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Opinions of Saturday, 28 July 2012

Columnist: Abugri, George Sydney

Mills’s last Lazarus act and a vigil with the preacher man

By George Sydney abugri

What shall we say about the late president Mills who suddenly died on the nation and come to think of it, quite literally on his feet, on Tuesday afternoon? That strange though it may sound, he won a race he did not finish and became the first president in the nation’s political history to die before the end of his first term and only four months to the next elections?

That he paid his dues in patriotic service in full, having served as university teacher, vice-president, taxman, football club administrator and president?

That for some obscure reason, there had always been some obsession with the state of his health among his political opponents, to the extent that he was declared dead months to the 2008 election but that he did the Lazarus on them all, and went on to win the election?

That the scenario was played out with uncanny precision during the 2012 election campaign with some media reporting that that he was dead, and that the late president responded this time by breaking into a jog on arrival at KIA after a very recent trip to the US, to prove his physical fitness?

That his political opponents refused to be impressed and insisted he looked sick and frail? That when he did eventually die on Tuesday hours before a scheduled departure to Nigeria, his very sudden exit left even those who had played out the previous hoaxes about his alleged death, gaping in shock?

That the death of the National Democratic Congress presidential candidate reshuffles the pack of cards on the table of electoral prognosis somewhat, and makes the likely outcome of the Presidential election in December as predictable as the weather during the season of sudden showers across London?

Shortly after his rumoured death in South Africa and a month or so to the 2008 election, I met with the late President Mills in his office at Osu in the company of a veteran physician who was a close associate of the late president, for a personal interview facilitated by the latter and he dwelt at length on two things:

His very strong conviction that he was going to win the election and his opponents’ apparent obsession with his dying. Sydney, do I look like a sick man? No, Prof.

Yah? What shall we say, Jomo? That like every single one of us he had his strengths and his imperfections and would not have been human if he hadn’t? That as a nation, we should all pray that the late former president finds peace and rest with God?

Talking about God, Jomo, I have a yarn to spin: I have seen all manner of cranks say and do all manner of things in the name of God but what some chaps did in my neighbourhood last Sabbath night takes the biscuit to hell.

Imagine mounting monstrous loud speakers and pounding a whole residential neighbourhood mercilessly and relentlessly with exploding, eardrum-splitting sound that can be heard from the ends of the earth, all throughout the night, in the name of holding a healing service or stealing service or a tumble on your face and convulse with a holy ghost seizure so that I can make some money crusade.

There are one zillion and fifty-four things I do not have a darned clue about concerning God but this much I know with a dead certainty: God loves and cares about his people. He cannot approve of anything that denies them rest and sleep during those sanctified hours meant for that purpose.

Noise levels above 45 decibels impair sleep and I find it amazing that those who compel whole communities and neighbourhoods to keep involuntary vigil by polluting the late night air with unbearable noise appear totally oblivious to the grave harm they are doing to so many people:

Seniour citizens with medical conditions which then get dangerously aggravated by the noise and denial of sleep, the thousands of little chidren you see walking to school as early as and the large numbers of working people who must hit the road at dawn to beat the traffic congestion choking the roads.

It must have been an international and multi-media covered gospel crusade of sorts or something, because it was punctuated by radio or TV commercials. Through all the maddening noise came the voice of a preacher who sounded not too unlike one of those flamboyant, TV-happy preachers of the American Bible belt both in tone, spiritual pomposity and generosity with ungrounded promises of prosperity.

Those who are supposed to protect our rights as far as this kind of life-threatening noise pollution is concerned, appear to have gone to sleep and left us to fend for ourselves as best as we can, as far as coping with the menace is concerned.

The police were supposed to go to the place, seize the loud speakers and things and lock the lot up in a government warehouse somewhere, but darned if they did. The Tema Metropolitan Assembly within whose administrative jurisdiction this occurred and the Environmental Protection Agency certainly have some explaining to do.

The general state of lawlessness in the republic is spinning out of control and my view is that those working for or in the kingdom of God should not partake of this terrible meal.

People may hold all-night conventions, crusades and services every half second, all day, all millennium round, but only if they respect the right of other human creatures to some sleep.

It cannot be too much to ask that those who hold all night conventions and services obtain expert assistance in determining the appropriateness of location of venue and the use of equipment in a manner that keeps noise within levels prescribed by the EPA.

The death of the former president drew national attention away from the issue of the environment and the Chinks {pardon me madam or wetincal-that-woman who sent me an email apparently from the US or UK the other time, calling me a racist for using the word and damning myjoyonline for publishing the article in which it was used}.

What we saw on television the other day had us staring at the screen in disbelief: A band of unauthorized Chinese miners racing around and firing guns to ward off young farmers who had confronted them over of the destruction of their farmlands.

Farmlands have indeed taken too much of a cruel mauling by small scale miners, leaving gaping pits, ugly excavations and deep tunnels all over the place in many mining areas.

It is pointless to have natural resources and not exploit them for economic development but hey, buddy; there is also the need to protect life-support eco-systems for the sustenance of future generations by putting the breaks on this heartless destruction of the environment through the institution of appropriate regulatory measures, don’t you think? Website: Email: