Devastated, shocked – these are the words that commonly attend news of a death, even of an old person. They mirror, though, my exact feelings when I heard the dreadful news of J.B’s murder. The day before the awful end he had been in my house. He had led his wife and her family to come to inform me formally, in the Ghanaian customary manner, about the death of her aunt, Mrs. Sylvia Robertson, an elegant lady whom I had known very well. Despite its sombre purpose, J.B’s usual effervescent persona lit up the visit. We took the opportunity to talk a little politics, because, in recent times, he had become an important advisor. Imagine my shock and horror when I heard the next day of his brutal killing.
The sudden, tragic death of a person in his or her prime challenges one’s faith in an acute and disturbing fashion. So it is with J.B. Danquah-Adu’s death. It appears, as I write, to be a deed with no rhyme or reason. We must, nonetheless, continue to believe that there is a higher reason known to the Almighty. It cannot, however, diminish our grief or sense of loss.
I first met his elder brother, Frank, in the late 1980s in the presence of the late Okyenhene, Osagyefo Kuntunkununku. It was he who, in the early period of Kufuor’s rule, introduced me to his younger brother, J.B. Soon thereafter, Abuakwa constituency, which I represented in the 1997 and 2001 Parliaments, was divided into two – South and North. J.B, native of Tafo, decided to go for the Abuakwa North seat and entered Parliament in 2005 as its MP. From then, as representatives of the two Abuakwa seats, we were, perforce, thrown together to work for the NPP project.
I found him charming company, convivial and gay, with an inimitable smile. He was intelligent, well-organised and fully committed to the values of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia political tradition. He was emphatic on the critical importance of the pivotal role of the Ghanaian private sector in promoting the social and economic transformation of our society, which is our goal. His own successful business career as an industrialist was eloquent testimony to his deeply held beliefs.
He was immensely proud of the historic name that had been conferred on him. He had no doubt that his great ancestor, whose name he bore, Joseph Boakye Danquah, had the best blueprint for the rapid transformation of our nation, and that Ghana’s continued failure to make the quantum leap to prosperity, despite all its abundant riches, was as a result of the failure to apply that blueprint. He was going to do his best to remedy that failure. That was why he was in politics.
He became a valued and trusted counsellor, with sharp insights into the political process. He had a bright future, both as an entrepreneur and a politician. Our party and nation have lost a positive spirit, who had much to contribute to the future of our country. I will miss him sorely.
My wife, Rebecca, and I extend our deepest condolences to his young widow, Ivy, and their children, his sister, Magma, brothers, Frank and George, and the entire family.
J.B., rest in perfect peace. God bless you.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
Accra, 8th April, 2016.