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Thu, 20 Jul 2006 Source: GNA

A GNA Colour by Benjamin Mensah

Accra, July 20, GNA - The Job 600 at Osu stands tall a few metres away from a small house surrounded by people, who have travelled from far and near to bid farewell to a friend, mentor and intellectual benefactor. The people had come from the least to the highest authority to watch the occupant of the house, who had paid his dues and rent and served his people well.

Soon, the house was draped in the national colours of red gold, green with a black star in the gold, giving the people hope that all was not lost even though the occupant was going the way of all men. The body of Emeritus Professor Albert Adu Boahen, who broke the "culture of silence" at a time when Military dictatorship had curtailed fundamental liberties, now laid in silence oblivious of the tears shed and tributes crafted for him.

The body of the renowned Professor of History, now a national asset, would be taken away to be buried at Juaben in the Ashanti Region. The diminutive man had smiled at the 37th Military Hospital and closed his eyes for a perpetual rest on his 74th birthday. He had been on admission for stroke - had impaired limbs and speech while the wife stood by him till he drew his last breath in fulfilment of her vow, 'till death do us part'.

The sea of black, red and brown clothes, with a rendition of a repertoire of dirges played on atenteben and the throbbing of drums interlaced with the signing of Christian hymns heralded the exit of the man, who lived history, made history and wrote history. The nation was in tears, for it has lost a man, who by his writings and activity made colossal contributions to the renaissance of constitutional rule.

He was a Founding Member and Flag Bearer of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP)for Election 1922, who lost the race to the Castle, which sprawls some few metres away from where he laid, to Former President Jerry John Rawlings of the present opposition National Democratic Congress.

Emeritus Professor Adu Boahen displayed his astuteness and love of country when he told his colleagues after Election 1992: "Even though Rawlings did not win the elections, let us tolerate him"; apparently drawing on the Akan wisdom of: 93se obusuefo ba fie a yede eto kokoo ne kosua na pam no=94 96 to wit- 93when the devil finds its way into the house it is lured out of it by pacifying it=94.

The great writer that he was; he settled for the publication of the "Stolen Verdict"

The Professor's birthplace at Osiem in the Eastern Region and childhood experiences demonstrated the interplay of historical forces, just as the representatives from the Presidency; Legislature; Judiciary; Council of State; Diplomatic Corps; Political Parties; Mfantsipim Old Boys Association and the Clergy mingled to pay their last respects. His party described him as a catalyst for unity, saying his legacy to the Party would linger on.

His children described him as a 'good father, who loved music, but not a good dancer. However, "when harvesting honey, he looked like an astronaut on a mission to space".

President John Agyekum Kufuor, in a tribute read by Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Information and National Orientation, said Prof Adu Boahen left very large footprints on the sands of Ghana and extolled his excellent service records.

The Rev Dr Yaw Frimpong Manso, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, in a sermon based on 2 Corinthians 4:13, recommended to the political leadership to be ready to sacrifice in the interest of the masses of the people, in furtherance of Professor Adu Boahen's democratic values. In his still state, he had no option than to obey the command of those, who now owned his body.

Kokosakyi, the great fliers, and Obonkyerefo, the prowler; that feed on the brave, who fall on the battlefield, would never have access to the body, for it is under the guard of the finest breed of security men, ever produced by his country. 19 July 06

Columnist: GNA