Kufuor honours his late wife with admiration

Kufuor honours his late wife with admiration

 John Agyekum Kufuor,

To my cherished spouse, Aba


Who is able to locate a moral spouse? She is significantly more valuable than rubies.
Her spouse securely has faith in her.
proverbs 31:10–11

Shortly after our mutual friend Dr. Kwame Appiah-Poku introduced us, which I now believe was plainly preordained, Aba and I finally met in person on July 1, 1961, at a ball held at Battersea Town Hall in London to commemorate Ghana's first anniversary as a republic. Aba had recently graduated from Edinburgh's nursing school and was headed to Oxford University's Radcliffe Infirmary to study midwifery. I had recently completed my bar examinations at Lincoln's Inn in London, and I was off to Exeter College in Oxford.

My beautiful Aba first struck me as a gentle, well-mannered woman. After a year of getting to know one another and dating, we both realised how much we valued each other's company. We had similar social inclinations and had comparable cultural choices in music, art, and movies. We so made the decision to get married, which we did on September 8, 1962, at Brompton Oratory in Knightsbridge, London.

On September 6, 1963, Chief, our first boy, came to live with us. We left Oxford at the middle of 1964, having finished our degrees, and relocated to London to pursue our own careers. Nana Ama, our first daughter and second child, was born on November 29, 1964, in London's Golders Green.

However, we made the decision to go back to Ghana because of the intense pressure we received from my relatives in Kumasi. I became a junior lawyer in Okomfo Anokye Chambers in January 1965, shortly after we returned to Kumasi, under the senior partnership of Victor Owusu. Later, Aba started working as a nurse and midwife at the Kwame Nkrumah University Hospital. Not too long afterward, on November 4, 1965, Aba and I welcomed Saah, our third child, into our expanding family.

Agyekum, our fourth child, was born on February 16, 1968. I had already become entangled in the web of public service by the time he came. In 1967, I was selected as the city manager and top legal officer of Ghana's second city, Kumasi. That was how we got started in civic and life in public in Ghana.

Aba had a self-assured demeanour that made her blend in wherever we went and enabled her to handle even the most difficult situations. I was elected to the Second Republic Parliament in 1969, representing the Ashanti Region's Atwima Nwabiagya. Under the leadership of the late Professor Kofi Abrefa Busia, I was also appointed as Ghana's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Our little family was forced to move from Kumasi to Accra as a result. To my pleasure, Aba gracefully and confidently adapted to our new environment of a life in national politics and diplomacy, taking our changing way of living in stride.

Aba and I were both in our early thirties, and between 1969 and 1971 our lives looked to be going well. However, everything was to come to an abrupt and startling end on January 13, 1972, when nearly every government official was taken into custody and we were imprisoned. Our universe had collapsed.

54 of us, including cabinet ministers, junior ministers, and some members of parliament, would spend a minimum of 12 to 15 months in prison each after first going through nearly eight weeks of incommunicado denial of contact with family or the outside world at Ussher Fort prison. To my surprise, this angel of a lady would withstand the hardship of having five kids on her own On June 16, 1972, while I was away, Aba gave birth to our fifth and last child, Kofi, as a single parent. Our family was in fact saved by her tough and incredibly disciplined demeanour.

I was unable to predict the accident that happened to us and, as a result, was unable to plan for our hardship. But Aba was better than that. Aba could not and would not allow her deep, fervent trust in God to be shaken. She really kept our dreams alive back then, surviving on very little. She left me with a very reassuring sense of hope after being permitted to see me in prison. Aba played a major role in my 15-month jail survival. She was a resilient, kind, devoted, and selfless lady.

She went back to work as a nurse at Cocoa Clinic upon my release from custody, and she eventually became the facility's first matron. Aba only voiced a strong objection once regarding the length of time I spent away from home due to my entrepreneurial ventures. Her dedication to our union and her extraordinary desire to be a devoted wife, a kind homemaker, and a strict but caring parent have resulted in the people our kids are today. She was kind yet forceful.

Aba would play a crucial but quiet role in shaping important social interventions when I was elected as the second President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana. These included the inclusion of the kindergarten stage for all Ghanaian children in the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education policy; the daily provision of one hot meal to primary school students nationwide; the National Health Insurance Scheme's launch; and the introduction of free maternal care for all.

In addition, she put up a great deal of effort as the foundation's creator to assist early childhood development initiatives around the nation. Her Foundation constructed three schools and gave them to the people of Kotobabi, Nyanyanor, and the Central Region,as well as in Accra's Kotobabi and Amansaman.

She also gave a breast cancer screening unit to a Sunyani health care professional through her Foundation, and she helped bakers in Nsawam and Adoagyiri with baking supplies. She started a phone-in counselling service to provide assistance and fight stigma against HIV/AIDS sufferers. Surprisingly, Aba provided all of her services centred around community activity without pursuing notoriety.

Because Aba and I had a contagious sense of humour, we could readily laugh at one another and extend forgiveness to one another for our inevitable human frailties. Together, we took several travels while I worked towards my political career and after I was elected president. But what moved her the most about our foreign travels was the acknowledgment she got from Pope Benedict XVI, who gave her the esteemed Dame of St. Gregory the Great papal honour. She was a devoted Catholic, a fervent worshipper, and a choir member of Accra's Christ the King Catholic Church all of her life.

Although the loss of you, Aba, has left an unfillable void in my life, I find comfort in the numerous mercies and blessings the good Lord has bestowed upon us over the course of our 62-year journey: longevity; the blessing of lovely children; fourteen wonderful grandchildren; the honour of having served our country together; the gift of love; extended families; and a global network of friends.

I am incredibly grateful to the Almighty God for bestowing upon me you as my life companion. As the Apostle Paul once said, "You have fought the good fight, you have finished the race, and you have kept the faith." Aba, you have earned your well-deserved rest. You are now going to get the crown of righteousness,

which you will get on that day from the Lord, the upright Judge—and not only you, but everyone who has eagerly anticipated His arrival.”

Fare well Aba. My greatest love, good bye!

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