By Brig Gen Dan Frimpong (Rtd)

In recent times, when I confidently tell ladies that, I have hit the Biblical three-score-and ten ((70) years, expecting applause/admiration, my confidence bubble gets quickly burst when some tell me they hit 70 earlier! Some even question, “are you sure you are 70? You don’t look it!”

I must confess some of these 70-year-old ladies look so young and beautiful they could easily be mistaken for forty-year-olds.

This takes me back to our childhood pranks in secondary school.

In the early 1970s, a major agricultural programme launched by the government of Gen I.K. Acheampong was called “Operation Feed Yourself” (OFY). This highly successful project which ensured Ghana’s food security was led by the Commissioner (Minister) for Agriculture, the late Colonel Frank Bernasko.

The naughty teenage boys we were, we gave the abbreviation OFY a new meaning, “Over-forty-years!” For us, OFY applied to all our teachers, many of whom were only in their thirties! In effect, they were oldies!

70th Birthday Service

On Wednesday, 17 April 2024, I attended the 70th birthday Thanksgiving Service of a retired 70-year-old former Foreign Service Officer, Mrs Ernestina Borkor Agbenuzah (nee Zaney), wife of my colleague Brig. Gen. Hope Agbenuzah (Rtd).

A few days earlier, commitments outside Accra made me miss the 70th birthday service of Madame Leah Dickson, one of my many “wives” of Holy Child Past Students Association (HOPSA) 1972, to which my “Manager” belongs!

Preaching the sermon at Mrs Agbenuzah’s Thanksgiving Service, Rev. Dr Fred Deegbe chose his text from Psalm 90, 10-12, as follows:

“10. The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labour and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

11. Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.

12. So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” NKJV

While reminding us of the transience of life and the need to be humble, Rev. Deegbe delved into five areas we should seek growth to fulfil the will of God!

Physical – He advised us to treat our bodies well by exercising physically, and also avoiding immoral acts which defile us.

Mental – In ensuring our mental development, he asked us to be intentional and deliberate in reading extensively, especially studying the Bible.

Emotional/Spiritual – On the emotional, Rev Deegbe spoke against the evil of anger whose end-result is self-destruction. Linking the Emotional to the Spiritual, he asked us to consciously develop our spirituality by realising that the body goes beyond the physical. We must therefore read the Bible for our spiritual growth for the edification of the soul.

Social – He emphasised that man is a social being. We were not designed to be lone wolves and must therefore learn to live together irrespective of our differences. We must therefore eschew selfishness, and learn to care about others.

In twenty minutes, Rev Deegbe preached his impactful sermon to the admiration of all.  He concluded by talking about Dedication and Commitment to Ghana. He reminded us of the qualities of Honesty, Integrity and Selflessness. Above all, he spoke about the fear of God and the requirement to do the right thing at all times.


Eulogies were read about Mrs Agbenuzah by various organisations. The Church was full of praises for her selflessness. At one stage, she shuttled between two branches of the Baptist Church in Accra, and the newly established one in Community 20, Lashibi-Tema, as a Sunday School teacher. Not surprisingly, the Sunday School children wrote a beautiful eulogy about “Auntie/Grandma Tina” as they call her.

In their eulogy to the celebrant, the International Leadership Forum which Mrs Agbenuzah served as the Country Director from 2016 to 2020 praised her copiously for her outstanding leadership qualities.

Her Foreign-Service-Officer colleagues eulogised her as a great woman with a pleasant personality and positive work ethic.

The highlight of the function was, however, the “march-past” by 70 children (to mark her 70 years), each carrying a placard with Mrs Agbenuzah’s picture with different statements extolling “Grandma Tina’s” virtues and wishing her a Happy Birthday!

Replying, she thanked God for her 70th birthday in good health. She was thankful to her husband Brig. Gen. Agbenuzah (Rtd), children and family for their support. She was effusive in her praise for her housekeeper “Auntie Adwoa” who ably kept her home running during the long periods she sojourned outside Ghana on duty.


In a recent article, I quoted from the Ghana Statistical Service that the average life expectancy in Ghana is 64 years, 65 for females, and 63 for males. Also, while the percentage of Ghanaians over 60 years is 7.2 per cent, that of over seventy is 2.7 per cent of our 30 million, making them an endangered species.

Given the brevity of life in Ghana, why do some Ghanaian leaders dedicate their lives to plundering the nation such that their homes are richer than some banks? Why have greed and blatant telling of lies become the default-setting for leaders such that they have lost credibility, and not trustworthy?

How do they feel when our national Anthem “God bless our homeland Ghana” or “Yen ara y’asase ni” is played? Remember Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous quote,

“What you are shouts so loudly in my ears, I cannot hear what you say about yourself!” Bad leaders only produce bad followers!

Why should an estimated 6,000 nurses leave Ghana between September 2023 and February 2024!

Why does “galamsey” continue unabated? What lessons are leaders teaching the youth?

To the beautiful Mrs Agbenuzah, Madame Leah Dickson and others, Happy 70th birthday, and welcome to “Club 70!” God bless you with good health!

Leadership, lead by example! Fellow Ghanaians, WAKE UP!


The writer is a former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association Nairobi, Kenya and Council Chairman Family Health University College, Accra