Tributes are pouring from across the length and breadth of Ashanti, the home region of Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as “Sir John”, who passed on Wednesday night.
Callers into radio stations on Thursday morning, expressed shock at the news of the death of Mr Afriyie, who was the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission (FC).
Some of the callers openly cried on radio and said they were deeply saddened by the sudden death of “Sir John”, who had touched many hearts because of his philanthropic nature.
Mr Afriyie, a native of Sakora-Wonoo in the Kwabre East District, had been an embodiment of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Ashanti region.
He rose through the ranks to become the General Secretary of the party.
On his contribution to the course of Asanteman, Mr Afriyie led a group of Asante students to form the Asante Students Union in 1979, to protest against the harassment and intimidation of the Asante people by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, led by former President Rawlings. In May this year, Mr Afriyie, through the Forestry Commission, distributed quantities of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all health facilities in the Kwabre East and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Frederick Fredua Anto, first Vice Chairman of NPP in his tribute on Thursday morning said “Sir John”, would be missed by many people, who had close contact, especially in his professional, political and social lives.
He said Mr Afriyie’s contribution to the development of democracy and respect for the dignity of all manner of people dated back to his school days at Legon, where he joined forces with other colleagues to protest against coup d’ etat in the country.
Mr Samuel Pyne, Ashanti Regional Secretary of NPP, said the party had lost a courageous personality who stood for right principles in all that he did.
Dr Oheneba Owusu-Danso, Chief Executive of KATH, said the hospital was deeply indebted to Mr Afriyie, who supported the facility with huge quantities of PPE, to support the fight against the coronavirus.
Sakora-Wonoo, Mr Afriyie’s hometown, was said to have been thrown into a state of mourning on Wednesday night, when the news of his death reached the family and town folks.
Scores of people were said to have rushed to his house wailing uncontrollably over the bad omen that had befallen the community.