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May 9th - Our commitment

Opinion

18 days ago
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May 9th is back again. It's a time I've tried to make sure that Ghanaians do not forget the symbolism of this date. Yes, 126 plus people died, actually a lot more than that and we've tried to remember and as we say our prayers for the families, we also celebrate life.

The children of those who survived, who have grown up, many of whom I am very close with. On a regular basis I communicate with Rani in Accra, who is symbolic of so much, she lost her husband when she was barely out of her teens …. she has now brought up a lovely son. Nenemiah out of Kumasi who we meet all the time and to see him graduate and now have a degree in finance is gratifying! I'm hoping that we can help him find a job soon! There are many many others. It is quite a time and May 9th has teamed up over the last few years with organizations like Deso who help the disabled. 

We've been involved in trying to save the lives of children who had drank caustic soda while their mothers were trying to make a living in soap manufacturing. The flood victims like Alex and his son, who lost their beloved wife and mother at the time of the horrendous floods represent others who have joined us and continue to do so every May 9th.

Last year, and this year, we've teamed up directly with the Shen Yang and Shen Yuet Children’s Heart Foundation, of which I'm the Secretary, a Foundation catering for the surgeries of children with Hole in Heart conditions. The extraordinary family of my senior brother behind it, as I will call him, YC, an extraordinary man from China, who has invested so much in Ghana. To date some 30 going on for 35 children have, within a 15-month period, had here in Ghana surgical operations at Korle Bu under the guidance of Dr. Entsua-Mensah and his team to save lives. 

We also remember the young ones who didn't make it due maybe to our timing or their other underlying health problems like the young Hanifs of this world, yet we thank God and remember all of the others who survived and now have a better and stronger chance at life. I'm looking forward to walking with the likes of Angela, a young girl from Kumasi who has survived and is stronger from the operation from the Hole in Heart team. The twins in Accra, the Kezias, the Yasirs, the Nathaniels, the Bernards, the Fatimas and all the rest of them who have benefited. So, May 9th is out there to celebrate, Celebrate life.

To remember those who have passed…. Nothing will ever eradicate the horrors of that night. Having been there and been involved in all that happened has changed my life and I believe it has changed the lives of all those who were and have been closely involved. I still meet people as I fly around the world, one or two who had families and friends who were involved and had  lost their lives, one or two who actually were there and reminded me that as we carried the dead bodies that fateful day they were also involved in the process and they say enough for me to understand it happened and it was real and that they were there so we must not forget and I definitely will not forget.

Needless to say; we would not be able to do this without the support of the organizations. YC's own organization, the Sunda Group, has been at the forefront of support of which we thank him. Kwabena Kesi in Kumasi always provides us with some rooms and a small token which we are very, very grateful for. My dear brother at Interplast the great Hayssam Fakhre stands out tallest ever since we started the May 9th movement. His unwavering support has been unique and I and all Ghanaians he has touched, are humbled. I do not forget the unique support of my “Son”, Sachin who for the last five years or so has individually helped support our cause. GB Foods makers of Gino products and Kivo famous for their “gari soakings instant mix” have added class and quality to our celebrations.

It is important to note that all supporters have followed and supported me not only on May 9th but throughout the period depending on our call to action! These are organisations who have always supported us over the decades and continue to. I realise it's very tough for many others at this time and that we totally understand yet the critical issue is the support we have and I always recognise that we would not be able to achieve what we achieve without the singular support of the media. There have been so many members of the media houses who have. Of the key players who support us every year, we shouldn't forget, at the top is King Edward, my dear brother from Hello FM. He has been with me since day one, never wavered, never strayed, been there supporting us from that point. But many other media houses have. And in this year, we've had a number. From X Live Africa, Kessben, Orypah, Pure FM, Hello FM, O-TEC, Daily Guide, Angle, Sika, and Time FM at the forefront. My friend Elton and the rest from Multimedia have been strong supporters as well and we need to thank them and everybody else who has reached out in helping. Anybody forgotten, I apologize to because it’s been all hands on deck!

We shouldn't forget the dear Chief Imam in Kumasi and his predecessor who have supported us all these decades as we go up and our visits to the mosque has always been a treasured and very important time for all of us. This is May 9th; I just welcome you all to take a moment not to forget. True heroes gone… true heroes that is so important, so important that the true heroes are the ones who are no longer with us.

Last and most importantly are my team who make it possible. At the forefront with King edward are my extraordinary wife Naana, daughter Toane', Sacut and Erica and supported by many others

HEROES WHO FELL ON MAY 9TH 2001

ABASS ABDELLAH
ABDUL BASIT MOHAMMED
ABDUL SAMAD
ABDULAI MUMUNI
ABUBAKARI SADICK
ADDO QUAYE
APPIAH KWAO
ALBERT RICHSTER
ALEX OCRAN
ANTHONY ABADU
ANTHONY AMEHIRE
ATUQUAYE CLOTTEY
AWUDU ISSAH
BAHA WANGARA
BESIT KARIM
BUERNORTEY LAWERTEH
CHARITY OSAH
CHARLES OPPONG
CHRISTOPHER ESSUMANG ATSU
CHRISTOPHER HANSON
CLEMENT AGYEI
CLEMENT NANA WIAFE
DAN AMOO
DANIEL KOFI TWUMASI
DANIEL KWAME KOBINA
DARKO TAWIAH
DENNIS MENSAH
DENNIS ODAI
DESMOND LARYEA
DODZI MENSAH
DOMINIC KWASI APPIAH
DUAH
EBENEZER LARTEY
EBENEZER OSEI OWUSU
ERIC KOJO AMPONSAH
ERIC OWUSU ABBAN
FELIX OPOKU
FLORENCE QUARSHIE KWAKU-ZA
FRANCIS BEDE
FUSANI TAMIRA
FUSEINI ALHASSAN
GEORGE AIDOO
GODFRED NANA KODUAH
HENRY MINTAH
HUMPHREY SACKEY
IBRAHIM ALI
ISAAC ADDO
ISAAC BARNOR
ISAAC BORTEY
ISAAC NARTEY
ISAAC ASARE
JACOB ENGMAN
JAMES MOHAMMED
JEFF CRENTSIL
JEFF K. MENSAH
JONAS OPOKU ACHEAMPONG
JONATHAN OBEY
JOSEPH LETSU
JOSEPH DADSON
KAMARA DIN ABDUL AZIZ
KEN BORKETEY
KINGSFORD ATTA AMOAH
KOFI ANIM
KOFI FRIMPONG
KOFI ANSAH
KOFI BOATENG
KOFI GYIMAH
KONEY OKPOTI
KUDJO M. ADJANU
KWABENA ANTWI
KWABENA FRIMPONG
KWADWO ESSEL
KWADWO NIMO
KWAKWU APENTENG
KWAME ABOAGYE
KWAME ASAMOAH
KWAMI KUMI
KWAME KENNEDY
KWAKU NIFAH
MARTIN ESSIEN
MICHEAL ASANTE
MILDRED NAADU
MIKE PETTERSON
MOHAMMED ANSONG
MOHAMMED FULANI
MOHAMMED ISSAH
MOHAMMED RAZAK
MUDASIRU MOHAMMED
NANA BOATENG
NANA ASUMENG
NANA KOFI
ADZEKPO
NAZIRA AMADU
NUHL BRAMAH
NUNOO COPSON ISMAILI
ODEI BADU
OSCAR AMPOMAH
OSMANU AMADU
OWUSU SARPONG
PATRICK KWAMENE NKETIA
PAUL FLEISCHER
PAUL QUARSHIE AVOGAH
PETER OWUSU
PAA KWASI FRANFUL
RASHID MUSTAPHA ANKAMAH
RAWUF ABDUL
RAZAK MAMOUD
RICHARD AMPONSAH
RICHARD BOATENG
SADIKU FULANI
SAMUEL KWOFIE
SAMUEL ABEKAH
SANI MOHAMMED ABACHA
SIEDU ALHASSAN
SETH FORSON
SETH KRAH
SIBIDOW MOHAMMED
SOLOMON PABIFIO
SUMILA SULAMANA
THOMAS OKUMI
TIJANI MOHAMMED
UNIDENTIFIED
WILLIAM AGYEPONG
WILLIAM HOFMAN
YAKUBU MUSAH
YAO GBLOGAH
YIRENKYI SAMUEL

source: Herbert Mensah