Editor's Note : Bishop Charles Agyinasare is the founder of the Perez Chapel International, a Pentecostal-Charismatic ministry in Ghana.
He writes about former Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama(late) and what he stood for. He describes the former Veep as a principled and disciplined man.
"I believe former Vice President Aliu Mahama desired and hoped for a peaceful and disciplined society. I am a beneficiary of his efforts and relentless work towards improving the Ghanaian society. As we mark the third anniversary of his departure from this life, I pray that we remember what Alhaji Aliu Mahama stood for. He stood for discipline and a better Ghana. You are dead and gone but your good deeds live on. Goodbye great man, goodbye my friend. You were a true servant and you will forever be on my mind."
Read below Bishop Agyinasare's piece on Ghana's third vice president in the fourth republic
It is interesting how time flies and how life, no matter how greatly or well lived, becomes but an event. Three years ago, we mourned his demise and lamented his passing, but today we can only celebrate a truly exemplary life.Former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama was known for his principled and gentlemanly disposition and kindness. These attributes were, however, surpassed by his desire to create a disciplined and orderly society, which was embodied by his Campaign Against Indiscipline in Ghana. This campaign for the first time rallied the citizenry around a significant cause, namely to deal with indiscipline in the areas of indiscriminate disposal of refuse and careless driving that had awfully pervaded Ghanaian society. Time and space would not allow for a full appreciation of that timely campaign in this write-up.I would like to dedicate my next few words to talking about the perfectly memorable relationship I was privileged to share with the former Vice President, and how that as well as other encounters with Muslim friends helped shape my views on the need to build cordial relationships between people of different faiths.Here is a quick flashback of my life with a Muslim family in Tamale. In 1978 I travelled to join my dad who was then a Works Superintendent with the Ghana Highway Authority in Tamale. As a young man who was just starting life, I arrived in the city and after a few months wanted independent accommodation. By some guiding hand, I became friends with “Foley” Iddrisu, son of Alhaji Iddrisu Fuseini, at Zogbeli, a surburb of Tamale. Foley then introduced me to his father, who did not only accommodate me but also fed me twice a day at the time. I was privileged to be treated to sumptuous local dishes such as tuo zaafi with cuca, salinvongu, tekera or bra (my favourite soups).This was not the only benevolence I received in Tamale. I also recall how Mr. Goodman, a kind Muslim man, and his wife Madam Bugapeh who became my church member, ensured that I did not lack the basic necessities of life when I had just started my church - The Word Miracle Bible Church (now the Perez Chapel International). What gave me the courage and taught me to live in harmony with persons with different faiths was the fact that many Muslims who knew I was a Christian and understood my mission in Tamale, were not discouraged from providing the help that I needed. It helped me to relate and preach in many Muslim-dominated areas like Maiduguri, Kano, Sokoto, and Kaduna (all in Northern Nigeria), as well as Pakistan, Dubai, Bahrain, Egypt etc.While in Tamale, Alhaji Aliu Mahama and myself became friends and a few years later, our friendship grew into brotherhood. Uncharacteristically, our relationship did not end when he became vice president. This was unusual because most politicians were known to sacrifice such relationships on the altar of power.In 2002, I invited my noble friend to one of my Youth Xplosion meetings, where he not only turned up as a special guest of honour, but also personally paid a day’s rent out of the four days for the programme’s venue (International Conference Centre). The Youth Xplosion took its theme and purpose from the Bible and was in essence targeted at Christian youth. Therefore, for a Muslim leader to turn up at the said event and whole-heartedly participate only goes to underline the peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians in Ghana.My relationship with Muslims and the Muslim community back in Tamale has deepened my belief in religious tolerance and the need for all of us to see one another as our brother’s keeper, regardless of our religious belief. We seem to spend too much time as Ghanaians worrying about religious, political and ethnic affiliations. What we forget is that whatever characters we strive to show as practitioners of our various faiths can be better shown through the way we treat other human beings.
I believe former Vice President Aliu Mahama desired and hoped for a peaceful and disciplined society. I am a beneficiary of his efforts and relentless work towards improving the Ghanaian society. As we mark the third anniversary of his departure from this life, I pray that we remember what Alhaji Aliu Mahama stood for. He stood for discipline and a better Ghana. You are dead and gone but your good deeds live on. Goodbye great man, goodbye my friend. You were a true servant and you will forever be on my mind.By Bishop Charles Agyinasare