The other day, I attended a funeral service for some fallen chap, and the Pastor preaching the sermon said something I always remember.

He said we mortals are like a garden of flowers. When a visitor comes, the landlord picks a beautiful flower for the reception of the visitor.

This is the reason why once in a while you hear in the news that what we see as a good man or a good woman, usually young in age or in his or her prime, has suddenly died off.

We Presbyterians have a hymn with a line that runs: “Ma oyinkye ha kakra” (Let this one stay here a bit longer).

I confess I am not a football fan. I am not like my son, Lawyer Divine, who always loses his voice whenever Real Madrid wins a match. My sympathies are with Kotoko and Manchester United, but even so, once in a while I watch, especially, international matches.

So don’t be surprised that I never saw CHRISTIAN ATSU in person, though I heard that he was a great football star.

It was after his untimely death that I heard so much talk about him; how he used to go to the prisons and pay off the fines of prisoners so that they can come out; how he sponsored several orphanages, feeding the hungry, and supporting the needy. In short, Christian Atsu was a good man, using his wealth for the benefit of all.

The Presbyterians would have wished that “let this one keep here a title longer….”

But Almighty God, who holds the key to every life, had different plans for Christian Atsu. He fell innocently as a victim of the twin earthquakes in far away Turkey-Syria earthquake, where, according to CNN, a total of 51,000 people lost their lives, and 2 million people have been rendered homeless. The disaster is of colossal proportions.

The first message from Christian Atsu to we the living is that we should ALWAYS be prepared to meet our Maker. Each one of us can fall ANYTIME due to an accident, sudden illness, or disaster like an earthquake.

How prepared are you for the inevitable ultimate?

I felt very touched and my senses went numbed when I saw in the dailies a picture of Christian Atsu’s corpse wrapped in a Turkish Airlines cargo bag, as if it was full of clothes or something.

We mortals are nothing, but walking cargos, but what killed Christian Atsu? Earthquake?

In the whole world, JAPAN is the land of Earthquakes. I have been there before.

I am not a scientist, but a lawyer; nevertheless, seismologists tell me that the center of the planet earth is so HOT that it is almost like liquid, causing shocks ALL THE TIME.

The geological formation of Japanese islands is such that earthquakes are very, very common, BUT THEY HAVE LEARNT TO LIVE WITH IT!

Because of earthquakes, in Japan they are more than very strict with BUILDING REGULATIONS – very, very strict, while here, in my motherland where people build on waterways, they use less concrete and so on.

In 2001, as a Member of Parliament (MP)/Deputy Minister for Local Government I travelled to USA and my host, a University Professor, met me at the airport in Washington. As we drove along a little outside the city, he asked me. “Honourable Minister, have you seen that building?” I turned and saw a 12-storey building jutting out of the skyline, sitting there.

“The local authorities gave the landlord [a] permit to build a 11-storey building, but the landlord decided to add a 12th floor, and the local authorities told him: “Look here, we gave you [a] permit for 11 stores, not 12. Either you demolish the 12th floor or you don’t enter the building.” And now 5 years long, the building stands there, unoccupied.

Reader, do you know the Supreme Court building in Accra? About ten years ago the Judicial Service put up a new block of offices just next to the Supreme Court, and a decision was taken that why do not build a corridor to link the two buildings so that the elderly Justices of the Supreme Court can just walk in between floors from the Supreme Court to the Judicial Service office complex?

Good idea. They brought steel metals for the construction and workers started to drill holes into the Supreme Court building erected in 1912!!!

What is this? They tried and tried and gave up!!!

The concrete in the Supreme Court building is more than a ROCK!!!!

Compare this with Sakaman Junction in Accra. Right at the junction somebody has put up an 8-storey floor of offices, but you don’t need to have GCE O Level to know that NO BUILDING INSPECTOR will sanction that structure.

Even the poles of street lights look stronger than the pillars holding the 8-storey structure.

When I came to Accra in the 70s, I was told that McCarthy Hill is the epic center of earthquakes in the city of Accra, but look at the buildings on top of the hill. In the event of an earthquake, who will take the blame?

The message from Christian Atsu is that let us be SERIOUS with our building regulations; let the laws work.

I live at Kasoa, and anytime it rains the McCarthy Hill toll booth stretch of the road becomes impassible, causing massive intolerable delays accidents and so on.

Are they man-made disasters?

Christian Atsu is telling us: LET THE LAW WORK!!!

Written by Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Chronicle’s stance.


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