President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with the government and people of Ghana over passing of the country’s former President, Jerry John Rawlings who died Thursday morning in Accra aged 73. In his condolence message to President Nana Akuffo-Ado, Buhari affirmed that the entire African continent will sorely miss the sterling qualities of the great leader,
President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with the government and people of Ghana over passing of the country’s former President, Jerry John Rawlings who died Thursday morning in Accra aged 73.
In his condolence message to President Nana Akuffo-Ado, Buhari affirmed that the entire African continent will sorely miss the sterling qualities of the great leader, a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina disclosed.
“President Buhari believes the passion, discipline and moral strength that the former Ghanaian leader employed to reposition his country over many years continue to reverberate across the continent and beyond,” the statement said.
“The President notes, with commendation, the unique role the former President played in strengthening political institutions in his country and Africa, stimulating the economy for sustainable growth, and vociferously championing the African cause by urging many leaders to work towards interdependency on the global stage, especially in areas of competitive advantage.
“President Buhari joins family, friends and associates of the former Ghanaian leader in mourning his departure, assuring that the ideas that Rawlings postulated, particularly for development in Africa, and his sacrifices in working in various countries as an envoy for peace and democracy will always be remembered.
“The President prays that the Almighty God will grant the Ghanaian leader eternal rest, and comfort all his loved ones.”
Rawlings who was born in Accra on June 22, 1947, to a Ghanaian mother and a Scottish father started out quite early, carving a niche for himself in his chosen career.
Young Rawlings was educated at the renowned Achimota School where he earned his General Certificate of Education ‘O’ Level(GCE) in 1966, and thereafter he was enlisted as a flight cadet in the Ghanaian Air Force the following year.
This took him to the officer cadet training at the Ghana Military Academy and Training School, Teshie, in Accra. In March 1968, he was posted to Takoradi in the Western Region in continuation of his training.
Following his success, Rawlings graduated in 1969, as a commissioned pilot officer. He also won the much sought after “Speed Bird Trophy” as the best cadet in flying and airmanship.
He was subsequently promoted to the rank of flight-lieutenant in April 1978. In the course of his distinguished military career with Ghana’s Air Force, he came face to face with massive decline in societal discipline, a fact which highlighted the level of corruption of the regime of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) at that time.
On May 28, 1979, Flt.-Lt. Rawlings, along with six others, appeared before a General Court Martial in Accra, charged with leading a mutiny of junior officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces on 15th May, 1979.
However, this trial was greeted with strong public condemnation, especially among the ranks and file of the Armed Forces of Ghana.
Consequently, at a date when he was scheduled for another court appearance on 4th June, 1979, Rawlings was surprisingly roared from detention, and with the help of many military and civilian supporters, young Rawlings led a revolt, which toppled the Ghana’s Supreme Military Council from office and brought the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) into power.
Significantly, the AFRC, under the leadership of Rawlings embarked upon a radical change in attitude and behaviour by purging societal corruption while restoring a sense of moral discipline, dignity and accountability.
However, on 24th September 1979, the AFRC handed over to the civilian Government of the People’s National Party (PNP) under the Presidency of Dr Hilla Limann.
But two years after, precisely on December 31, 1981, Rawlings led a team of members of the Armed Forces to overthrow the administration of Limann and his PNP administration, occasioning the formation of a Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), with representatives drawn from both the civil and military establishments.
It had Rawlings as its chairman. However, Rawlings ceased to be a member of the Ghana Armed Forces effective September 14, 1992. He later floated the National Democratic Congress, which contested and won the 1992 Presidential and Parliamentary elections. He and his NDC repeated the same feat in the 1996 elections.
Until his death, Rawlings was married to Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings and they both have four children – three girls and a boy.
Rawlings, the African Union special envoy to Somalia, was a joint recipient of the 1993 World Hunger Prize. In addition, he held an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree from Medgar Evers College, City University of New York and Lincoln University Doctorate Degree for Diplomacy and Development, among others.
Rawlings reportedly died of Covid 19 complications in the early hours of Thursday at the Cardiothoracic Centre of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.. The sad development comes within a month that the former Ghanaian leader buried his mother.