Reverend Dr Lawrence Tetteh, the President of the Worldwide Miracle Outreach, on Saturday eulogised the late President Jerry John Rawlings, affectionately called Papa J, for his exceptional gift of service to his people and the nation, Ghana.
Service was Papa J’s defining qualities, he related to the rich and the poor uniquely, Rev. Dr Tetteh said.
He said Rawlings was a legend in Ghana’s political history who paved the way for the Fourth Republican Constitution of Ghana, with his desire for probity and accountability becoming a mantra to many Ghanaians and the entire African Continent.
“We are marching to Zion, Beautiful, beautiful Zion; We are marching upward to Zion, The beautiful city of God,” Dr Lawrence Tetteh wrote.
“This remarkable hymn was written by Isaac Watts. He was the son of a schoolmaster and was born in Southampton, in 1674. He has shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. The lyrics and story speak volumes to the life of His Excellency Flt. Lt. Jeremiah John Rawlings, whom we affectionately called “Papa J”, to whom I pay this living tribute.”
“I bellowed out the above hymn many years ago during one of my preaching sessions at the Burma Camp military interdenominational service with him as the special guest of honour and commander-in-chief. I noticed that he sang along with gusto. Lo and behold, I believe that he is ‘matching on to Zion.”
Dr Tetteh said his initial connection with Flt. Lt. Rawlings was during the Students’ Task Force era in the early days of the revolution.
“I loved his message, charisma, boldness as a soldier, and his desire to see mother Ghana emancipate from mental slavery and foreign domination; A Ghana for all.
This relationship deepened and was extended to his wife, then the First lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, and the entire household. I could visit at ease with my friends without restrictions, something I never took for granted till his demise,” he said.
Dr Tetteh said Papa J, without a doubt, was a people’s person and truly loved and was loved by the masses.
He said Papa J was a revolutionary soldier of extraordinary vitality and charm and his sense for the general welfare of the people was strong and usually sound.
“He possessed a strong personality and was a good manager of people and situations in difficult times. He had the gift of turning things around, especially when situations look dire and hopeless. He was often attracted to people by his unusual disposition and apparent solidity of his judgement. He loved the cheers of his people, and with his fist up, he will respond to the cheers “J. J.”
“He was a great encouragement to many, and I never missed the opportunity to tell him how much of an inspiration he was to me in many aspects. He was bold and courageous, very charismatic and down to earth, especially when we cleaned the gutters together with him in the late 70s and the early 80s. You could share all the pleasantries with him, but you dare not get on his wrong side.”
Dr Tetteh said as a leader, Papa J related to people from all walks of life adding that he was certainly phenomenal and would be missed dearly by all the political divide.
“He supported my crusades with the Methodist, the Anglican and the Presbyterian as he made time to receive all my foreign guest on each occasion. He was very receptive to prayer and never missed the privilege to have hands laid on him with his usual sign of the cross,” he said
“I can offer no better tribute to his memory than to recount his exploits in our political history.” “On behalf of the Lawrence Tetteh Ministries, my wife Barbara, the entire Tetteh Family and on my own behalf, I wish ‘Papa J’ a peaceful rest in the bosom of the Lord.”
“Sleep well, Papa J, till we meet again, you will forever be in our memory. Glory to God.”79