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Opinions of Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Columnist: Agbai, Stephen

Leave Jake alone

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," says the Word of God in Romans 3:23.

The Bible, in Romans 3:23 seeks to establish the fact that no human being is without sin, therefore, it will not be appropriate for anyone to arrogate to himself/herself the authority to pass judgment on others.

This scripture is relevant in the life of the Christian and humankind in general, especially in a world where we are fast growing into ruthless and brutish people in the name of modernity and civilization; a world in which the sensibilities of the collective is tertiary to the parochial interest of individuals.

Like many Ghanaians, I was gob smacked by the passing of Hon. Jake Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey, former Minister of State under the erstwhile Kufuor-led administration of the NPP and two-time former National Campaign Manager of H.E. John Kufuor. His death is not a major surprise because it happened at a time I least expected it; it is chiefly due to events preceding his death. In a way, events preceding his death are akin to that of former President John Evans Atta Mills.

Like the latter, the former's death was predicted and announced a number of times by doomsday prophets and political opponents (intra- and inter-party) with outright denials from him. In December last year, it was widely circulated on social media that he had died in his hospital bed in South Africa. He quickly released a press statement which read inter alia: "To the mischief makers; the people who without a shred of truth come and start pushing out all sorts of lies and rumours and build up stories to distract people from legitimate pursuits I say; you are just distractive, you are not helping anybody...get a life; start doing something more useful. But I am well."

This message was reassuring and set all of us at peace, trusting he was truly well.

Alas our ways are not God's! Only He begins and ends life. He has decided to call his son to glory finally after giving him a full life — seventy years as declared and revealed in Psalm 90:10 by Apostle Paul. Jake, in spite of his unparalleled sins as many a critic would have us believe, has achieved what many people thought to be cleaner and without sin, couldn't attain.

As the family grief over his unfortunate passing, I join the many men and women with conscience who have condemned the sudden resurrection of his perceived acts of wrongdoing.

Jake Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey lived like a mortal human being who committed a sin and fell short of the glory of God. He was not the worst example of politicians who perceptibly benefitted unfairly from state resources. In any case, the particular case in point – selling a state bungalow to himself at a giveaway price when he was a Minister of State – was adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction and was subsequently declared a victor.

I admonish the family to take consolation in Psalm 90:10. They should not be distracted or dampened by the heartless in our society who will want to add insult to their injuries by resurrecting the few perceived negative aspects of his life while he served Ghana. We all have at one time or another stepped on toes, wittingly and unwittingly. And if these things should be used against us even in our graves, we will not find it pleasant and friendly. The irritating and piercing sounds of discord emanating from the minority should be treated with contemptible silence.

Any misgivings therefore should be buried for good. Failure to do so in this matter as well as his part in the controversial loss of state property to the Mormons will only sell the proponents out as mean and insensitive. Only cowards fail to face people when they are alive and instead wait till they pass on to chirp and bleat about their sins.

May we use his death as a turning point to live a decent and dedicated life worthy of emulation; rather than lampoon the dead, may we seize the moment for self-introspection so that when we are also called to rest one day, we will have kind words deservedly said about us.

May God grant the living the opportunity to reach at least seventy years as Hon. Jake Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey.

Let sleeping dogs lie!

God be with you till we meet again, uncle JOOL!

By Stephen Agbai