I have already paid a glowing tribute to President J J Rawlings on behalf of the NDC-UK & Ireland Chapter, so for the sake of brevity, I will not repeat the same in this write-up.
As President John Mahama rightly pointed out in his closing remarks at the Public Lecture held on 25th January 2021 in honour of President J J Rawlings; he narrated a story of six visually impaired persons who were tasked to describe an elephant and all the six persons described the elephant based on which part of the elephants they have managed to touch. President John Mahama likened President Rawlings to an elephant. He stated that President Rawlings was so massive, he touched and inspired many people in various ways and as result, many people have diverse experiences to share about our legend who is now an institution.
I have personal experiences to share about President Rawlings, which in a way contributed to my personal development and enhanced my appetite for politics, with the ultimate aim to contribute my quota to helping the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in the society.
In 1996, I was still a student at University of Ghana, The Regional Rally of NDC for 1996 presidential and parliamentary elections was held in Bawku. I organised some tertiary and second cycle students and printed some placards for the rally. I used the name of the NDC’s parliamentary candidate Hajia Fati Seidu to form acronym- Vote for Fati: F- Faithfulness; A- Altruism; T- Tolerance; and I- Industrious.
This particular placard attracted the attention of President Rawlings and he looked at the inscription on the placard with so much admiration as he kept nodding his head and all the dignitaries seated at the front row including President Evans Atta
Mills of blessed memory started to pay attention to this particular placard.
Interestingly, but not surprised when it was time for Papa JJ to speak, he asked that particular placard to follow him to the podium, so one guy followed him with the placard and he told the crowd that what he intended to say at the rally had already been summarised on this placard and he explained the meanings and significance of the words in the acronym and urged the good people of Bawku Central
Constituency to vote massively for Hajia Fati Seidu as their Member of Parliament.
Before the rally, I had never said even good morning to Hajia Fati Seidu because I did not know her personally. I later learned from Hajia Fati that when they had a departure briefing with President Rawlings, he asked them who was the brain behind the placards and he was told it was one university student and I was later informed that he said the organisers of the rally should have allowed me to mount the podium to speak on behalf of students and youth. And he instructed the leadership of the party in the region to look for me and provide me with all needed support so that I can continue working for the NDC.
Following that instruction or order, Hon Hajia Seidu, then Bawku Municipal Executive, Hon Dominic
Akudago and NDC Regional Chairman, Alhaji Abubakari Patience looked for me and started supporting
me with all logistics and words of encouragement.
I ended up becoming the De facto campaign manager/ strategist for Hajia Fati Seidu, and together with other comrades, Hajia Fati Seidu defeated late Hon Hawa Yakubu aka iron lady in 1996 parliamentary elections and President Rawlings won massively in the presidential elections.
My relationship with Hajia Fati Seidu continued and after graduating from University of Ghana, Hon
Hajia Fati and NDC played a meaningful role in my journey to the UK.
That was the kind of man President Rawlings was; he touched and contributed to the personal development of many people without even knowing. In my case, President JJ Rawlings did not only
inspire me, but he “anointed” me as well.
May Your Soul Rest in Peace H.E Jerry John Rawlings. Our legend lives on – and forever in Our Hearts.
Alhaji Alhassan Mbalba
NDC-UK & Ireland Chapter