Hundreds of mourners thronged Tema Community Two on Saturday to attend the one-week observance of the death of the Senior Presidential Advisor and Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission, Mr Paul Victor Obeng.
The event was in two parts— a requiem mass held at the Good Shepherd Catholic Parish, followed by the main event held at the adjoining St John Bosco Catholic Basic School park. So huge was the crowd that it was as if the remains of the former PNDC functionary and statesman were lying in state.
In attendance were the Vice-President, Papa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah–Arthur, former functionaries of the PNDC with whom Mr Obeng worked, past and current Ministers of State, MPs, chiefs, including a large retinue of chiefs and queenmothers from the Adansi Traditional Area led by Okofo Sobin Kan II, Dompoasehene. Also present were a representative of the Asantehene, Nana Kwame Mensah Bonsu, Ahenenanahene, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Alhassan, Boxing Professor, Barima Azumah Nelson, and representatives of various political parties.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) was led by its General Secretary, Mr Johnson Aseidu Nketia, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) by its National Chairman, Mr Paul Afoko, while Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom and Madam Akua Donkor led their parties, the Progressive People’s Party and Ghana Freedom Party respectively.
Dr Henry Lartey and Mr Kwesi Addai Odike of the GCPP and United Front Party respectively were also present at the event. Regional ministers, as well as various metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives, heads of various state institutions and the private sector, fully participated in the event.
It was not an event for speeches, but a number of mourners took turns to exchange greetings and commiserate with the widow, Mrs Rose Obeng, and other members of the bereaved family. No date was announced for the final funeral rites and according to a source close to the family, they would have to confer with the government to come up with an appropriate date.
As of 7 a.m. when the Daily Graphic got to the Good Shepherd Parish, the requiem mass was underway with mourners in the traditional mourning apparel of black and red ready to sympathise with the bereaved family as a way of sharing in their loss.
In his homily, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Kumasi Apostolic and Administrator of the Obuasi Diocese, Most Rev. Gabriel Justice Anokye, eulogised the late Obeng, describing him as hardworking, philanthropic and a businessman who was on equal measure with everyone.
He said Mr Obeng served humanity, mother Ghana and the Catholic Church so well, adding that he believed the deceased was in the hands of God.
He said the death of Mr Obeng should be an invitation to all to prepare for the inevitable, adding that true worshippers should not be afraid of death because death was inevitable.
Traditional drumming and dancing
The one week observance was characterised by a mixture of traditional drumming, singing of dirges and dancing from the beats of ‘kete’ and ‘nnwomkro’ delivered by the Manhyiatete Nnwomkro and Nyame Nhyirakete groups, as well as solemn hymns and choruses rendered by the Ghana Navy Band, the Good Shepherd Parish Choir, OLAMS Senior High School Choir and Tema Youth Choir.
In line with tradition, various groups and individuals made contributions to the family towards the final funeral rites. Notable among them was the delegation from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology led by its Vice-Chancellor, Professor William Otoo Ellis, who donated two bottles of schnapps and 20 cartons of bottled water. The National Development Planning Commission also made a presentation of cartons of water, assorted drinks and a cash of GH¢1,000.
The CEO of Engineers and Planners, Mr Ibrahim Mahama, donated GH¢1,000 towards the final funeral rites.
The large assembly of mourners also provided an ideal environment for vendors of various items, including funeral paraphernalia with pictures of Mr Obeng embossed on them, hand fans, mobile phones recharge cards, kebab and other foods, to carry out brisk business.