Hajia Adisa Sulemana, a Retired Educationist in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region has described former President Jerry John Rawlings as a true nationalist and patriot whose leadership transformed Ghana’s economy.
Hajia Sulemana who is a former Assistant Director II and Head of the Islamic Unit at the Upper East Regional Directorate of the Ghana Education Service expressed shock at the death of the former President and described his demise as “a very big blow” to the nation.
The Founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and first President of the fourth Republic passed on Thursday morning at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital after a short illness at age 73.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga, the former teacher explained that Ghana’s longest serving leader was an embodiment of charisma and disciplinary traits who was fearless and tamed corruption even at the trying times for the greater good of ordinary Ghanaians.
“Corruption was rampant before Rawlings came into the scene, people were smuggling goods through the borders to outside country and making the ordinary Ghanaians to suffer because prices of goods were high and people could not afford. But when he came, though those days were hard, his sense of nationalism and patriotism made him to minimize if not stopping corruption,” she added.
Hajia Sulemana recalled that Rawlings ensured disciplined in all sectors of the economy and most especially in the areas of decent politics, education and health, which she said were critical to the growth of the economy.
“Rawlings had passion for development and instilled that passion in every Ghanaian especially we the teachers. There was discipline in the educational system and pupils and students’ performance were good.
“When I was a teacher I liked my school children, so I could go to their various houses to drag them to school and ensure that they learnt and children who passed through my hands at Nursery level knew how to read well before getting low primary because I ensure discipline which is missing in most teachers of today,” she said.
Hajia Sulemana who retired from active service since 2006 said the global icon though a military leader for about 11 years, opened the political grounds for multi-party democracy, which promoted peace and unity among all Ghanaians.
The Retired Educationist further described the former president as “a great leader and a true statesman” who was sociable and had passion for the aged and the traditional authorities and made him to receive good counsel which enabled him to rule the country well.
While expressing her condolences to the family of the former President, the NDC and the entire Ghanaian populace, Hajia Sulemana said his demise was a tragedy and would be dearly missed and urged current leaders to emulate the leadership qualities of the former president and rule the country with sense of patriotism and nationalism.
Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings first came to power in 1979 through military coup under the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) before handing over power to the Dr Hilla Liman three months afterwards.
He returned to power through another coup in 1981 under the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), where he ruled till 1992 democratic elections, where he won and ruled for another eight years.