President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has acknowledged the unwavering support of the late former General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, when he sought to secure the presidential seat.
Describing the late politician as an “Akufo-Addo loyalist”, the President recounted how the former General Secretary, popularly known as Sir John, just after the verdict of the 2012 election petition, expressed confidence in his ability to win the next general election in 2016.
This, he recalled, was after some NPP bigwigs and supporters had raised doubts about his capability due to two previous unsuccessful outcomes.
Reading a tribute to bid his friend farewell yesterday, President Akufo-Addo praised Sir John for his charisma and dedication to the party.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the firm conviction and support that the outspoken politician displayed during all electioneering periods, showed the commitment he had for the NPP.
“‘Make no mistake, Nana will lead NPP, even if he is in a wheelchair’, the date was September 3, 2013, and Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie was in the studios of Hello FM where he made this famous statement with such utter conviction.
“Many wondered why Sir John, as he was referred to by all, will make this comment barely three days after the Supreme Court handed down its controversial 5:4 verdict in the election petition of 2013. Indeed, it wowed a few in the NPP who believed that he had declared me the presidential candidate for the 2016 election three clear years ahead of time.
“Perhaps, he had seen something others had not. For me, that statement of 3rd September 2013, reinforced my belief that I could always count on Sir John as a true and true Akufo-Addo loyalist and someone I could call a good friend and so it proved. Even though he lost his pet to retain his position as General Secretary of the party.
“He never left my side. He campaigned vigorously for me in the run-up to the 2016 election on radio, on the campaign platform in the hinterlands said John, was there. His joy knew no bounds is drawn when the NPP and I won the elections of 2016 decided. I have the privilege of appointing him as chief executive officer of the Forestry Commission, and his record in office vindicated the choice I made. Like everyone who had the opportunity of knowing him, I received the news of his death, with great shock. The disbelief and grief, expressed by many at the news of his death, our testimony to how people in and out of the NPP felt about him.
“A passionate devotee of the Danquah Dombo Busia political tradition outstanding member of the NPP strong defender of human rights as a lawyer, proud faithful adherent of the seven-day Christian Adventist faith. These well the multifaceted aspects of the career and character of Sir John, which has been great affection and considerable renown.
“An energetic, jovial, with an exceptional sense of humour and possessing a limitless store of folktales and Proverbs, he affected positively, every person with whom he came into contact. He was truly unforgettable at our party and owe him an immense debt for his work and commitment.
“My wife Rebecca and I extend our deepest condolences to his entire family Sakora Wonoo have lost a valuable son. He will be widely missed”, President Akufo-Addo eulogised the former CEO of the Forestry Commission.
President a tribute on behalf of the governing NPP, the party’s General Secretary, Mr John Boadu said the witty nature of the once outspoken politician, Sir John, will forever be remembered by the Party.
State of mourning
The community of Sakora Wonoo was in a state of mourning as the mortal remains of the late Sir John was laid in state.
The funeral rites of the politician started in morning at the Sakora Wonoo Junior High School, in the Kwabre East District of the Ashanti Region, where residents of the community lined up to file past his remains.
Dignitaries including President Akufo-Addo and other NPP stalwarts were at the funeral to pay their last respects.
The mortal remains of the affable former General Secretary of the NPP, was later laid to rest at the Sakora Wonoo family cemetery.
The late Sir John died at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital July 1, 2020 after reportedly suffering from post-COVID-19 complications.