Tuesday, 23 July

Tribute to Kojo Yankah by Kow Abaka Essuman, legal counsel to the President

Feature Article
Tribute to Kojo Yankah

It is never easy to write a tribute about someone with whom you have a close relationship. However, I consider it a great honour to do so in the case of Kojo Yankah. He was a man who loved the Lord and walked in the way of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us in Revelation 14:13, “… Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them.’”. Kojo is indeed blessed. 

In May 2010, I was invited by Mr Dodzie Numekevor, an ardent supporter of Nana Akufo-Addo, to a house party in Enfield where prominent members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) were going to speak. These included Mr Anthony Karbo, the National Youth Organiser; the late Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, the National Chairman; and the late Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John), the General Secretary. I had been working with Dodzie for Nana Akufo-Addo in London since 2008, but we had not met in person, so I was interested in attending to meet him and these other prominent members of the Party. After a few train and bus rides, I arrived at a bus stop where a young man was sent to pick me up. When I got to the venue, I was met with a warm welcome by Kojo Yankah, whom I later got to know was the host of the party. Kojo was excited to see me and introduced me to everyone, saying, “Kow is the next best thing”. I was confused by his enthusiasm.

Days after the party, Kojo and Dodzie approached me and expressed their desire to collaborate with me in rebranding the youth wing of the NPP in the UK and Ireland. They were aware of my activism on Facebook and believed I could help them achieve their goals. I created a website and social media pages and coined the slogan “The Future Is Now!!!”. This marked the beginning of the rebranding process, which led to the first-ever NPP Youth UK Meeting held on 10 July 2010 in North London. A good number of young Ghanaians living in the UK attended the meeting, which was a huge success. We had ordered branded polo shirts and other paraphernalia for the occasion. Kojo spoke passionately at the meeting, which, years later, he fondly referred to as the event that encouraged Hon. Mustapha Ussif, the Minister for Sports and Member of Parliament for Yagba-Kubore, to run for Parliament and win the Yagba-Kubore seat for the NPP. Many other young Ghanaians who were living in the UK at the time and who attended that meeting are currently occupying strategic positions in the Party and government.

Kojo was always there to offer me advice whenever things got tough in the political arena. Being young and enthusiastic, I was not always mindful of the impact my actions had within the political sphere. However, Kojo was always there to encourage me to have a thick skin and not to be swayed by negative criticism but rather to take constructive feedback on board. I vividly recall the time when I threatened to quit, and Kojo called me and spent two hours lecturing me on why it was crucial to stay committed to our cause. He was like an older brother to me, and to this day, I consider Kojo and Dodzie my godfathers in politics for their instrumental role in bringing me into active politics. They guided me to steer clear of the pitfalls faced by young people in the political arena that could potentially backfire.

During a trip to London in 2018, I had dinner with Kojo and Dodzie. In our conversation, I discovered they had a relationship with my pastor and good friend, Prophet Gideon Danso. We called Prophet Gideon right then and there, and the camaraderie between us put my soul at rest. It was comforting to be in the company of fellow believers. In 2017, when I was appointed as Legal Counsel to the President of Ghana, I sent a message to Kojo and Dodzie. The message was a chapter from a book I have been working on since 2015, which detailed how we first met during my political journey.

Kojo and I used to attend the Empowerment Worship Centre in Ghana, where we were both regulars at the first service that started at 7:30 am. We would usually sit close to each other, depending on what time we arrived at church. After the service, we would meet outside the church auditorium to discuss the message preached by Prophet Gideon, our families, life, and politics. One thing I noticed about Kojo is that he loved his wife, Shemaat, and the children dearly and would talk passionately about them. He would often update me on his son, Darryl and his achievements and say, “Your nephew is doing amazing things”. When it came to politics, Kojo would always offer wise advice, and he constantly encouraged me to go into farming as another source of income.

One Sunday, during one of our church conversations, Kojo said something that resonated with me. He said, "I have come to a point in my life where I just want my life to reflect the fruit of the Spirit in everything that I do. I am not concerned about all the fanfare around the Christian walk." Those words were profound, and looking back, it makes sense why he said that. A life that exhibits the fruit of the Spirit is evidence of the existence of the Holy Spirit in a believer's life. The fruit of the Spirit can be found in Galatians 5:22-23, which states, "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things."

On 10 December 2023, Kojo and I were chatting outside the church auditorium after the Sunday service. He was wearing a white shirt and mentioned that Dodzie would be coming home that day. He invited me to come and visit as well. Little did we know, this would be our last conversation. Later that day, Dodzie did come home, but he had to rush Kojo to the hospital.

Kojo had a clear understanding of his mission and purpose on earth as a devoted Christian. He was aware that his life was like a race, and he had to run to take home the prize. His co-authored book with Dodzie, titled "No Prizes For Runners Up," is a reflection of his life's philosophy. Kojo has now completed his race, and he has received the ultimate reward. As Hebrews 12:2 states, he is now a member of the huge cloud of witnesses to the life of faith cheering us on.

Kojo's life was a source of inspiration and a blessing to me in every aspect of my life - personally, professionally, emotionally, and spiritually. His Saturday Nuggets series offered wisdom that was relevant to everyone and everything. Although it saddens me that he won't be around to see the end of the project, I know that we have a witness in heaven who will be supporting us every step of the way. For someone who didn't even know me but welcomed me and poured so much into my life, all I can say is "God bless you, Kojo.”

Rest in peace, Godfather!

Rest in the bosom of the Lord, Kojo Yankah!

Your good deeds will follow you.

God bless us all.



Source: Classfmonline.com