President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his wife, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, joined former President John Agyekum Kufuor and his family at the forecourt of the State House to pay their last respect to the late former First Lady, Theresa Aba Kufuor.
The state funeral held in her honour also attracted hundreds of mourners from across the country and the international community.
Among the notable personalities who thronged the forecourt of the State House to pay their respect to the former first lady were the Vice President, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the second lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia and former President John Mahama and his spouse, Mrs Lordina Mahama.
Also, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin and Chief Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo were in attendance.
Other mourners included former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo; Vice President of Liberia, Jewel Taylor; the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, the clergy, traditional rulers, heads of corporate organisations amongst others.
Drapped in Ghana flag, the casket containing the remains of the late Mrs Kufuor was opened for filing past before a Catholic funeral mass was held to commence the funeral rites.
With glowing tributes in her memory, wreaths were also laid on behalf of the state, Former President Kufuor, children, the family, the church and the traditional rulers.
Leading the tributes, a pensive looking Former President Kufuor described his late wife as “a strong spirited person” who he met in London at an event to celebrate Ghana’s first anniversary of a republican state in 1961 after she graduated in nursing in Edinburgh, Scotland.
“My first impressions of my beautiful Aba were that of a soft-spoken and well-mannered lady and within a year of bonding and courting, we both discovered that we very much enjoyed each other’s company. We had the same cultural taste in arts, music and cinema and shared similar social preferences,” he told the mourners in the tribute read on his behalf.
Former President Kufuor, 84, narrated how her late wife weathered all storms to keep the family in shape when he was kept in detention at the Ussher Fort Prison in Accra for 15 months upon the overthrow of the Dr K. A. Busia administration of which he was a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“I survived my 15 months of incarceration largely because of Aba. She was a woman of sacrifice, devotion, humanity and resilience. Her commitment to our marriage and her exceptional will to be a loving wife, a caring home maker and a firm but loving parent produced the fruits of what our children have become today. She was firm, yet tender,” he recounted.
Upon becoming president, Mr Kufuor said the late Aba played “pivotal but quite roles in shaping key social intervention programmes” like the inclusion of the kindergarten stage in the free compulsory universal basic education policy, school feeding, the free maternal care programme and her Mother and Child Development Foundation.
Thanking God for giving him Aba, the former president said her death had left in his life an “unbridgeable void” but took solace in the many “mercies and blessings the good lord has showered on our journey of 62 years, the blessing of beautiful children, 14 grandchildren, the honour of having served our nation together and the gift of loving you. Fare thee well, Aba, my dearest love”.
For the children, the late Theresa Kufuor was a “a perfect blend of calm and emotional balance, loving but strict, warm and gentle, punctual, kind, hardworking, a disciplinarian, compassionate, beautifully stylish, and the heartbeat of the family”.
Reading the tribute on behalf of his siblings, Chief Kufuor who is also the eldest son of Mrs Kufuor, narrated how their mother lived the Christian version of humility, charity and fortitude with deep faith in God which allowed her to remain hopeful even in dire situations.
Difficult to accept her demise, they were thankful to God for having the late Aba, a true Christian who always sought the way of God, as their mother.
“We wish we could have more time with you but we thank God for the time we had. Thank you for loving us despite our shortcomings. You were the heartbeat of the family. You were our world. We love you and miss you but we will be fine because God will not give us a burden we cannot carry as you always said. Rest in perfect peace, mama,” he said to tears from the faint-hearted mourners.
On behalf of the state, the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, described the late Aba as a “goal getter” who endeared herself to the many people who encountered her both on personal and official levels.
She said the late Mrs Kufuor has paid her dues to the state and though her demise was painful, “we are grateful to God that her life was impactful and be encouraged by her legacies and for God and country”.
The remains of the late Mrs Kufuor, meanwhile, had been conveyed to the Ashanti Region where a final funeral service would be held before her interment.
BY CLIFF EKUFUL & JULIUS YAO PETETSI