From Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi..
A veteran political activist in Kumasi, Opanin Kwame Afreh, has reiterated his call on the government of Ghana to take up the challenge and honour Dr. Nkrumah with final funeral rites befitting this “great son of Ghana and Africa.”
Opanin Afreh, 78, who is also Chairman of a Kumasi-based pressure group, Asante United Front (AUF), says Dr. Nkrumah has sacrificed a lot for Ghana and deserves more, even in death.
He has suggested that the Akufo-Addo government should plan a fitting burial for the first President of Ghana.
Opanin Afreh, a born Convention People’s Party (CPP) member, has called on the President to appoint a committee to plan and organise the proposed final funeral rites of the first president, to which great event world leaders and politicians should be invited to showcase the potentials of the country.
Afreh observed that an invitation to the world to attend the final funeral rites of this great son of Ghana and Africa would be one event world leaders would like to be associated with, as well as boost tourism.
The firebrand politician said the government should incorporate the final funeral rites of Ghana’s first President in the celebration of Independence Day next year, during which invited dignitaries would have the opportunity to pay their respects to the great son of Ghana at the Nkrumah Mausoleum.
He has, therefore, appealed to the Council of State, National House of Chiefs, National Commission on Culture, Christian Council of Ghana, Catholic Bishops Conference, political parties, professional bodies, Ghana Bar Association, and student groups to prevail upon the Akufo-Addo government to give Dr. Nkrumah this last honour.
Opanin Afreh explained that the late President Nkrumah is the only one among the Big Six who has not been honoured with the all-important ritual of final funeral rites.
He said with regards to the traditional settings and customary practices in the country, distinction is made between burial and funeral rites, saying, when a king dies, the burial rites are performed and the next of kin (successor) performs the final funeral rites on assumption of office.
Opanin Afreh said since the burial has been performed by predecessors, it would only be proper that the process is completed.
Opanin Afreh noted that this single act of honour by Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration would send Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah on the final journey to the land of his ancestors, where he rightly belongs, and go further to open doors for his “One district, one factory” development agenda.
Apart from the tendency of this event greatly promoting the national reconciliation efforts at the domestic level, such an event would provide another opportunity for homecoming for the many blacks in the diaspora, and boost tourism.
According to Opanin Afreh: “Denying this great son of Africa’s standing and calibre off this ritual, means denying him safe and peaceful entry into the land of our ancestors.”
He prophesised that failure on the part of the ruling government, or any successive government, would hinder the progress and forward march of the country’s development.
He said former President J. A. Kufuor and the late President Atta Mills did not respond positively to the call, and hoped Nana Akufo-Addo would do justice to the process, without which the soul of Dr. Nkrumah is restless.
He commended President Mills for instituting a public holiday in memory of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as part of the marking of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Nkrumah, but said that honour was not enough.
Opanin Afreh has, therefore, appealed to the present government not to hesitate, but go all out to perform Dr. Nkrumah’s funeral, no matter what it takes to bring honour and dignity, not only to the family of the late first President, but also to the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ghana, and the good people of the nation as a whole.
From Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi..