by Frank Goka
We grew up with your name ringing in our ears daily. We saw you with the cocoa farmers carrying cocoa beans from the hinterlands to the feeder roads for export. We saw you with the railway workers building tracks to transport our mineral resources, cash-crops and edibles. And I was among the school kids that stood by the Kumasi-Kejetia road to welcome you and Gen. Babaginda (then Nigeria’s Head of State) to Kumasi.
Again, I was among the crowd that witnessed your “raid” on Ashaiman to desilt choked gutters with your shovels and pick-axes; and I read about similar “operations” at Nima and Osu. I was in the stands at the Independence Square with my late uncle—Mr Copperfield Fiagbedu to witness the grand durbar you held for Prez Clinton & Hillary as the first sitting American President to have visited Ghana and Africa. You were once my Commander-in-Chief and I was on Parade at El-Wak Stadium to partake in the Armed Forces’ send-off durbar which hitherto, was your last interaction with the Forces prior to you relinquishing power in 2000.
In 2017, I frequented your office to invite you as the Distinguished Guest Speaker to our CEANA Convention held at Tarrytown, NY, in my capacity as the then Organizing Secretary of the United Volta Association (UVA)—one of the dynamic non-profit African organizations in the diaspora.
You stood for the ordinary citizen and promoted our African heritage. You built wealth for Ghana but left office an ordinary man—a trait that etched your name and image in the hearts of Ghanaians, Africans and the world at large. You envisioned “VISION 2020” for Ghana where you desired to see a more united , better developed and self-reliant Ghana. Ghana without poverty; and Ghana that will not see people go to bed on empty stomachs!
LITTLE DID I KNOW THAT, YOUR “VISION 2020” AGENDA WOULD RATHER SYMBOLIZE AND SIGNAL THE NADIR OF YOUR LIFE IN THE YEAR 2020..!!
What an irony..!
Was it pre-destined? And did it happen as in the prophetic world where great men clairvoyantly foretell when they would dine with our Creator? Or, it was by your maecenatism with the hydra-headed masked-opponents at the dining table with your bare hands, but forgot to simply do “take-away” or “Uber-Eat” when it appears they had hidden the long-spoons?
Were they “dwarfs”? Were they “evils”? Or they were like some of those venomous insects that clad in attractive “adinkra” cloths like you once stated in a broken Twi viz “_S3 aboabi b3ka woa, na wafra ntoma_”. Hmmmmmm..!!
Some of us had propounded that even if you wanted to eat their “Banku” you could do it “Virtually” to at least enable you “stay at home” and sniff the aroma from afar. Alas! we were only watering the rock hoping it would stay wet! Well, things had already fallen apart and the falconer can no longer hold the falcons.
But Papa J...was that the “Will” you signed? We knew you to be an ORDINARY man who detested flamboyancy and profligacy; however, we are well aware that you are a man of rich culture and tradition. You are a bonafide Ewe but bigger than that by all stretches of imagination.You belonged to ALL TRIBES and CULTURES and would have loved to see a cosmopolitan traditional ensembles performing to send you peacefully to the land yonder. So I ask again, was this shambolic, hasty, defective and culturally slanted funeral your autograph?
I have the urgency to ask because, last year, when even the Village Cock that serves as the time-keeper was found dead on a path at Tregui—my Village on Anloland, the Chief was notified and thence the “Gong-Gong Beater” who is the Commander-in-chief of Information in the Village announced the death to the entire Village-folks as ordered by the Chief. The Oracles were consulted to find the cause of death and seek antidotes to avert future similar deaths to any other animals, insects and pests—Yes, including even mosquitoes! Thereafter, all clansmen came together in harmony but mournfully to bury the Cock per hygiene customs.
Papa YEVUVI, this precedent is the reason why I am being sebaceous to ask...was that the “Will” an African icon like you, left behind?
Well, you are of the Anlo-Ewe tribe; and we are known for mysterious occurrences amongst us—“..._dunorme, mase emenya_” Perhaps, this is one of them.
Ahhhh “JJ”..! It saddens my heart that, I still can’t feel sad enough Papa J..! However, God knows best. We shall find solace in your deeds and words!
FAREWELL OUR KING, THE LIBERATOR, THE GRASSROOT-MAN , THE MAN WHO GAVE “POWER TO THE PEOPLE” —AWAKLASU J.J RAWLINGS!