Ghana: Aliu Joins the Ancestors

The mortal remains of Alhaji Aliu Mahama, former Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana, universally acknowledged as a gentleman's gentleman, who died in Accra on Friday, was lowered into the grave at his private residence at the Kalpohini Estate in Tamale, yesterday, to join his ancestors.

The body arrived in the Northern Regional capital aboard an air force plane, landing at the Tamale Airport, a few minute after the Presidential Jet had taxied to a stop with President John Dramani Mahama on board.

The mortal remains went on a procession through the principal streets, escorted by military outriders, while residents of Tamale provided support in their motor-bicycles and vehicles forming a long convoy from the airport to the private resident at Kaponhina, near SSNIT.

When the news of the death was first broken, Hajia Ramatu Mahama, the widow, who was for eight years the Second Lady of Ghana, sat in dignified silence, surrounded by family members, received political leaders, particularly those of the New Patriotic Party, who had called at the couple's home on the Switchback Road in Cantoments, Accra, to sympathize with them.

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor led the NPP mourners. Later ex-President Jerry John Rawlings signed the Book of Condolence before sympathizing with the family.

President John Mahama was among the first dignitaries to offer his condolences, after suspending his national campaign to mourn with the bereaved at his Accra residence, accompanied by a Government delegation.

The former Vice-President died on Friday, after being admitted at the Cardiothoracic Centre at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, with a serious heart condition.

He was placed on a life-support machine, as doctors tried their very best to stabilize his condition before flying him out for further medical attention. His condition deteriorated and it was not possible to take the former Vice-President outside the country.

He was obviously in a very serious condition and overzealous radio stations reported that Alhaji Mahama had passed on but doctors working on him calmed national nerves by stating that the man who was the deputy when former President John Agyekum Kufuor sat at the Castle was still alive. It was an assurance that carried very little conviction though.

The sad but inevitable news came on Friday morning. As radio and television broke the sad news, the residence of Alhaji Mahama was filled by sympathizers from both sides of the political divide who called in to commiserate with the family,

According to ex-President Kufuor, his deputy was taken ill while campaigning for Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic party at Atebubu in the Brong Ahafo Region.

He was initially diagnosed with a heart condition. Apparently, the former Vic e-President had also suffered a massive stroke, from which Alhaji Alhaji Mahama never really recovered.

One of the major contentions after he was pronounced dead was where to burry the former Vice-President. The Government had proposed to bury the former Vice-President at the Asomdwee Park in Accra, where the body of deceased President John Evans Atta Mills lies permanently.

The family refused to play ball, insisting on taking the mortal remains to the north. After initial disagreements, the Government gave in with the caveat that a state burial was organized for the fallen hero at the independence Square in Accra.

For the first time in the history of funerals in this country, Islamic tradition mixed with the requirement of the state, as hundreds of mourners thronged the independence Square yesterday, to bid farewell to the man who was so concerned about indiscipline in society, that he launched the ant-indiscipline campaign and led from the front until the end of the eight years of the Kufuor administration in January 2009.

Alhaji Aliu Mahama was b born in March 1946. He was educated at the Tamale Secondary School and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi.

He joined the defunct State Construction Corporation and became the Regional Manager of the company, based in Tamale, after which he established his own construction company.

A football enthusiast, the late Alhaji Aliu Mahama was a founding member of the Real Tamale United Football Club, which he served in various capacities, as board secretary to the Chairman of the Board of Directors.

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