Ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday said the late Edward Salia, NDC MP for Jirapa, distinguished himself as a statesman and deserved the honour of a state burial.
He said: “When I heard that President Mills has decided to honour him with a state burial I thought it was in the right direction because it is a mark of great distinction for a man to have served his country in the capacity of Member of Parliament and two-time cabinet Minister.”
President Kufuor made the remark when the family of the Mr Salia called on him to formally inform him about his demise.
Mr Salia passed away on February 16 at the age of 57.
President John Evan Atta Mills recently announced that the remains of Mr Salia would be laid in state at the forecourt of Parliament House on March 19 before his final funeral rites in his home town, Jirapa, on March 20-21.
Ex-President Kufuor consoled the widow and children of the deceased and urged them to take solace in the fact that even though their father died at a relatively young age, he served his country and community with distinction.
“The whole nation is with you in mourning your father and that should signal to you that when you serve your country with dedication you will be noticed by all,” he said.
The former President said Mr Salia's death should draw Ghanaians closer to their God, saying that keeping in mind that death comes to both the old and the young.
He assured the family that if duty did not take him out of the country on the day of the funeral he would personally be there to mourn with them.
“But if for some reason I have to be outside of the country I'll make sure I am adequately represented,” he said
Mr Bede Ziedeng, spokesperson for the family, told the former President that the deceased was instrumental in the establishment of the Sunzele Rural Bank in the Jirapa District of the Upper West Region and chaired the board of the bank for a while.
“He was also instrumental in establishing the Jirapa Youth and Development Association and was also an Assemblyman at Jirapa during the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) era,” he said.
He presented two bottles of schnapps to the former President to formally invite him to the funeral.