24 July, 2012
It was about 4:30 pm in Lagos. I had had a very busy and full day, and was preparing to wind down my day. I turned to my iPad and to Facebook to check updates.
I saw it first on the status of my friend Kofi Yankey, who had just posted that Herbert Mensah had confirmed on X FM that President Mills has passed away.
My heart missed a beat.
I immediately commented:
“Tell me it is a joke!”
I called him right after and he confirmed what he had heard, and said Dzifa Bampoe was on air on Joy FM. I ended the call abruptly.
I logged onto to Twitter and got confirmation from one of my most reliable sources of information from Ghana: Samuel Obour. I tuned in to Joy FM and listened to the letter by the Chief of Staff, Mr Newman, being read.
To say I was distraught is to put it mildly. I was upset. I felt sick at once. My friend Isaac Neequaye called me from Ghana. Almost a week ago exactly, we had discussed the President when I posted my worry after hearing the President speak at the inauguration of one of the Millellium City schools built by the Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA). His voice was fading during the course of every sentence and I had cause to agree with my Obuasi-based pal Samuel Otoo, aka Yuri. I prayed then that the recording should be the cause. But I worried.
I just had to leave work and get home.
The President was a good man. Even those who disagreed with him found it hard not to respect him. Right to the end, he remained a gentleman and a christian.
Today we mourn. Tomorrow we ask the questions. And we shall expect responses better than we got yesterday.
I spent the rest of the day listening to Joy FM, watching BBC and reading on Twitter and Facebook.
My pride as a Ghanaian sworn through my deep sorrow when within hours, Parliament had convened and the Chief Justice had sworn in the Veep as our new President.
On the next day, a description of the late President by the BBC encapsulated what I thought of him: “A quiet man with a big impact.”
My prayer goes out to the former First Lady Naadu Mills, his son and the entire family.
My prayer goes to the new President HE John Dramani Mahama, whose broken voice as he gave his first address as President finally broke my restraint and the swollen banks of my eyelids that had hitherto successfully held back the waters of sorrow gave way for the tears to travel south to moisten my dry mouth.
My prayer goes out to all Ghanaians both home and abroad. May the Lord comfort us and heal our grieving hearts.
God bless our homeland Ghana and continue to make Sikaman great and strong. God bless President Dramani Mahama. God bless Ghana.
Nante yie Egya Atta. W’ab3 y3 bi. Mo ne y). Nyame mfa wo ensie yie.
PS: Please say hi to Bombay for me.