Because I grew up near the 64 Military Camp at Asutsuare, we always felt Rawlings lived next door. Anytime a helicopter flew by, we’ll spend weeks discussing how the “White man” was spotted on board. When we heard that he flew his helicopter right under the Adomi Bridge which wasn’t far from our village, we took J J personal.
In 1996, I was less than 10 years old but I remember how as children we helped collect posters of JJ that were thrown by campaign vehicles on the Tema Akosombo Road. Those posters which had him in a Military uniform with fist in the air was nicely posted on windows and doors in all village homes. We used banku as starch for sticking the posters.
I remember how in 2004/05, I saw him for the first time. I was at Tema Secondary School then and my mate whose birthday is June 4th and who has more NDC in him than blood convinced me to go with him to the June 4 celebrations at Ashaimam Kaketoo Park.
After the event, Nene Accam Apaflo and I jogged behind the convoy from Kaketoo through Ashaiman Roundabout all the way to the motorway toll booth. Although we were in school uniform, we still chanted the ‘J J’, ‘Junior Jesus’ chorus alongside the thousands who mobbed him that day. It was that day I heard a man say, “I just touched his hand, I won’t die anymore” after he touched the big man who stood up in the vehicle throughout the journey acknowledging cheers from supporters.
When in 2012, I was assigned to go cover his meeting with Nigeria’s Obasanjo who was leading an observer mission for our elections, I must admit I was just awed by this man. I interviewed and asked him a question about who he would vote for but at the time, things had gotten frosty with his party so he couldn’t say he would vote for John Mahama.
After Obasanjo left, he turned to me unexpectedly and said, “Can you imagine this man is here to tell us about democracy?”. He chuckled and we laughed. I don’t know what the grave has in store for you but may it make you laugh like you always did here on earth.
Rest in Peace, Jerry Boom.
From Umaru Sanda Amadu, on behalf of the Cowboys who admired you on the Accra plains.