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Opinions of Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Columnist: Anthony Obeng Afrane

Mahama's right to return in 2016, gave momentum to the Year of Return in 2019

Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia

2019, was declared by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the “Year of Return” for Africans in the Diaspora, as part of its commemoration of the 400th year since the first slave ship from Africa landed in Virginia. The declaration and related events were aimed at reviving the unification of Africans on the continent with their Diaspora brethren.

This was a fantastic initiative by all standards that must be applauded. That notwithstanding, we can never mention the "Year of Return" without giving credit to H.E. John Dramani Mahama for his role in the homecoming agenda of Africans in the Diaspora.

On December 28, 2016, he granted 34 Ghanaian citizenship to Africans in the Diaspora. At an event to launch the "Right to Return" project, President Mahama said: "I'm not giving you anything in citizenship, you are already citizens of this continent, I'm only giving you the right that was taken away from you."

"Let me say that in doing this, I deserve no thanks or praise because I'm giving back to you what rightfully belongs to you," he continued.

This is a clear justification of the fact that former President Mahama is the initiator of the homecoming of Africans in the Diaspora agenda in Ghana which cannot be disputed. The closest claim one can make is that the "Year of Return" was a continuation of Mahama's "Right to Return."

This is what great and visionary leaders do; they set the pace for others to follow. That is Mahama for you. I am still in shock at how we ever allowed him to slip away.

Nevertheless, we still have hope, and we cannot help but agree with Charles Wesley that the Lord has been his strength.

According to the Bible, for those God foreknew, He predestined and in the end, He glorified. President Mahama's life is predestined and will end in glory. The Captain of Israel's Host will guide him and will never abandon him in 2024.