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Opinions of Sunday, 6 October 2013

Columnist: Xornam, Kofi Azumah

What a great man lost by mother Ghana

: prof. Kofi Awoonor!!!

As someone who can most often scan the atmosphere of Ghana properly. These are what I have observed the following high profile personalities to say about our beloved late Professor Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Information said, the president in a handwritten tribute, while transiting in London, enroute to New York, said: "I am shocked to hear the death of Prof Kofi Awoonor in the Nairobi Mall terrorist attack.”

“Such a sad twist of fate, to place Prof at the wrong place at the wrong time."

“Professor Awoonor was a writer, politician and traditionalist with great wit, sense of humour and very well spoken. He will be sorely missed by family, friends, and the NDC of which he was a committed member."

Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, has described the late Professor Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor as an internationalist and principled person who served his country and mankind. He said Prof. Awoonor was a “great role model and distinguished politician who generations yet unborn would continue to eulogise”. The Vice-President said this in a tribute when a high-powered delegation of the family of Prof. Awoonor and chiefs from the Anlo Traditional Area called on him at the Flagstaff House in Accra to officially announce Prof. Awoonor’s demise. He said the late Prof. Awoonor, the immediate past Chairman of the Council of State, devoted himself to the nation’s development and made his rich wisdom available to improve the welfare of Ghanaians. “Although his tenure as the Chairman of the Council of State expired, Prof. Awoonor was still relevant and was available to give his best for the development of the entirety of Ghanaians. “For many of us the event seemed far away, but it has brought sadness to our homes. These events have a way of distracting our human lives,” he said. The Vice-President said although it was sad and painful that “he left us in this dramatic way, we must have consolation in the fact that his rich values will continue to guide and guard us”. “On behalf of President John Dramani Mahama and Ghanaians, I wish to express condolences to the larger family of Prof. Awoonor,” Mr Amissah-Arthur said. Vice President Amissah-Arthur on behalf of President John Dramani Mahama paid tribute to the Prof Awoonor. “He was very principled, caring and compassionate and a great role model… We are celebrating a life, not to be mourning for him,” he said. Vice President Amissah-Arthur added: “His was a life well lived, and we thank the Lord for sharing him with us.” He said Ghanaians would recognise the contribution the late Prof Awoonor made. He said Government would do what is required to send him off in a most respected way. The former President J.J Rawlings wrote in a book of condolence opened in memory of Professor Awoonor, that: “On the onset of the 31st December 1981 revolution when integrity was very high you were one of the bold and leading advocates of the PNDC principles and we thank you for it.”

Also, this was what NDC-UK/IRELAND Chapter Chairman, Honourable Horace Ankrah have to say; Prof Awoonor, I remember the days when you would come to our house to pick me up for a ride and to teach me how to carry myself in this life.

I remember my dad would say " hello Kofi come on in" and you would reply "no Chris I came to see Horace"

You taught me so many things and have always called me "Ankrah my son"....You knew what you saw in me.

Two weeks ago we met at the NDC NEC meeting in Madina and you said "my son Ankrah I want to see you often.." and I replied " sir I am off to the UK but will see you before I leave".......The Lord knew we were meeting for the last time.

For what you did for you did for your family Sika and co; for what you did for mother Ghana through education and governance and for what you did for the NDC Party I know for certain that Mother Ghana has lost a true son!!

Ghana will miss you!!!

I have lost a mentor nobody knew of as such. You did all that you could do for me when I was growing up as a young man at Cape Coast University campus and as a politician.

I have lost a mentor, Dad and a Friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May the Lord bless your soul for that!!


Becca’s tribute to the late Kofi Awoonor reads below: On the fifteenth August 2013 I left Nairobi to celebrate my birthday with the Masaai a few hours drive away from the capital. My trip to Kenya would have remained private but for this terror attack on the Westgate mall in which I spent most of my lunch periods during the few days that I stayed in Kenya. I never had the honour of meeting the now late, prof. Kofi Awonoor but most West Africans, especially Ghanaians of my generation who were educated under the West African Examination Council system of schooling met Awonoor through his poem ‘The Cathedral’. At that time and being students, I guess the main reason he got very popular and loved was because his poem was a nine line, one verse, masterpiece. Poems by Awonoor’s contemporaries like Wole Soyinka and Leopold Senghor, which we were tasked with committing to memory were lengthy and by our standards then, not very ‘cool’. If only any of the bird-brained criminals who slayed our distinguished professor had read ‘The Cathedral’, they would have had the sense of appreciating the noble man’s stance on imported religion. Awonoor, born in 1935 in the Keta district of southern Ghana, fought for the ‘African Cathedral’. But that nation has this weekend been reduced beyond restoration by persons suspected to be followers from a Cathedral of doom. Dramatist/Poet/Africanist and professor of the English language is passed to join his ancestors via a route most unimaginable. I Rebecca Acheampong (Becca) will always hail thy name.

Certainly, last but not the least the proud members and the enviable Kofi’s family (Friday born) will badly, sorely missed you for your invaluable contributions to nature and the family.



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