…He Was A Perfect Reference To Most Nigerians, Prof Kila Cries
Professor Anthony Kila of the Centre Director of the Centre for International and Advanced Professional Studies (CIAPS), Lagos, has described the death of Jerry Rawlings, the former president of Ghana, as a rude shock to him, Nigerians and the African continent at large.
In a chat with newsmen on early hours of Friday morning, Prof. Kila explained that Rawlvings, served as reference point to most Nigerians who believed that he was a messiah sent by God to save Ghana at a time of need.
“Despite all his greatness and flaws, a lot of Africans, particularly Nigerians, saw him as a very good example of a leader in the African continent. A leader made Africa proud, we’ll surely miss him”, he added.
While describing Rawlings as a symbol in Africa, Prof. Kila said: “He was an example of what can be in the sense that he took his country from tatters to greatness. He did it by identifying evil and confronting it. In a way, a lot of people see him as a symbol. “
Noting that in Nigeria, Rawlings was always used as a reference point as a leader who could right so many wrongs, the don said: “In fact, Nigerians always used to say we need a Rawlings in the nation as a leader. He was a popular figure that showed possibility.”
His word, “There is also an uncelebrated side of Rawlings, which is the fact that he was the first international President Ghana had. He was charismatic, selfless, committed to what I may call Nigerian project, and that’s why Ghana made remarkable progress under him
“He was of a mixed race and a Ghanaian by choice. He will be missed because unlike other African leaders in his country, he is still loved. He was very well respected.
“Nigerians will miss him because we see him as a figure of possibility; he was a living reference to us. Now that he is gone, he is gone away.””
In Ghana, the citizens saw the former military cum democratically elected president as one of the most ruthless presidents ever (although his alleged misdemeanour changed when he became a democratic president).
While several Ghanaians have expressed shock and are shedding uncontrollable tears, some ‘black sheep’ have made silly comments about the former military ruler, some have berated him for his high-handedness as a military ruler in Ghana.
It was learnt that the former president died from complications of COVID-19.at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghanaian capital, on Thursday morning.
A military ruler, who later joined politics, Rawlings ruled Ghana from 1981 to 2001.
He led a military junta until 1992, and then served two terms as the democratically elected president of Ghana.
A flight lieutenant of the Ghanaian Air Force, Rawlings first staged military coup as a young revolutionary on May 15, 1979, five weeks before scheduled elections to return the country to civilian rule.
When it failed, he was imprisoned, publicly court-martialed and sentenced to death.
After initially handing power over to a civilian government, he took back control of the country on 31 December 1981 as the chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC).
He then resigned from the military, founded the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and became the first president of the Fourth Republic.
He was re-elected in 1996 for four more years. After two terms in office, the limit according to the Ghanaian constitution, Rawlings endorsed his vice-president John Atta Mills as presidential candidate in 2000.
He was born on June 22, 1947. However, the encomiums poured on him, some Nigerians described him as a ‘’callous, saying that he killed innocent souls to make himself popular”.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.