Tribute by Bajin D. Pobia to late Mumuni Amankwa Salifu

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“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work”. (John 9:4)

Wa, July 04, GNA – Death, the elders say behaves like a monkey.  It enters into your farm and looks for where the good crops are and decides to destroy them.  This is exactly what death has done to the Amankwa’s family, the Ghana News Agency where the late Mr. Salifu used to work and his favourite friend, Mr. Bajin D. Pobia.

I got to know Mr. Salifu in 1991 when he was posted to the Wa office of the Ghana News Agency as a reporter.  This was a young man full of passion for journalism and very dedicated to his work.  Indeed, he was a critical thinker, powerful and excellent writer who was always prepared to die to defend any story that he had filed.

We worked together as a team, lived happily and it was lovely to see the two of us in the streets of Wa walking shoulder- to- shoulder discussing issues of interest to our development.

No wonder many did admire our relationship but the difference between us had always been that he was the calm and quite type but I am considered the scorpion man who would always stab at the least provocation.

We used to call each other N-bajua – meaning in Sissali my best friend.  I also sometimes call him “Amas” in short for Amankwa Salifu. It was highly difficult if not impossible to separate the two of us. It was therefore not out of place that GNA management decided to transfer the two friends on March 1, 2000 from the Wa office to the Tamale office to continue with their “twin-like life”.

In Tamale, we lived in one room, took our bath together, took our breakfast together, wore smocks that were of the same colour and walked briskly from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust Flats in Foe to the Regional Coordinating Council and linked to the Liberation road, moved straight to the Tamale Teaching Hospital road and branched off to the GNA office just opposite the Regional Hospital on Yendi road. During the evening, we would walk majestically to the business centre of Tamale, bought food and sent it home.

At workplace, Mr. Salifu was a force to reckon with as he was mindful of the crisis in Dagbon and my favourite memories of him was when the two of us were detailed to cover the late overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Yakubu Adani’s burial and funeral performances in Yendi.

Indeed, this was a day I appreciated the brains and wisdom of the late Salifu. In every 30 minutes, our then Regional Manager, Mr. Paul Osei-Tutu, would call for an update and we would rather give him a new story all together. No wonder, the next morning many of the dailies had to add stories from GNA files to complete their stories.

I will never forget that day how tensed we were but with pieces of advice from Mr. Salifu, we were able to overcome the challenges of the day. It is still very fresh in my mind how he shared ideas with me as to how we could develop some story angles to outwit our colleagues who were also there to cover the event.

I also still admire the shoulder-to-shoulder walks in the streets of Tamale and in Wa but you know, there is death in you and in me. Your day has come, my day will also come one day and we will reunite in heaven and carryout with our relationship again.

I do not think I will ever get a reliable friend like you again, you have closed a chapter in my life but what can I do. A good man is hard to find. A good, dedicated man is harder to find. From the day I got to know him, he was a good man whose sole purpose was to serve his nation. His capacity to make and keep friends was beyond my imagination.

He was an inspiration to all the staff of the GNA in Tamale Office. He stood by the GNA in good and in bad times and believed in the ideals and policies of the Agency.

Each time my eyes drift towards his  seat and I do not find you, it hits me the more and I suddenly feel the pain that you are no longer with me in the office. It saddens me that I will never see you still my own time has run its course.

His passing is a great loss to me and his presence and contribution to the Agency will be missed.  He was a man of immense talent and his contribution to the agency was priceless.

Your passing away on May 12 2012 hit me like the blow from a hammer-sledge even though it was not entirely unexpected, I still found it difficult to believe the news because not too many days previously I talked on the phone with him from Wa and nothing of his usual sharp mental alertness was seemed to be missing. He told me he was taking some herbal preparations to treat his waist pains and I wished him well. That was his last words to me.

Death is but a path that must be trodden if man would ever pass to God. (Thomas Parnell).   “Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise”: Ps. 90:12.  Amas, I believe you are now resting in peace with the Lord; no more pain and no more questions.  I say this because of the faith that we all shared and how you prepared yourself to meet your creator.

“Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses – He sets the time for birth and the time for death. The virtuous man though he dies before his time, will find rest.  Length of days is not what makes age honourable, nor is the number of years the time measure of life; understanding this is man’s grey hair, untarnished life, this is ripe old age”.

N-bajua, I am only praying to God to provide you a peaceful rest place till I meet you one day for us to continue with our friendship. Amen!

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