President John Evans Atta Mills on Wednesday paid glowing tribute to the memory of the late Vice Admiral Emmanuel Osei Owusu- Ansah, former Chief of Naval Staff, as the nation honoured him with a state funeral.
He described the late officer as a quiet but hardworking, committed, dedicated man who contributed to the stability and orderliness of the nation.
“He was a father, a friend and national patriot,” President Mills said, as he addressed mourners, including former President Jerry John Rawlings and his wife Nana Konadu, high profile Government officials, politicians from different parties, military personnel and civilians.
The mourners thronged the Burma Camp Presbyterian/Methodist Church to attend the funeral service ahead of the burial of the late officer at his home town, Antoa, in the Kwabre East District in the Ashanti Region.
The Chief of Naval Staff, who was born on October 24, 1942, died on Sunday, January 18, 2009. His body lay in a wooden casket draped in the national colours of red, yellow, green, with a black star in the middle, denoting a state funeral and full military honours.
President Mills eulogized the late top naval officer, who, he said, he came into contact with during his term as Vice President in the late 1990s as hardworking, intelligent and honest.
Their paths crossed again after the Government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) left office. When the NDC regained power after the 2008 elections, the late Vice Admiral was appointed a member of the Defence sub-committee of the Government's Transition Team.
The President appointed the late officer as his representative at the Ministry of Defence, but he died soon after that announcement.
The late Vice Admiral Owusu-Ansah and several others were banned from entering military installations last year before the ruling NDC took over power from the New Patriotic Party.
The President extended his condolence to the wife and family of the late officer.
“Thank you, Vice Admiral; if there is stability and orderliness in Ghana now, no doubt, you contributed to it,” the President said.
The Rev. Colonel David Adoteye-Asare, Director of Religious Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces, who based his sermon on Philippians 1:21, 22, urged Ghanaians to be prepared to meet surprises and manage them.
He said what he learned from the late Vice Admiral, who was a student in lay preaching class, was that life was full of surprises, and no matter how good or bad they were, there was need to manage them.
Rev. Col. Adoteye-Asare said man was a reflection of the character of God, and must therefore exhibit the goodwill, creativity and productivity of God.
He said when man was separated from God, he was dead, physically, emotionally or spiritually, and enjoined Ghanaians to be alive to their mandate as stewards of God and make a difference wherever they would find themselves.
Rev. Col. Adoteye-Asare condemned the rising accidents on highways, which he attributed to indiscipline and indifference.
“We are dying, we are cut off from what gives life. If we are insensitive to what is right or wrong, our prayers will have no effect.
“Let's pray for life and insist on the things that bring life,” Rev. Col. Adoteye-Asare said.
Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Government and people of Ghana, the Ghana Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defence, Veterans Association of Ghana, Chief of Naval Staff, Officers and Ratings.