the euphoria of God's love and protection, spiritual endowments, long life and foresight, while you continue in your dignified honour." On his part, Mr Etieno Ibanga, of AKBC studios, Ntak Inyang, informed that Mr Solomon Okpo, a veteran journalist in 2007 opened the door and imbued in him the knowledge of print journalism when he joined The Evangelist Newspaper for his industrial training and it is on record that in 2009 when the first ever flight touched Akwa Ibom soil, his news was on the front page of the paper. "God used him to pick me from the level of ignorance to that of awareness. He is always encouraging, inspiring and looking forward to seeing his products becoming world class brands, wrap with "Appeals" and present with unbeatable unique selling point. "He is more than a mentor; he is a father, counsellor, motivator and my adviser. Whatever I am today, whatever I will achieve in journalism would not have been possible if God had not used him to offer his patient tutelage. He is a media trainer par excellence with incredible passion and zeal for the profession. His commitment to ethics and professionalism remains unrivalled. "Whenever I reflect on my foray into journalism, the timeless word of Isaac Newton- the epigraph to this piece - flash through my mind. I may lack the temperaments and conditions that emboldened Newton to come up with his groundbreaking inventions, but there is a quality I share with him. It is the ability to identify mentors, take a seat on their shoulders and watch as they light the paths through the various phases of life and career. "I join millions of people the world over to celebrate with this unique and distinguished personality of our time." Another journalist, Mr Joseph Atainyang, said, "There are bosses, and indeed, there are bosses. Some will choose the path of compromise, but I was very privileged, because the word, compromise does not exist in his operative production lexicon. He gave me the ladder of ethical discipline. "A very staunch believer in the journalism ethics, one who will not sacrifice truth on the altar of freebies, Solomon Okpo raised me in the way of the profession, inculcating in me, the perpetual habit of fierceness, frontal pursuit of truth and factuality, in all true sense of the word. "A special breed in all perspective, my first journalism boss, Evangelist Solomon Okpo, I am aware that this testimonies would certainly be corroborated by other brothers or sisters of mine, who may have spent some time with him. He is a leader who looks at you and understands that perhaps you have a middle belt challenge. Of course, he will give it an instant solution. "Today, I am indebted to him as my first boss. As he meets heaven today with the approval for the renewal of his license for further existence, I humbly join the long file of his friends, colleagues and family members to wish that he will continue to enjoy the superfluous goodness of God. May his life remain a testimony to many more generations." Responding, the editor-inchief, Mr Solomon Okpo said, "Can thank you be enough? May I use this post to thank all my wonderful friends, colleagues and relations. My special thanks go to Mr "Sports" Paul Bassey who stormed my house with his aides to led praise/worship and prayers, supervised health protocols and social distancing as directed by the NCDC/government during my quite glorious birthday on Sunday June 7, believing God to have a normal crowd birthday next year. "I thank you for your calls, thank Radio Nigeria, Atlantic FM's family who woke me up very early in the morning to wish me Happy Birthday!. Thank you for the words of encouragements and wonderful tributes. Thank you for not hiding how much you love me." Present at the event which took place at the NUJ Press Centre were: SSA to governor on sports, Elder Paul Bassey; Pastor Anietie Ukpe, DG, AKBC; Police PRO, CSP Fredrick Nnudam; NUJ state chairman, Amos Etuk; acting chairman of Uyo LGA, Ukai Udeme; former Pioneer GM, Ikpong Essien-Udom; Pioneer production manager, Mr Idoreyin Umoren, other Chapel chairmen, among others.