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On Wednesday 24th May 2006, members of the New Patriotic Party and indeed the whole of Ghana was rocked by the loss a leader, academic, a father, a grandfather and indeed a true doyen in the person of Prof. Albert Adu Boahene
For all of us as Ghanaians, it was Prof, as he was affectionately called, who brought our history as a nation alive to us through his writings and lectureship and for that we owe him dearly. He did not only capture Ghana, and for that matter The Gold Coast in historical perspectives but also the whole of Africa. Even though Prof in his life received many accolades and awards for his publications, nothing will surpass our profound sense of gratitude in celebrating his life as God?s Gift to Ghana.
As an academic, Prof spent a good part of his life making meaning of Ghana?s past and how we could use this to shape our future. I remember as a young student reading two of his works A History of West Africa and African Perspectives on Colonialism and asking myself why this man knows so much. I also felt at some point in reading these works that this man was writing from the heart and not the head. I was too young to understand politics and did not understand that this man was writing with a deep sense of patriotic niche.
I did not read history to any appreciable extent in school, in fact I read his works as a matter of interest, and especially the way he credibly captured the Ashanti Wars with the British. This means I did not encounter him personally in my later academic life until the late 1980s and early 1990s when he ruffled the feathers of the PNDC and Jerry John Rawlings. At that point I went back to recollect some aspect of his work and to capture his worship of heroism in his writings. Frankly I do not know whether it was his writings that inspired his act of bravado but whatever inspired it, it was a well-timed intervention for all democracy-loving Ghanaians.
For all of us as freedom loving Ghanaians, whenever we sing our national anthem and come to the phrase ?? and help us to resist oppressors? rule?? we should all thank God for materializing this prayerful anthem for us in the person of Prof. If his outspokenness and timely intervention brought on the 4th Republic in 1992 and which is proving to be a lasting Republic for Ghana, then we have a lot to be thankful for in the person of Professor Albert Adu Boahene.
Indeed Ghana has had its political saviours in her 49 odd years and even more saviours during the colonial and pre-colonial years. Lord Denning, the great English jurist, once said ?emergency begets the man? and the wrongdoer doer does not foresee the coming of the rescuer?? the long and protracted PNDC regime had to be lanced and who was the man to do it? When Prof spoke the nation sat up and everyone began to take the cue. He was a hero and a rescuer because if that peaceful intervention had not taken place, nobody knows where Ghana would have headed and perhaps we would not have been here today where Ghana, they say, is the second happiest place on earth.
Ghana has lost a great number of patriots and heroes in the past and the Prof is certainly one of them. We forget the toil and sacrifices that our forebears have made all in the name of freedom and justice. We sometimes forget that freedom is not entirely free. It has to be fought for and it involves lives and absolute sacrifices. Prof lived his life with sacrifices. He was not affluent; he led the life of a humble teacher. Prof educated millions of Ghanaians as a teacher and like Moses took the stricken people from the clutches of ?Egyptian slavery?. But like every Moses he did not see the Promised Land. He suffered a protracted illness which meant his last years were spent in agony. Agony it might have appeared to all of us by Prof was a fulfilled man. He had lived his dream, the dream of saving his people. And indeed on the 24th of May at 37 Military Hospital he said ?it is accomplished?.
Our second national anthem ?Yen ara y?asase ni? says in one verse that ?it is the turn of you and me to continue the feat of our forebears?. It goes on to say that that if we are to be successful in carrying forward the task of nation building we should desist from selfishness, over-ambitiousness and corruption.
Who will take up the mantle next? I dare you as a reader?.
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