On 1st January 1984, nearly 40 years ago, I joined the workforce of the Petroleum Department of the Ministry of Fuel and Power, based in the Republic House building opposite COCBOD on the Kwame Nkrumah Avenue.

The total workforce was no more than 30, and our boss, the Chief of Petroleum, was called Mr. THOMAS TROTGRAD FABYAN, a half caste Ghanaian very FIRM, extremely hardworking, full of humor, and a tough disciplinarian.

In those days, Mr. Appiah Korang was the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) Secretary for Fuel and Power, and we had a small Technical Committee at the Ministry with me as the Member Secretary.

After doing all the ground work, the foundations were laid, and on February 12, 1985, the Petroleum Department was converted into the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, with our offices at the Black Star Line premises in Osu, later moved to Tema.

After working in petroleum for 10 solid years as Legal Officer, I resigned on June 1, 1994, and started my own private law firm, Nkrabeah and Associates, till date.

On Wednesday March 15, 2023, called by the ancient world as “The Ides of March” the fateful day on which historians agree the greatest man who has ever lived, JULIUS CAESAR, was assassinated in the Roman Senate by 16 conspirators, led by his own son, MARCUS BRUTUS, – on that day I bought newspapers and saw a full page OBITUARY notice of the upcoming funeral of TT Fabyan, who fell in 2022 at the ripe old age of 80 years.

This is one funeral I must attend at all costs, I said to myself.

Come Saturday March 18, 2023, I left my Kasoa abode at exactly 0600 hours, objective – Elmina – for the funeral of TT Fabyan.

Reader, believe it or not, one day in 1989, I drove from the Cape Coast High Court to the Accra High Court in exactly 55 minutes – oh yes, I did it, but not today. Even at that early hour, from Kasoa to Winneba alone took one solid hour, and I finally entered Cape Coast, circa 0900 hours.

I drove on by the seashore and entered ELIMINA called EDINA by the local people, the first location that the white man landed on our shores in 1472 – Don DIEKO D’AZAMBUNB – a Portuguesa.

Where is the funeral taking place? I drove on to the Catholic Church, but there was nobody there – oh, no, sir, a passerby pointed out – go to the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church on the other side of the Cape Coast-Takoradi Highway.

I finally located the place, a very impressive compound, in time to see the procession of the choir for the commencement of the burial mass. It was a typical Catholic liturgy, with “AGNUS DEI” and “KYRES” SANCTUS, PATER NOSTER and so on.

Even though tributes were read before the service started formally, the biography and tribute by the widow were read at the very tail end of the service.

Reader, don’t forget that I was privileged to have worked before as an Honourable Member of Parliament for Berekum for eight years, and Deputy Minister for six years under President Kufuor, so, my presence was acknowledged by the MC, and I was given an opportunity to sing my personal anthem, “M’atwen Awuarade Anim”, to the glory of my Maker, Almighty God.

To my shock, when I mounted the lectern to sing, I suddenly found myself surrounded by old comrades, all retired GNPC senior officers, including MR. SAM, who took over from me as President of the GNPC Senior Staff Association, a post I held for seven years. I had not seen any of them for more than 10 years, and I did not know whether to laugh in excitement at the sudden reunion, or to seriously concentrate on the business at hand – sing, Captain.

Around 11 o’clock everything was over and pallbearers carried the cadaver into a waiting “Transitions” motorcade or hearse out for interment.

Reader, one Sunday I went to a Presbyterian Church in the countryside, at about 10 o’clock. There was NOT even ONE car parked outside the chapel, but it was full – no sitting space.

By contrast I came out of the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Elmina to see the car park VERY FULL, as if everybody who came to the burial mass came with a private car – you name it – BMW, 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser, saloon cars… reader, call it a RICH MAN’S FUNERAL and you will not be far from right.

Elmina – the Omanhene, Nana Couduah IV, was my client in the early 90s – let me go to the Palace to greet him. Reader, he hosted me handsomely with fufu at the Elmina Beach Resort. When I sat in my car, I rolled the seat backwards to find two hours later that I was back home in Kasoa.

Farewell, TT Fabyan.

Written by Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey


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