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22.05.2006 Obituaries

Ghana loses a gem

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A young tree does not fall but unfortunately one of the most promising young trees has fallen, that was how Ghana's President John Agyekum Kufuor ended his tribute to the late Ferdinand Ayim.

The death of Ferdinand Kwabena Ofori Ayim, who was the Special Assistant to the Minister of Tourism and Diasporean Relations, threw the whole Ghana into mourning on the morning of April seventh this year. There were several tributes in most the media by people of all walks of life who had met Freddie, as he was affectionately called by many, in the course of his work and life and the question on the lips of most people was: why?

Born on Tuesday, the 28th of October 1960 to the late Mr. A.S.B.Y Ayim and Madam Nana Yaa Dokua Ofori-Atta, Freddie started his formal education at New Era Preparatory School in Accra.

He continued his schooling at the Ghana Secondary School in Koforidua and Apam Secondary School in the Eastern and Central Regions of Ghana respectively, after which he enrolled at the College of Professional Management, where he obtained a Diploma in Sales Management and Marketing.

No wonder, Preside nt John Agyekum Kufuor described him as a political blooded person, even though Marketing personnel by profession, Freddie has been involved in politics ever since he left school. At age 19, he was the Deputy Youth Organizer for UNC at the Okaikoi constituency, rising to be the substantive Youth Organizer for the Adabraka Odawna area when PFP merged with UNC to form All Peoples Party. At 32, he was among the founding members of the ruling New Patriotic Party and he campaigned for Professor Adu Boahene and the NPP during the 1992 elections.

Freddie fell out of Adu Boahene's speeding convoy at Kumasi when he was video recording the moving convoy but quickly got up dusted himself and got on with the campaign trail in 1992.

President Kufuor said in his tribute: " Freddie was always beside me during the time of my political campaign, he toured the whole country with me, he was born to serve Ghana, not only the NPP but the whole of Ghana that is why at h is funeral all the different political parties are well represented."

The funeral of Ayim brought together members of the NPP and the opposition NDC as well as the CPP and PNC and notable among the NDC members were Mr Asiedu Nketiah, General Secretary, John Mahama, Ama Beniwaa Doe and many others.

President Kufuor said Ferdinand Ayim had left a legacy, which demonstrated love among politicians, noting that it was unnecessary for politicians to hate themselves because they do not agree on a particular concept.

"We need not hate ourselves because of political differences," the President said, adding that, that was the kind of politics they needed to practice in the country, showing unity in diversity.

Among many of Freddie's publications are "Okyeman: A Cultural History, Election 2004 and What the Newspapers Say," he also co-authored "Positive Change: A Good Beginning; One Year into Positive Change, Positive Change- So Far so Good and the NPP Manifesto 2004. Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, who the deceased worked with until his untimely death, said, " Freddie brought to his work enthusiasm, loyalty, a capacity for hard work and a level of initiative that I have rarely encountered in this country."

He said his work on publicizing the recent eclipse of the sun in Ghana was a fitting way to gracefully bow out.

President Kufuor said, "...but the light that you have shone, as a party activists, a journalists and a government official on Ghana's democracy shall remain one of the major illumines " And it shall lead us on this never to retard tour to a better Ghana, a greater Ghana, a Ghana where we motivate out citizens and hail heroes such as you."

His funeral brought together over four thousand people from all walks of life. He left behind a wife and four children.