Akropong comes to standstill today in reverence to Oseadey

Today marks a major highlight of the seven days’ burial rites of the Okuapehene, Oseadeeyo Addo Dankwa III.

The burial rites, which began last Sunday with the observance of some rights at the Okuapeman palace by the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, will today move to the Presbyterian College of Education School Park to accommodate the large number of mourners who will throng Akropong.

Hitherto, the burial rites have been performed at the forecourt of the palace.

The Okuapehene in 2012 took the bold step to dedicate himself to Christ, becoming a communicant of the Presbyterian Church.

This move by the chief had informed the muted but solemn burial ceremony so far.

Sources said it was the wish of the chief to be laid in the Christ Congregation of the Presbyterian Church at Akropong against the norms of tradition associated with the funeral of a paramount chief.

It appears that as a compromise, the elders and the family agreed that the  chief should be laid in state at the palace without the traditional decorations.

And in tune with the wishes of the Oseadeeyo, a church service precedes the burial activities at the palace.

But today’s ceremony will begin with a burial service to be officiated by a high-powered team of clergymen and women from the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.

It is not known when the late chief would be buried, but indications are that with the burial service, the next process will be the burial.

The venue of the burial is also not known, but it will be at a Royal Mausoleum.

The Okuapehene, who died at the age of 85, becomes the longest-reigning paramount chief for the area with his reign marked by tangible and impactful success at the local and national levels.

The week-long funeral programme saw a blend of time-tested traditions and an exemplary display of Christian activities.

Christian activities taking the heart of traditional funeral rites of paramount chiefs, constitute a very rare feature, thanks to the local council of churches who carried out the wishes of the late chief to be buried in a Christian-like manner.

This is one funeral that has disproved a long-held perception that dead chiefs are buried under mysterious situations.

In the case of the Okuapehene, it was a clear case of transparency evident in the openness to the public with regard to the viewing of the remains of the late chief.

Life of the chief
The life of the Okuapehene is a portrayal of a man with a variegated plethora of distinguished accomplishments that made him a rare gem in an increasingly complex world.

His life, from the very early stages, was one of success-driven, achievement-oriented, impact-making and a seeming penchant for bringing about the kind of change that rolled and would continue to roll across generations.

His predilection for success, which was evidently made in clear terms in his string of personal and communal achievements, gave the broadest indication that he was born to lead his people to a level of greater development, growth and prosperity.

In 1974, the Daily Graphic carried an item in which the list of nominees for the Okuapehene was published, after his uncle, Nana Kwame Fori II, had abdicated the stool.

Those who did not know much about his penchant for hard work and success, were surprised at the inclusion of his name in the list of nominees.

But for those who knew him and his visionary tendencies, they were the least surprised knowing that he possessed much more than needed to make an indelible mark in the pages of history.

Beating off a stiff contention from other 44 uncles who were qualified to ascend the stool, the quite reserved and soft-spoken gentleman was eventually chosen for the prestigious position of a paramount chief.

And so it was that Oseadeeyo Addo Dankwa III was installed as the paramount chief of the Akuapem Traditional Area in 1974 at the age of 44 as the 25th and longest-reigned Okuapehene.

But events following his instalment and his reign for a little over four decades have given ample proof of who he was, what he possessed, what he stood for, and what he was capable of accomplishing.

His contribution to the enrichment of the chieftaincy institution in the country has been described by all as phenomenal.

In his capacity as the paramount chief of the area, he combined services to his people and to a nation in a manner that made him a native of every part of the country.

He was many personalities in national life from being the board chairman of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) during which period he saw to the construction of the Trust Hospital and the SSNIT Flats.

His name remains in the strong books of institutions such as the Social Security Bank (SSB), now Societe Generale, Ghana, the Commonwealth Society, Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Bulk Oil Storage and Transport (BOST), the Institute of African Studies of the University of Ghana, and the Game and Wildlife Society.

In his home region, which is the Eastern Region, he was elected unopposed as the President of the Eastern Region House of Chiefs from 1994 to 2000, as well as being a member of the standing committee of that House during that period.

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) owes a lot to this illustrious chief for initiating press awards system which he organised for six years.

Internationally, he was a man of popular acclaim due to his invaluable contributions to what the world at large call ‘efforts at the betterment of society’.

His academic prowess is evident in all that he has done in publishing two books in 1991 and 2006, as well as being cited in several books and publications all over the world.

When his death was announced, there were those who believed that a man who had such boundless talents and who had helped in the betterment of Ghanaians could not just be announced as dead.

William Shakespeare, in one of his famous books, Julius Caesar, said that ‘the good is oft interred with their bones,’ but that might not be the lot of the late chief following the immeasurable impact that he had made.

If for nothing, a good number of the revered persons who paid their respects included the flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, former President Rawlings and President John Mahama.

One could not wish for more in recognition of his accomplishments.

Known in private life as Stephen Afari Djan before acceding to the Ofori Kuma Stool, he was born on Saturday, April 19, 1930 at Tutu Ahyiamu to Mr Geoffrey Afari Djan and Mrs Beatrice Djan and was the first of 10 children.

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