…Over 24 Eulogies Rendered
Thousands of people from all walks of life throughout the world trooped to Kortwia-Bekwai in the Ashanti Region to mourn Dr. Thomas Ango Bediako, popularly known as T.A, the renowned teacher, inspirer, Educationist, Trade Unionist, Nationalist, Statesman, etc. The well-attended solemn occasion was characterized by eulogy for the fallen hero, as at least 24 of them (eulogies) were rendered in his burial, funeral and memorial service Brochure. Among them was Dr. Loretta Johnson of the American Foundation of Teachers, USA, Babara Macdonald More, Retired Director of CTF International Programmes, Ottawa, Canada and Education International (EI) Africa Region.
Some came from World Conference of Organization of the Teaching Professions (WCOTP), Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) and Canadian Teachers Federation (CTF) Canada, the All African Teachers Association (AATA), the Gambian Teachers Union (GTU) and other sprinter teacher-unions.
Yet others came from the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) in concert with the Community of African Teacher Unions and Education International (EI). The Ghana Blind Teachers Association also paid tribute to the late T.A.
There were also glowing tributes from the family ably read by Dr. M.A Bediako, a younger brother and former Secretary General, SDA Conference, USA. The wife, children, the Anglican church, Madina in Accra, as well as renowned educationalist as Prof. Kofi Dankwa (KNUST), and Sir Emeritus Prof. George Benneh (formerly of Legon).
In his tribute to his late Brother, Dr. M.A Bediako quoted Ellen G. White’s Education page 58 “The Greatest want of the world is the want of those men and women who will not be bought or sold, who in their inmost souls are true and honest, those who do not fear to call sin by its right name, those whose conscience is as true a duty as the needle is to the pole, those who will stand for the right, though the heavens”
M.A indicated that inspired by the meaning of his name, Kofi Doman – lover of nation, a patriot the late T.A, the first among five sons of their parents, was guided by the principles he memorized from his favorite author Ellen White quoted above and, set forth to live his life according to those principles.
Describing him as bold and fearless person, who did not fear to speak his mind, M.A indicated that T.A contributed enormously to most of the innovations in GNAT and Teachers’ organizations throughout Africa.
GNAT’s J.J Mensah-Kane, when writing the forward to the “GNAT 50 years of Action” described T.A as the “strongest pillar of Modern GNAT, the man whose heart and soul are totally dedicated to GNAT almost to a faults.
However, GNAT officials are of the belief that if Mensah-Kane were to be describing him in the 1990 to 2003, he would have said of him as “The Pillar of Modern African Trade Unionism”.
Pro. Darkwah described him, “T.A, known in Ghana and international circles, was a man of vision, of incredibly diverse talents and skills, all of which he put at the service of his fellow men and women not only in Ghana, but also in Africa and the world at large. T.A’s whole life may be summed up as a life dedicated to promoting the interest and welfare of working people in the various countries of Africa.
“T.A was fearless in articulating what he believed to be right and in pursuing the principles of selflessness, sharing and fighting for the good of all”.
Hon. Christine Churcher, former MP for Cape Coast and Former Minister of Education put it simply, “My greatest man has fallen”.
Ironically, T.A was buried on Ascension Day and there was a heavy downpour after his burial.
Hon. Simon Osei-Mensah, Ashanti Regional Minister, who represented the government, indicated that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would have loved to attend the funeral, but his busy schedule has taken him out of the country.
As such he directed the vice-president Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to attend in his stead.
However, since he was equally engaged, he (RM) had been directed to attend on their behalf. He stressed that the chairs, tents and other expenses at the funeral had been borne by the government, which also gave a substantial amount of drinks among many other donations.
M.A Thanks Government and All
Meanwhile Dr. M.A Badiako, the younger brother and successor to T.A has expressed gratitude and appreciation to the government and all, who in diverse ways mourned with the bereaved family in the trying moments of the death, burial and thanks-giving service of their beloved T.A Badiako.
M.A, who also doubles as the Abusuapanyin (head of family) for the Asona family of Kortwia and Abodom, near Ashanti Bekwai, made this known in an interview with this paper last week at Bekwai. According to him, the family was very much appreciative of the government’s efforts in honoring the late T.A Bediako especially in the provision of chairs, tents and the presence of the Information Service, as well as the military, who helped the state burial through and also the maintenance of peace.
Mr. Bediako also mentioned government’s provision of drinks, chairs, tents and a donation of GH¢10,000 as well as the President’s representation by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon. Simon Osei Mensah and the MCE of Bekwai. “This and many more, we are very much appreciative of, and rend our profound gratitude to him”, he stressed.
He pointed out that the late brother’s services were not only limited to his community at Kortwia, but also throughout the Ashanti Region, Ghana, West Africa, African and the whole world, as tributes paid him indicated.
Dr. Bediako was of the hope that the good works of Dr. T.A Bediako, would be emulated by all. He expressed special gratitude to the Kokofu Omanhene, Barimah Effeh Akwasi Okogyeasuo II, the chiefs and queen mothers of the various communities present, the clergy, Hon. Joe Gidisu, Former Minister for Roads and Highways, government officials present, the media, and all and sundry, who in diverse ways mourned with the family in their trying moments.
“We will forever remember him as chairman of the Pension Commission, whose sole vision was that workers should have a place to lay their heads when they retire”, M.A said with nostalgia.
On his part, Pastor Kenneth Appiah of the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship (PCF) added his voice of thanks to all especially the clergy who participated in the burial, funeral and thanks-giving services for the late T.A.
He pointed out that as Pastors, they have the belief that God can call anybody at anytime. Therefore all should hold themselves ready for any such eventuality. Pastor Appiah opined that as overwhelming as that funeral was, the organizers, and for that matter the family might have offend mourners in one way or the other.
All that his plea is, is that they should forgive and forget because of the overwhelming nature of the funeral. Pastor Appiah, who is also a son to the deceased, pleaded with his brothers and sisters, especially his brother Frederick Ango Bediako, General Manager, Billing and Revenue Division of ECG, Accra to take heart, put the pains behind them, live in unity so as to give credence to the fruitful live their late father led, that has imparted so much on many.
Source: S. O. Ankamah, Bekwai-Kortwia, Ashanti Region