President Akufo-Addo today shared some of the fond memories he had of former President Rawlings who passed away earlier this morning.
This was when family of the late former President led by Colonel Agbotsui, his uncle together with other family members and children called on him at the Jubilee House to inform him about the passing of their kinsman.
Family spokesman Johny Gblagodzi stressed the fact that a great tragedy has befallen not only the family but the entire nation following Mr Rawlings’ death.
He recalled their recent visit to President Akufo-Addo some four weeks ago to inform him about the passing of madam Victoria Agbotsui, Rawlings’ mother and that little did they know Mr Rawlings himself would be gone too soon after his late mother’s burial.
“He felt sick and was hospitalized; lots of efforts were made. I know the President was in touch with his brother; little did we know that the former President will leave us”, he narrated.
A sad-looking President Akufo-Addo “I was given this information this morning when I arrived in the office and I find it hard up till now to really incorporate and assimilate the information.”
He therefore expressed deep condolences to the bereaved family especially widow, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings and the children Mr Rawlings left behind including Zanetor, Amina, Yaa Asantewaa and Kimathi Rawlings.
He however had some fond and nostalgic memories of his relationship with to share “he and I had a tempestuous relationship over many many years; but I believe that we came to see value in each other that’s how I put it by the end.”
In spite of their frosty past which later metamorphosed into an enviable talk-of-the-town relation which earned Mr Rawlings enemies in his own party the NDC, President Akufo-Addo admitted “he was a man of great vitality, dynamism and energy” part of reasons he said “it’s very difficult to conceive of him; his dead body lying in a morgue. But then, it’s one of the things that all of us have got to get used to because the almighty has his own plans for each one of us and improbable as some things may be, nevertheless they happen.”
Considering the good relation that existed between them before his sudden demise, he noted that “I’m extremely disturbed and saddened by his passage.”
For him, the late Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings who ruled the country for close to 20years was not just any ordinary Ghanaian, saying “he was the first President of our fourth republic; a man who held the supreme office in Ghana and therefore his passage has to be a matter for the Ghanaian nation.”
To that end, he said “it’s a moment for reflection and for continuing to believe in his purpose and he has a purpose for each one of us and thus it appears the former President’s work here on earth has come to an end.”
“I know the feeling of family on such an occasion but I think that you will understand if I say that on the death of such a man precedence has to be given to the state of Ghana”, he stated, whilst noting with emphasis “if the state has to pull all the stops and make sure that he is given a most befitting and dignified exit, I’m determined to do that; I think his contribution to this country’s history is there for all to see and at the end he’s had to leave.”
He however assured that “the wishes of the family will not be ignored and they will not be ignored and at the end of the day, the actual processes will be the processes of the Ghanaian nation to give him a befitting sendoff” since in his own words “a grateful nation should show its appreciation of him in a manner in which it organizes his sendoff.”
President Akufo-Addo has since directed the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare to liaise with the family and the widow to agree on how to proceed with the funeral of the late former President Rawlings.
To the widow, children and family he left behind, the President said “I extend my deepest condolence to you, your sisters and your brother; it’s not going to be an easy time these days ahead of us, but I’m sure there is some of the strength in him in you as well so we’ll find a way of being able to accommodate the development.”
He has therefore given his word that “on the part of the state, no effort will be spared to make sure that the President is sent off like a President.”
Present were Colonel Joshua Agbotsui, Michael Soussoudis, Zanetor Rawlings, Yaa Asantewaa Rawlings, Amina Rawlings, Sylvia Ahorlu and Group Captain Richard Fordjour (Rtd).