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Sunday, September 19, 2021
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Godfred Opare Djan Writes: Sir John Was Simply The Finest

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A Song of Praise in 1 Chronicles 16:31, “Give thanks to the Lord, proclaim his greatness; tell the nations what he has done….”
The late Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie would vividly sing the above song of praise on any good day and quote copiously from the Bible at the least opportunity.
I have lost count of the number of times I had been shedding tears over the death of the man I addressed as ‘Daa’ or ‘Wofa’ and, all that I remember now is that I always miss him; don’t remember forgetting about the good, the bad and ugly times I shared with him.
Sir John, as he was affectionately called, was an embodiment of love, kindness and wisdom, for which I never for once regretted knowing him, and will forever be grateful to God for creating such a beautiful person, who served humanity with passion.
Our paths crossed somewhere in 2004 at a programme held at the Prempeh Assembly, and we lived happily after that encounter, because Sir John treated me with love and respect.
There was something special about Sir John that got me attracted to him; that was his level of wisdom. Wofa Kwadwo was not intelligent but a wise man who could proffer advice and solutions to problems that other people would struggle over.
Wofa Kwadwo’s kindness to even people who are known to be his adversaries, created problems between us sometimes, as I could not fathom out why he was ever prepared to help these persons, but he would simply tell me “some humans are like fowls, so don’t worry your head about them”.
I may need a foolscap notebook to catalogue the assistance and help that Daa offered me, since we chanced upon each other in 2004.
Even on his sickbed, he had me in mind and had planned meeting with me on July 2, 2020, to offer me a help I needed at the time; but God had other plans for us and called him on July 1, 2020.
Sir John never liked to see the next person going through hardship, and was always ready to give out his last ball of kenkey and sleep on an empty stomach; never for once complained about offering help to others.
In my adult life, I have dealt with people and experienced lots of things. But without any fear of contradiction, Sir John was the best when it time to protecting my interest, as he saved me on countless occasions from the hands of politicians, who wanted to devour me just because my position on certain critical issues did not fall in line with theirs.
The late Mr. Afriyie was like the Duck, calm upon surface of water, composed and unruffled but beneath, would paddle like ‘hell’. He oftentimes had a way of devising strategies to deal with issues, as and when they came up.
There were times that Sir John had to resort to his usual antics and pugilistic tactics to ward off people, including those from his own New Patriotic Party from attacking me.
Although, Sir John knew how his adversaries could use certain media houses to attack him, on no occasion did he use my newspaper against anyone. Rather, he would call to warn and berate me for stepping on certain toes. At point, certain people had gone to the corridors of power to lie that my newspaper, The Inquisitor was established and financed by Sir John, something we always laughed about.
Wofa Kwadwo cherished his family, both the nuclear and extended and, would not stop talking about his daughters and his only son, Kwaku Yaw (Strange Name).
When his son was to settle in Ghana from the United Kingdom, Daa would not stop bothering me with preparation as he wanted first class treat for him.
He would not stop talking about his sisters and mother at Wonoo and would prepare adequately for them, especially, when it was Christmas. Wofa would always travel to Wonoo for the festivities fully organized as he loved his hometown with great passion.
For him, Wonoo made him who he was until he passed on and there was no way he could turn against his roots for a second. Wonoo people also treated Mr. Afriyie with great deal of respect and love.
Any time I told him that I was going to Aburi to visit my mother, Wofa would enter into his bedroom and part with money as he greatly admired my closeness to mother. His loved for my mother whom he never met for some good reasons, soared when I told him the reason why I am always around my mother; that she helped me lived when I was born prematurely.
Each opportunity of being around Sir John came with learning something new from the man who would not hesitate to scold me anytime he felt that I had gone overboard, as a journalist.
To Mr. Afriyie, every young man or young woman he came across was his nephew or niece and many visitors to his home were not aware that I was not his blood relative, because of how we related well with each other.
The Sir John I knew was courageous but very respectful and very careful with his spoken words, as he didn’t want to offend anyone.
His brother, Joe Baffour popularly called ‘Joe Bee’, who was always with Sir John, made life beautiful for Sir John, by being always there for him and, by extension, always there for me too.
Joe Bee has virtually inherited the relationship I had had with his brother and has been checking on me from time to time and encouraging me to stop brooding over the death of his brother.
I don’t intend severing ties with the family of Sir John; that’s my second family and always welcomes me. I have formed a stronger bond with Kwaku Yaw because I cherish what existed between me and Mr. Afriyie (Sir John) so much.
Sir John does not deserve to be described as one of the finest, because he was simply the finest to all and sundry who came into contact with him privately or publicly.
Me Dofo Pa, I will always remember you because you treated me with respect, love, humility, dignity and kindness.

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