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Opinions of Monday, 5 June 2006

Columnist: Appiah-Kubi, Stephen

Professor Adu-Boahen- The other side of his death

Every Ghanaian who has been in the classroom before would remember two great historians of the land-Professor Adu-Boahen and F. K Buah. These two greats chronicled the history of the land, and indeed of Black Africa in a way, perhaps, never again followed. The death of Professor Adu-Boahen, no doubt is a great loss to Africa. Indeed, it is like the burning of a Library. The tributes have been flowing in the way many would have expected. The world of the family of this great historian has been turned upside down, as we normally say, but we should also allow them to grieve in private.

But, as we write our glowing tributes about this great man, we should just pause a little to also ponder on who really this great Professor was. His old adversary, in the person of former President Rawlings has acknowledged the great heights that this man attained in his life, when he paid tribute to him. Many are those who believe that Rawlings did not mean a thing about what he said, but I remember very well when in 1992 on the campaign trail Rawlings boldly declared that ?We will make history for others to write about? in direct reference to the standing of his challenger then- Professor Adu-Boahen. Indeed, this is a great loss.

But, before he was called home by his maker on May 24th, did we really remember or know that this great historian was not well or really did exist? Have we really honoured him whilst he was living like the way we have poured over his death with tributes? I may be writing with a heavy heart about a man I admired so much so my judgement may not be right at this stage. But nevertheless, I think I am right to say that the Prof was not properly honoured while he was alive. This man has done so much for democracy in Ghana in a way that surpasses what JB Danquah and Busia did for Ghana, yet, the party he so much helped to strengthen-NPP, has not honoured him with much credit. We are talking about contemporary Ghanaian politics here. Adu-Boahen?s standing in life learnt a lot of credence to the NPP for the Kufuors and the Akuffo-Addos to emerge. He brought credibility and stature to the opposition and made it more vibrant with his vibes about the rule of law and equal respect for humanity.

Prof should be more in line with the party greats, and his life should have been celebrated while he was alive than today. The NPP could have instituted an award or scholarship in his name, and while they were aware that he was incapacitated to do his job, there should have been Adu Boahen lecture launched in his name.

This is the sad reality about Ghanaians today. Our love for the dead surpasses what we have for the living so much so that we have become hypocrites in our mourning. There is no doubt that Prof will get a befitting burial but would it not have been more honourable to him if even in his push chair he was driven to chair a lecture on contemporary Ghanaian Politics and the Rule of Law for example, in his honour at the British Council hall in Accra?

We need a paradigm shift in our thinking and we must be sincere with our fellow human beings who have risen above all else. We must remember that the heights that great men attained and kept were not attained by sudden flights, but they, while their companions were asleep, were toiling up in the night! We should use this loss as a big lesson for all of us. If Rawlings can pay such a glowing tribute about Adu-Boahen, I am sure God forbid, if Rawlings should die today, Kufuor would pay glowing tribute about him! This is the Ghanaian case. I never knew that the opposition also respected Ferdinand Ayim so much until his death. I never knew that the Danquah-Busia tradition had ?respect? for Nkrumah, until is death, even though they had tried to bomb him and his books destroyed when he was prevented from returning to the country.

We all have individual achievements before we join a political party because of our interests, and therefore we should be given all the necessary respect for what we have achieved in our lives than the party we associate with. That is just like someone supporting Chelsea and another supporting Man U. It is not about knives and daggers. A nation that does not honour its heroes is not worth dying for. Dr Limman died a miserable man and we should not repeat all these mistakes. There are politicians of old who are now struggling to find somewhere to sleep (I don?t want to mention names but the NPP know who they are and how they supported the party in the past!). Let us form a non-partisan old boys club for these people.

Prof, Damerifa Due- I am sure your son (Galamsay who I got to know at Mfantsipim) would dearly miss you.



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