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Opinions of Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Columnist: Junaid Alexandre Limann

The Limann I knew: A look into the personality behind the name

Hilla Limann was the President of Ghana from 24 September 1979 to 31 December 1981 Hilla Limann was the President of Ghana from 24 September 1979 to 31 December 1981

A tribute on the commerative anniversary of the third republic

INTRODUCTION : The 24th of September 1979 will forever remain inscribed in the annals of Ghanaian history. It is particularly significant for two major reasons;

First, it ushered in a new era of a democratic dispensation quite after the disastrous effects of the June 4th revolution that cast Ghana unto a dark path of chaos and anarchy which subsequently closed the bilateral trade portals with the west.

In a quest by the head of state at the time to bring order into the Ghanaian society, he succeeded without measure of doing the opposite and also incites fear amongst the Ghanaian people when he ordered the shooting of the former heads of state and personalities in the military.

Secondly, the election that brought the PNP government into power was seen as the second coming of Nkrumah or at least a return to his ideals prior to the catastrophic coup of 1966.

After the failure of the successive military governments to achieve the success story they promised after the end of the first republic there was certain nostalgia for the return of the Nkrumah era /agenda and that was seen in the inauguration of the PNP.

Unfortunately, barely 27 months into his first term, the progress made economically by the PNP and Limann administration was cut short by the military junta led by the former president Jerry Rawlings. He became responsible for Ghana`s spiral of chaos for the next 11years.

This piece is not a recount of that history; this is a structured statement to remind those who knew the Late Hilla Limann and to paint a vivid picture for those who didn’t about who he was and what he represented .This is a 5 pointer recollection of the Limann I knew.

Hilla was a very determined man. Most people are very familiar with his humble beginnings. How he funded his education through struggles, how his quest to better himself and his educational achievements became a symbol of possibilities for many including my father, his brother to achieve his long desire to become an oxford trained lawyer.

But some people are not familiar with his struggles after he lost everything in the coup that toppled him. He lost everything he gained in his private life and was subjected to psychological trauma enough to break any man.

But still determined to serve his people he ran again for the presidency in 1992 after failing to reconcile the breakaway Nkrumah parties. He lost the election amid allegations of a rigged election by the government but his statement was clear “country before man”.

Secondly, Limann was a honest man. These days, it is very nearly impossible to associate honesty with politicians. The notion that politicians lie is not a strange one and it was become the norm.

Today, stories are rife with president amassing wealth for themselves and the examples are clear even here in Ghana. Limann died a man who lost everything. The house his family resides in was bought in his private life.

Limann never had a reliable vehicle and he died on police bail. His family had to carry the humiliation as if Limann was responsible for his predicament because he was honest. But we all know the properties gain by those who overthrew and the lifestyle they lived thereafter.

Thirdly, Limann was a true patriot. During the tenure of president Limann, He became good friends with the president of Nigeria Shehu Shagari of Nigeria .

When Limann was toppled, President shagari extended his hand to the family of Limann and offered them refuge in Nigeria. It was in Nigeria that a plot was hatched to return Limann back to power and president Shagari was to support and fund it. Limann refused to back it. He knew, restoring him in power will involve bloodshed, something he wanted not to be a part of.

Limann was a great family man. He loved his family. Madam fulera Limann became the backbone of his family and supported them through the years that came.

Limann had 7 wonderful children in whom he instills discipline and family values. Today ; Lariba montia is a renowned business woman, Baba Limann is a Doctor in the U.S.A, Sibi Andani is a consultant living in the Uk, Leda Limann is a lawyer with the UN, Dani Limann is a marketing consultant in Australia, Zilla Limann is a medical doctor, Salma Limann is public administrator both living in Ghana .

Lastly, Hilla Limann was a visionary. The Limann I knew would want to see the youth take charge of their destiny, to challenge the status quo, the Limann I knew would want to see the country and its youth transform.

It’s going to take a new generation of visionaries to blaze the trail and lead so other will follow. The Limann I knew would want us to believe in ourselves and take up the mantle and become the enforcers of change

That was the Limann I knew...