Remembering H.E. Ambassador Laary Bimi (NCCE)….5 Years On
…Upholding Ghana’s Democracy
By: Hajia Hanatu Abubakar
Ambassador Farhan Laary Bimi, you hopped off the train of life according to God’s will five (5) years ago and left behind a bunch of legacies which would forever be imprinted in the sands of time. Your most cherished values; Peace, Tolerance, Justice, Fairness, Unity, Patience, Selflessness, Sincerity, Loyalty, Humility, Love in Diversity, Compassion, Faithfulness, Modesty, Independence , Cohesion, among others keep reminding us of your personality as time passes by.
Firstly, as I continuously thank God for bringing us together in the course of our journey in this life, as He had destined, I cannot forget the impact of your tutelage over me; a tutelage which I will forever appreciate and be grateful for, a tutelage which I can proudly say has resulted in my ability and motivation to put this piece together. Not only were you a husband to me, you were a father, a friend, a mentor and a teacher. You saw the potential in me and helped me to continue where I dropped off. God made you the reason for what I am today. How then can I forget you?
I vividly remember, the latter part of our times together when I had to accompany you to the northern part of Ghana (for obvious reasons) as you embarked on various civic education programmes in your capacity as the Chairman of the National Commission for Civic Education in charge of the three northern regions. Much as you were indisposed, you fought on for the love of country, for the love of our Dear nation, Ghana and Ghanaians.These national assignments were meant to educate Ghanaians on their civic rights and responsibilities as well as sensitize and educate them on elections and electoral processes. The last of such excercises was in Bolga and Wa where you met your staff and a cross section of other stakeholders.
Today, as I invite Ghanaians to join me celebrate and enumerate a few of your achievements and legacies, let me begin with your dream and vision, the one most dear to your heart and on top of the list of your scale of preferences which your sudden demise made it impossible for you to see it being realized.
THE DEMOCRACY HOUSE
The conception of an idea to construct a Democracy House began upon the inception of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), in 1993 under the Chairmanship of Mr. Chris Hesse. The Democracy House would have been the headquarters of the NCCE and at the same time be a center for democracy with facilities and materials from which Ghana’s democratic struggle would have been accessed. It would also have accommodated all the four (4) democracy institutions as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
When you assumed office in 1998, as Chairman of the NCCE, you revived the concept of the Democracy House and you(NCCE) went ahead to acquire a two (2) acre plot of land awaiting funding for construction. You have been an astute promoter of peace, tolerance and democracy. In your own words you had said,”Ghana has become thecetri-petal hub of democracy in Africa. Ghana’s electoral democracy has been acclaimed globally and has therefore become a centre of attraction for African countries wanting to democratize. As a result, NCCE has received delegations from African countries, from West Africa, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa who came to understudy how Ghana achieved her electoral success”
It is for this and many other reasons aimed at promoting peace and tolerance in Ghana that you constantly appealed to the government to “take the construction of the Democracy House as a lasting monument and as an administrational legacy” You re-iterated, “Our vision is that the Democracy House shall not only house NCCE but will be a Centre for Democracy Education in Africa and a Research Academy for African Democracy “
OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS AND LEGACIES
• The Annual Constituition Week, which sought to inculcate a democratic culture among Ghanaians, provide knowledge about the 1992 constitution, develop skills and dispositions of democratic citizenship in the citizenry in Ghana and to produce a society in which the constitution was regarded as supreme; the rule of law the norm and where every citizen developed the character to be fair to him/herself, to his neighbour and to the state.
• Instituition of Civic Education Clubs in most schools and tertiary institutions
• The “project citizen”(with assistance from the USA Center for Civic Education and Hans Seidel Foundation) which enabled Ghanaian school children travel to Senegal, Dakar and Washington D.C., USA where they excelled admirably to the credit of Ghana
• Compilation of the 1992 Constitution into simple and comprehensible English for JSS and SSS schools and the less educated among the Ghanaian population
• Reduction of the constitution into brail for the blind
• Translation of the 1992 constitution into thirty-four (34) local languages including Twi, Dagbani, Ewe and Nzema.
Ghana joined the league of democratic nations in 1992 and has since undergone six successful elections resulting in a peaceful transition of power (3 times) from the National Democratic Congress (NDC)to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and back to the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Your (NCCE) pre and post -election civic education programmes throughout the country has contributed immensely to the peace and stability Ghana is enjoying today.
You helped build, nurture and consolidate the culture of democracy among Ghanaians, the implications of which has earned Ghana a global acclamation since the inception of multi-party democracy in 1992. Ghana’s political stability and other good democratic credentials have made her a beacon of hope worthy of emulation in Africa.
Ghana is getting ready to do it again; we (discerning Ghanaians) are going to the polls in November to elect our president constitutionally. I want you to be rest assured that the able and hard working men and women you suddenly left at the NCCE, have taken up the mantle and are working assiduously and continuously to educate Ghanaians on their civic rights and responsibilities. The NCCE, together with the Electoral Commission, are going to ensure the 7th peaceful, free, fair and democratic election come November as has been their hallmark over the years.
In conclusion,let me say that I am convinced that the government is taking steps to consider the construction of the Democracy House which was your vision and dream as a matter of urgency and in furtherance with upholding Ghana’s democracy. The edifice would symbolize and constantly remind us of the peace and stability we have earned for ourselves by exercising our franchise, a right guaranteed us by the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
The Democracy House, your dream, your vision, would be a lasting legacy to be written indelibly in your memoirs. The upcoming elections in November would be the most peaceful Ghana has ever held since 1992, I am convinced. This year’s election is about our future and we will again prove to the world that we have a universal love for peace. We don’t have a choice as Ghanaians but to maintain, sustain and guard the peace we have all fought for …………“no matter the matter”. Ghanaians have learnt from the experiences of some countries in Africa and have concluded that the most advantageous peace is better than the most priced war.
May you continue to enjoy the Eternal Mercy of Allah even as He admits you into JannatilFirdaus (Paradise)