Former Asante Kotoko board member, Mr. Kennedy Agyepong (Kenpong), ranks tallest among the growing list of sympathizers to eulogize former President J. J. Rawlings.
To the business contractor, he found in the ex-President a true and a reliable friend, who stuck closer than a blood relation.
And like many across the globe who were greeted by the sad news on Thursday, Kenpong described his (Rawlings) passing as a great loss not only to his family, but to nation as a whole.
He said his relationship with the former military ruler transcended beyond political borders, and believed the vacuum created would be difficult to fill.
Although the deceased was the founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), a rival party to the New Patriotic Party (NPP), he related closely to the businessman to the admiration of persons from the political divide.
On countless occasions, the two have exchanged visits, and occasionally traveled together to the village (Tefle) of the former statesman on weekends.
Apart from acting as his (Kenpong) ‘Godfather’, he adopted the businessman as a ‘true son’ who he shared meals, gifts and above all, great business ideas with.
Beside himself with grief, Kenpong said “I will sum up my relationship with the departed great leader as a true one; he was a good man and a great leader.
“Like the proverbial – you can only tell the real colour of a tea after pouring hot water on it – my closeness with JJ has given me a positive impression about him.
“He spent the night at my place on a number of occasions—that was how close we were.
“He never considered his stature in life as a statesman and former President; he visited me and on most occasions, came with gifts.”
Kenpong added “Ghana in general and myself will miss such a great and humorous personality; he didn’t consider my political background, all he did was support a young business man. I realized he did so for many from far and near.
“I have lost a great friend and a true brother; I wish the bereaved family, especially his beloved wife, the very best in these trying moments. I pray for God’s guidance and comfort.”
Rawlings, the first President of Ghana’s Fourth Republic, passed on at age 73 in the early hours of Thursday. He goes into Ghana’s history books as the longest-serving head of state; spanning a period of 19 years.
He died at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, where he was on admission after a short illness.
Tributes keep pouring in from far and near, and President Akufo-Addo has announced a state funeral for the departed former President.