Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to pay homage and tribute to a great man of this land.
Mr Speaker, as tradition demands, I should have been in mourning cloth, but I just chanced upon this Statement, and I thank you for giving me a little space to say a few things by way of an eulogy to this great man.
Mr Speaker, two things are permanently etched in my memory when I reflect on this man who has left us.
First is that, this man was not a Kyebi man as I am, but by the sheer fact that he went to Abuakwa State College, and from Abuakwa State College he graduated to become a lawyer, Abuakwa State College and Kyebi was his second home, and at every turn, you could see that he was so committed to Abuakwa State College more than the Akyems themselves, and the record of him in terms of his contribution to the development of the school is
something that we can never finish talking about.
He became the Parent/Teacher Association (PTA) chairman and personally resourced his alma mater. I am impressed by that arrangement. It also tells me that sometimes in Ghana, they want to talk about the ivory schools, that if you did not attend an ivory school you might probably not amount to anything.
I believe he defied that. There is nothing like an ivory school. You might go to an ivory school, but if you do not have the content of character and the propensity to study hard, you would come back to square one. So it is how you utilise your resources.
Another issue of significance that I remember about the late and senior practitioner, Lawyer Akenten Appiah- Menka was his peaceful disposition. There were tensions in my constituency. In this whole undertaking called politics, there would be tensions and pressures, where people would take sides.
I did not believe that one day he drove all the way from Kumasi, in advanced old age to Kyebi and met with me, that he was there to make sure that we patch up our differences. I said well, I was even humbled. Who was I to say no? That if he thought so well about the peace in my backyard, why should I not make peace?
So through his instrumentality, I met those who were -- I would not call them troublemakers -- but the dissenting folks. I remember there were dissidents, so I do not know whether -- [Interruption.]-- Hon Leader, is it a good word to use in this House?
The dissidents who were disturbing me, we made peace, and I was very grateful to him, that he came to Kyebi and did this for us.
Another issue of significance that I would never forget about this great man is that sometimes, we lawyers think in pigeon holes. All that a lawyer can do is to go to court, make arguments, make some money, and then he would retire. But this man had versatility, in the sense that he was a lawyer, he had industrial sense for him to even come out with a soap which became a household name.
That is one of the things I admire about him, that I wish I could have these tendencies as well. That it is not only the mind that can go to court and argue, but you can also be an entrepreneur. For that also, I would remember him for good.
My heart goes out to Auntie Rose, the surviving spouse. I am of the view that the Bible talks about the fact that 70 years is a good age to live, and if the distinguished Lawyer Appiah-Menka was 84 years, I consider it as a bonus, 14 more years. I think the wife is rest- assured that he lived a full life.
Mr Speaker, I cannot end this short eulogy without quoting the scriptures, and with your kind permission, I would quote a few scriptures, and then I would sit down.
I am quoting from Job 14: 1, and this is what the Bible says;
“Man that is born of a woman is of a few days, and full of troubles”
This scripture is underlying what I call the principle of inevitability, come to think about the fact that in Prime Minister
Busia's time, he was a legislator, a Member of Parliament, and is no more.
This is the lot of all of us, that whatever we do, no matter what we do and try not to do and the rest, death is an eventual inevitability, and that should humble us so that we give our best within the time allotment that God gives us.
The second scripture of significance, which is my last contribution and then I would sit down, is Isaiah 57:1;
“The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart. The devout are taken away and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil”.
One of the evils that are sometimes associated with old age are some diseases that would become a burden for your family. So sometimes, God in his wisdom would let a man leave to be spared very challenging ailments which would become a pain to the living.
So may his soul rest in peace, and Mr Speaker, I thank you sincerely, that although I am not properly attired, you gave me the space to say a few things to the memory of this great man. I am most grateful to you.