The veteran politician, Mr Akenten Appiah Minkah had been battling an illness for some time now until his demise.
The private legal practitioner and businessman is known for producing the infamous Appino soap and also served as a Minister of State in the Kofi Abrefa Busia-led administration in the Second Republic. He played a key role in the NPP’s 2016 campaign.
THE JOURNEY FROM KUMASI, ACCRA, KROBO ODUMASE, KYEBI, CAPE COAST TO MANCHESTER
A young man, after the completion of his Middle School education, sought more
He looked around Kumasi but there was no chance.
With enough money for transportation he moved on.
He took the Kumasi-Accra train.
He safely arrived in Accra with his chop box.
After a long reflection, he sought admission in a secondary school.
Accra Academy he reached.
No luck, no admission.
Undaunted, he decided to go elsewhere.
The next trip was to Krobo Odumase
Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School was his next choice.
Second time he was rejected.
He carried his box again.
This time, to Koforidua railway station
He was a dejected and disappointed boy.
The hope for secondary school education was gone.
There was nowhere to go to again.
He decided to return home.
In his hour of despair and rejection at Koforidua railway station
An angel was sent to him.
A man asked him at the station
“Young man, why do you look so sad?
What could be the problem?”
Hmm!! After a long deep breath
“I have gone to Accra and Krobo Odumase to seek admission to schools …
But, Sir, no luck.
Accra Academy and Presbyterian Boys Secondary School had no mercy on me.
I am waiting for the next train to go back to Kurnasl.”
The angel looked at him sternly
Finally, he said, … “there is hope.
All is not lost yet.
There is a fine school at Kyebi
Buy a ticket for Anyinam and go to Kyebi
The school is Abuakwa State College
Go, go, no more tears.
Go to Kyebi and it will be well with you.”
The young man accepted the divine advice
He alighted from the train at Anyinam
Soon he found himself at Kyebi.
He carried his chop box on the head.
The school’s main gate was close to the main road
With hope, he walked confidently to the school compound.
In front of him were three men
They were conversing but stirred at him
“Who is this boy, carrying his box?”
The boy froze, his heart beat fast
Was it going to be rejection again?
Were the ghosts of Presec and Accra Aca after him at Kyebi?
What do you want, young man?
Sir, Sir, fluttering, he said, “I seek admission”.
The man, who seemed to be the big man around said,
“Admission!! No, the school reopened three weeks ago.”
He, however, looked at the young boy with a smile on his face
The man softened his stand
He turned to one of the two men around
“Go and test him in English and Maths.”
A window of hope had been opened.
Here, there was a chance and hope
Chance and hope for secondary education.
He passed his exams
He was instantly admitted.
The next problem after admission was money
The Asante student had no money
Several times he was sent home for fees
Several times he hangs around the school compound.
Perhaps the school authorities got fed up with him.
They tolerated him
They sympathised with him
He was never sacked
He sat for the Cambridge School Certificate and passed well
He looked upwards to thank the Lord
The human factor was the tolerant headmaster.
Do you know him!
William Ofori Atta (Paa Willie) was the headmaster
That was Paa Willie in love with humanity
A man who cared about others
A man who made it possible for the Asante boy to have free secondary education
The young man until his death always spoke about two institutions.
Abuakwa State College and Okyeman
He showed gratitude and respect to the two.
After Kyebi, he left for Cape Coast.
He found himself at Adisadel College
Adisadel accepted him for a sixth form course.
But he never forgot his roots at Kyebi.
Knowledge gained at Kyebi and Cape Coast was not enough for him.
The young man’s desire for more was awakened in him
The Gold Coast was not enough for him
“Aburokyire” he desired to go for more knowledge
But the means to go to “Aburokyire” was not there.
Fortunately, a friend joined him
They plotted to leave the shores of the Gold Coast.
They could not walk to Europe
They had no “lorry fare” for the journey.
There was a clever avenue to take
Take a risk
If you lose … nothing
If you succeed … victory
At Takoradi harbour, they stowed away
They left the shores in a ship
They were not passengers but stowaways.
It was a risk worth taking
Even though arrested they reached France
They pushed on and finally reached England
It was their desired destination.
At last, the young man had arrived in England.
Fending for oneself was not easy
Menial jobs he undertook.
But with determination, he entered a university
He had his Cambridge School Certificate with him.
It was Manchester University
Law, he decided to read to please his mother back home in the Gold Coast.
Called to the English bar?
What an achievement for the poor boy
Now a “learned friend” of the English Court!!
An ambition, achieved through sheer determination
His future was well secured.
His hard work has yielded golden results
Thanks, he gave to God.
On his own he was nothing
To God be the glory, he sung in England
Once more he took a bold decision
Go back to young Ghana.
He left the Gold Coast as a stowaway
He returned to Ghana as a barrister at law.
Home he came
Her village son, now somebody in Kumasi
That was the reality
The young lawyer formed a legal company
He named it Yaanom Chambers
The urge to pay something back to society was always there.
Senior never forgot those who gave him free secondary education
This became real at the Kumasi High Court
At a sitting of the court, there was a drama
Appiah Menka entered the courtroom
Lawyer Paa Willie was already seated
Paa Willie was legally a junior barrister
He was expected to give his seat to student Appiah Menka
You can imagine…
The issue is historic to both sides
Generosity, bearing fruit to a very high level.
The headmaster giving his seat to his student.
The student never took the seat
Senior A.A. remembered his roots
Respect for age and values
A hallmark of good upbringing.
The young lawyer entered politics
He rose through the political structure
He was a Deputy Minister of Trade and Deputy Attorney General
That was great for the village man.
He worked for the good of all.
He engaged himself actively in the affairs of his old school.
He suggested the name of his legal company as the clarion call of his school.
Yaanom became the clarion call for all Abuscodians.
The response was Susubiribi
Old Abscodians honoured him as their President
He later became President Emeritus
President of Yaanom undertook several projects
The school became “his everything”.
A house was named after him
In 2017, the Administration Block was also named after him.
All in recognition of his meritorious services to the nation.
He was until his death the moving spirit of Yaanom
Yaanom accorded him every respect and praise
When struck down in 2017, Yaanom visited him in Kumasi
Although bedridden, Yaanom stretched their hands upwards to our God
They poured out their grief before the Lord
They asked for a miracle to happen
Senior stood up and walked awhile.
That was a moment never to be forgotten.
That is what happens to good men.
The few minutes on his feet was a gift from God
This enabled him to take part in Yaanom’s 80th Anniversary at Kyebi
His presence at the ceremony was a great joy to all.
We are sure that Senior went home satisfied with the state of his school.
__ Senior Appiah Menkah had another passion beyond Yaanom
He sought the well-being of his nation
He cultivated palm trees
He turned the oil into soaps
Apino soaps, he produced.
At a time when the nation was in an economic mess
His name became popular nationwide.
Freely, he supplied institutions and individuals with his products.
He became a national saviour
His popularity was even the envy of those at the top.
Edits were issued to frustrate him
But the Lord protected him.
Ghana will never forget the era of Apino
Now the battle for human life is over for Apino
The man who saved Ghana with his soaps is dead
The popular Apino is gone at last
At last, the Alfa and Omega has called him HOME.
Senior, your colleagues, Yaanom, will never forget you.
Your name will resonate in their ears forever.
All Yaanom will cherish your good deeds
You deserve eternal rest after such hard work
“Wo susuu biribi, ema wo ho baa mfaso maa wo man” as a true Yaanom.
May the heavenly angels welcome you home.
Rest in Peace.
You will always be remembered
(Yaanom 1961) is mother could not believe her eyes