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The Million Dollar Question

Feature Article The Million Dollar Question
FRI, 13 OCT 2023 LISTEN

The Holy Bible has 66 books, and one of the books is ECCLESIASTES, published just after “Proverbs”.

Many varied Bible Commentaries give very interesting comments on ECCLESIASTES because it is as if “all life is vanity”.

Over the weekend I attended the funeral of my elder brother ERNEST KWAME APRAKU rumored to have been the richest self-made man in Berkeum. The Planning Committee erected a big black monument night in front of his residence on which had been written in letters of gold, the Akan version of Ecclesiastes Chapter 6 verse 3.

“No matter how long you live or how many children you have or how rich you are, if you don't get a lavish burial then you are worse off…….”

Even though I eat, drink and sleep POLITICS my brother was the exact opposite. He died at 75 years never having held any political office, never having attended ANY political meeting.

He was a pure and simple BUSINESSMAN interested in making money and enjoying life – leaving behind two wives to mourn him and TWENTY-TWO full grown children with countless grand children.

The million dollar question is that was his funeral in terms of Ecclesiastes Chapter 6 verse 3?

He died in Berekum Holy family Hospital on 26th March 2023 and the grand farewell was set for the first weekend of October.

He was so popular and famous in Berekum that his upcoming funeral was the talk of the town.

I left Accra at 4pm on Friday and after a cool drive got to Bunso Junction where I fell into a 10 kilometer long go slow traffic that lasted TWO HOURS.

Eventually I arrived in Berekum at 0300 hrs and drove straight to his iconic palatial residence, venue for the Wake Keeping.

Mr. Apraku's house, fit for the hosting of any dignitary, including, the President of any country in the world, sits on one acre of land with gardens flowers and trees all over.

They laid him in state in his big living room, with white curtains all round, like the inside of a big tent, and they dressed him in rich kente cloth, lying down, simply on the bed, with over 50 giant size candles, burning at the corners.

I stood there for a long time watching the cadaver – here in this very room, his living room, I have sat and talked with him a million times…..look at him lying there, reminding me of Psalm 49 in the Bible……every man will die as a beast…….

I left the youth dancing to live band music and went home to freshen up only to come back at 0630 hrs to find the entire family members already seated. I joined them and we all waited as mourners kept pouring in one by one……Asantehene's delegation, lawyers, doctors, Chiefs and many many people from all walks of life.

My brother was a stanch Presbyterian, and the Presby Church was all over – Choristers, singing band, men's fellowship, Boys Brigade and over twenty fully dressed clergy.

The funeral service lasted just under two hours and the Boys' Brigade lifted the corpse for burial right at the far corner on the compound of his iconic residence.

We all then trooped to the football park of the Berekum Secondary School, arguably the biggest area in Berekum capable of hosting the expected huge crowd. I will estimate over 100 giant size canopies ringing the sports field, taking on average of one hour to go round greeting the seated mourners.

Reader, the Chiefs – say again – the chiefs – they came in their numbers, majority of them with great pomp and pageantry. The NSOATRE Community which has some interesting traditional history with Berekum – they brought TWO separate Paramount Chiefs – one with the support of the Queenmother and the other with the support of the Krontihene and Akwamuhene – who is who?

The Bono Regional Minister, the MCE, Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, whose wife comes from Berekum the Nsoatre MP who doubles as Minister of Employment Baffour Awuah and, reader, guess who came in a bombastic manner as if the deceased were NDC Chairman General, indigene of nearby Seikwa, Johnson Aseidu Nketiah, escorted by so many NDC supporters.

The climax of all the arrivals was when the MC announced bombastically the arrival of KUROWURA (Owner of the town) Her Royal Majesty the Queenmother, Nana Akosua Aneahene II – she is a larger-than-life personality with all the majesty around her.

Reader, I was shocked when I looked at my wristwatch only to find that the time was 5pm!! Just now?

So back to the million dollar question – all over coming and going – is it to ensure a LAVISH burial?

History gives a glowing account of the over 200 “mile” Journey of the corpse of ALEXANDER THE GREAT across Asia to the burial grounds in Alexandria in Africa – escorted by a whole Army – but history says not even ONE WORD about the funeral of the person historians agree is the Greatest man in the world JULIUS CAESAR.

History does not say anything about the burial of the famous mongolruler JENHIS KHAN who is rumored to have said: “The greatest pleasure in life is to conquer your enemies, seize their horses and goods and hear their women crying!!!

How about the funeral of ADOLF HILTLER? Was there any? Where was he buried?

So, what will you say about those EIGHT Generals who were executed by J J Rawlings and about 20 years later their bodies were exhumed and given separate lavish burials?

Every human being is made up of THREE elements – first the SPIRIT of Almighty God; second the SOUL which defines your individuality and finally the BODY – the biological species.

Will any theologian answer me – I am only a Lawyer, defending people in Court – when a person dies how long does it take before judgment? Instant? After burial? Or when?

Read Ecclesiastes Chater 6 verse3.
By Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey

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