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10.11.2008 Social News

Ghana bids Baah-Wiredu farewell

By The Statesman

Ghanaians were at the weekend united in absolute anguish and sorrow as thousands of mourners travelled from far and near to Asante Akyem Agogo in the Ashanti Region to bid final farewell to the late Finance and Economic Planning Minister and MP for Asante Akim North, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, whose sudden departure to the "land of infallibles' has been described as a very big blow to the nation.

Every available space in the hometown of the late Mr Baah-Wiredu was occupied, impeding both human and vehicular movement, as people from all walks of life, including politicians, scholars, the clergy, members of the diplomatic corps, traditional rulers, students and the general public, stormed the town to observe the burial and final funeral rites of the late illustrious son of the nation

The late Chartered Accountant and politician died on September 24, this year, in a South African Hospital of what was said to be post surgery complications from prostrate cancer.

 The chief mourner at the funeral which attracted a sea of people was President John Agyekum Kufuor, who has variously described the demise of his late first cabinet ministerial appointee as an irreparable loss to his government, the ruling New Patriotic Party and  the entire nation.

Also in attendance were Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, his running mate, Mahamudu Bawumia, as well as the wives of the political duo who are seeking to retain power for the ruling party in the December general elections.

Tributes read by various groups, including Kumasi High School Old Boys Association, old Vandals of the University of Ghana, the Methodist Church and the Agogo Traditional Council, eulogised the virtues of the late Mr Baah-Wiredu, which included his humility, affability, compassion for the poor and vulnerable, hard work, straightforwardness, commitment to excellence and patriotism. 

The scene evoked so much pathos, as both men and women, the young and old, the weak and able were seen shedding uncontrollable tears as the burial party, comprising men and officers from the Fourth Battalion of Infantry, covered the casket carrying the mortal remains of the late Minister and put it in the vehicle that conveyed the body to the royal cemetery for private interment.

 Many people could not believe their eyes, and felt what was being observed was not the reality. 'I still can't believe what I"m witnessing: that Hon Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu is dead and gone forever,' Ian Okwei, Political Correspondent of NPP News, remarked, as he glumly watched the vehicles conveying the burial party and the mortal remains of the late Baah-Wiredu head towards the cemetery.

Preaching the sermon, the Minister in charge of the Effiduase Methodist Church , Samuel Kwakye, reminded the mourners about the mortal nature of human being, and urged them to lead lives that would make people give good testimonies about them when they eventually join the heavenly choir.

Rt Rev Kwakye described the late Mr Baah-Wiredu as an honest, humble and hardworking person who committed his life to serving humanity, not for reward, stressing the need for all Ghanaians to emulate his example, and work assiduously towards the promotion of the nation's development agenda.

 'All of us should work very hard, as the late Hon Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu did, and further strive to attain excellence in whatever field of endeavour we find ourselves because it is only through hard work, as exhibited by the late MP and Minister, that can help our dear nation move forward,' the Reverend Minister stressed. 

 Rt Rev Kwakye paid a glowing tribute to the late Finance and Economic Planning Minister for his dexterous management of the nation's economy that had ensured its continued steady nature, in the face of the global oil and food crisis that had thrown the economies of many advanced countries out of gear.

 Born on June 3, 1952 at Agogo in the Asante Akim North District of the Ashanti Region, the late Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, who died at the age of 56, entered the nation's Legislature in 1997 and remained a Member of Parliament until his demise.

He worked together with Nana Akufo-Addo, NPP 2008 Presidential Candidate, and others to scuttle the plan by Gen Acheampong's Supreme Military Council to implement a Union Government concept in the country in 1978.

The late Baah-Wiredu, who was affectionately called 'Komfo Adu' by his constituents, joined the NPP when the party was formed in 1992.

He contested and won the 1996 parliamentary election to represent the people of Asante Akim North in the Second Parliament of the Fourth Republic and had since retained his seat.

 He was the first to be named a cabinet Minister (Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment) in President Kufuor's government when the NPP first won power in the 2000 elections.

He also held the Education, Youth and Sports portfolio and passed away while serving as the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.