General News of 2014-08-15

PV Obeng was extraordinary connector to society - Mahama

A state funeral filled with touchy music, heartfelt eulogies, and Biblical admonitions, was held for the former politician and statesman, Mr Paul Victor Obeng in Accra on Friday.

President John Dramani Mahama, who described the deceased as "an extraordinary connector to the society," and his wife, Lordina, were at hand to pay their last respects.

Also in attendance was the Vice President, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur.

A motley of other dignitaries from far and near, and hundreds of other mourners turned up at the forecourt of the State House where the state funeral was held.

Arriving at exactly 9.02am, bespectacled President Mahama visibly overcome with grief, and his wife filed past the mortal remains of the man who was the president's senior adviser, as the hundreds of mourners at the ceremony stood in silence.

Earlier, the Vice President had paid his last respect.

Also in attendance were the two former Presidents, Jerry Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor, as well as members of the diplomatic corps, the Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Georgina Theodora Wood, and members of Parliament.

Mr Rawlings, who brought PV into politics, accompanied by his wife, Nana Konadu, stopped twice as he filed past the body, stared closely at the remains of the man who was the de facto prime minister during the PNDC administration before moving away quietly.

The body, which had been laid in state inside the Banquet Hall of the State House from Thursday afternoon for public viewing, was moved to the forecourt Friday morning for the state funeral.

Mr Obeng popularly known as P.V., who transcended national politics to become an icon, died suddenly on May 17 this year in Accra at the age of 67.

The widow, Mrs Rose Obeng, accompanied by her children and family members took turns to pay their last respects.

Mrs Obeng shed tears uncontrollably as two family members held her hands.

The sister of the deceased, Mrs Charlotte Abana could not holdback her tears as she read the biography of his brother, who he described as a pillar of the family, and an admirable national asset.

President Mahama, in his eulogy read by the Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane-Boamah, mentioned the role the late PV played in shaping his political career right from the beginning and said, it was, therefore, logical that when he became President, he decided to tap into his repertoire of wisdom and knowledge.

He recalled Mr Obeng's regular encouragement to him following the death of President Mills quoting him as saying at the time that," John, it shall be well. God is with you."

He said Mr Obeng's significant knowledge about virtually every topic was amazing while not forgetting about his humility, compassion and dedication.

President Mahama also touched on his eloquence.

"He was a man on the go. His eloquence came with substance. He was a committed man on a mission."

"He possessed a huge amount of institutional expertise and memory that you could count on especially in difficult times.

"He was an accomplished man who carried no airs and graces and rather enjoyed being called by everyone as PV."

The President said for many years, Mr Obeng was one of the people in the forefront of national development, many of which bore fruits.

In the sermon, the officiating clergyman, Most Rev Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, said it was important for man to live a life in a way that would make others weep when he died, while he (the dead) would be rejoicing.

This was because the person who had died lived a worthy life.

Most Rev Palmer-Buckle said when he thought of Mr Obeng and the name he made for himself, his nation and the church, there was no wonder everyone was weeping at his death.

"But wherever he is, he is smiling as he looks back in his own life story and the challenges and failures he encountered.

"PV Obeng had lived a worthy and fulfilling life, " he said.

He advised people to slow down in their work schedule "because after 60 years, every day is a bonus."

He said PV went for consensus building even in politics, and it was no wonder the entire nation mourned him for the good things he did.

Just after the service, the casket draped in the national colours, was taken into a hearse and driven to the Air Force Base for the journey to Kumasi for another church service later in the afternoon before continuing by road to his native Adansi- Akrokerri for the customary burial and final funeral rites Saturday.

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