The news of his demise hit me like a thunderbolt. I initially thought it was a social media prank until a senior member from the elephant stock confirmed the story. Yes, Lawyer Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly referred to as Sir John, has finally joined his ancestors in Samanfoland. But I prefer calling him 'Wofa Kookooase Kurasini'.
I have always admired him from afar. His unique style of communication, laced with humour and Akan proverbs, tickled many people’s fancy; and I was no exception. His interview with Delay has been etched in my memory because it was particularly outstanding. Delay, who is notoriously known for making her guests uncomfortable, ended up with a rib-cracking laughter at the end of the interview. I am sure it was one of the best interviews she had ever had.
It was not until last year that I had a personal interaction with him. My article – “Is the Elephant worth Dying For?” – had caught his attention so he got in touch to see if he could help me secure the scholarship I desperately needed. Things did not work out because the organization he directed me to had already exhausted its scholarship slots for the year.
Indeed, he and one other lady, whose name I cannot mention here, were the only ones who tried to help after my lamentation. Though things did not go as expected, I was very grateful that they had at least showed concern and tried to help.
Then began our nephew-uncle relationship. He usually called to commend me on my write-ups and corrected me whenever he felt an idea could have been put in a better way.
An article he loved so much was my commentary when Wofa Kan-Dapaah was caught on camera pandering to the whims of a damsel who could pass for his granddaughter. He was so pleased with “Please cut Wofa Kan-Dapaah some slack” that he literally compelled me to visit him at his office.
That was the first and only time I met him in person. He received me with open arms and admonished me to eschew passiveness and become very active in party matters. He offered to guide me in the turbulent political waters and told me I needed “a mission, vision and passion” to succeed. His proverbial generosity was on display as I left his office with a very fat envelope.
Yes, he did invite me to his office again after the lockdown, but I declined—giving all manner of excuses. The truth was that I did not want to be embarrassed with another fat envelope. Professor Gyampo mentioned in his tribute that he went through similar embarrassments anytime he visited Wofa Kookooase Kurasini.
I virtually communicated with him every week. I spoke with him on the eve of his demise and he was hale and hearty, despite being in the hospital. He said he was feeling well and hoped to be discharged by the end of the week.
It therefore came as a shock when I heard he had joined his ancestors in Samanfoland. I was in denial for some few minutes, but eventually came to terms with reality. The only ‘Sir’ in Ghanaian politics has finally left the land of the living.
Now that Wofa Kookooase Kurasini is no more, who will I run to for political guidance? Who will I call political godfather, now that Sir John is gone? I am very shattered!
When a loved one is lost, people cry for different reasons. Some cry because their breadwinner is gone. Others cry because they have lost the one who pays their school fees. Many others too cry because they have lost an advisor.
While I cry because I have lost a political godfather, some too cry because they have lost a benefactor. I wonder what the widows and orphans will do now that Sir John is gone. I can only imagine the difficulty university students under his care will go through, now that he has left without notice. Not forgetting family and party folks who depended on him for sustenance. In the words of Justice Baffoe-Bonnie, “Sir John was a human being. Coronavirus has claimed its biggest victim yet.”
Wofa, I will miss your infectious smile. A smile that is like sunshine after a downpour. Many will miss your good heart and benevolence. Your reconciliatory nature will also be sorely missed. Until we meet again in the distant future, I say fare thee well. Da Yie, Wofa!