On Saturday, 18th February 2023, a small group of family and friends met at Trinity Theological Seminary Church, Legon for a thanksgiving service for Professor Jonathan Norh Ayerte on the occasion of his 80th birthday. As expected for such accomplished academics, dignitaries who attended the event included Justice of the Supreme Court, Prof. Henrietta Mensah Bonsu, and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. C.N.B. Tago and Prof. Ernest Areity and retired academics. Kofi Siabi-Mensah from Legon.
An interesting prelude to the thanksgiving service was the dedication of Prof Ayerte’s two new baby grandchildren to God. Rev. Professor Kwabena Asamoah Gyadu of Trinity Theological Seminary presided over the ceremony while Dr Patrick Addakwe, a Music Lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, provided beautiful liturgical music.
An indigene of Nuaso near Somanya in Yilo Krobo District, Prof Ayerte was born on 9 February 1943 in Sesimang. He attended Presbyterian Boys Secondary School (PRESEC) in Krobo-Odumas. After his undergraduate studies at the University of Cape Coast, he studied at Imperial College, University of London, UK, where he received his PhD in Entomology in 1976. After a long period of teaching at Legon, he rose to become Dean of Students. . After retirement, he became the Dean of Academic Affairs at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC), Teshi, Accra.
Currently, Prof Ayertey continues to serve Ghana as the Chairman of the Governing Council of the newly established University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD), Somanya. He is a member of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.
He preached a sermon titled “Thanksgiving” with Rev. Prof.
“Always rejoice in the Lord, I say again: let your tenderness be evident to all. God is near. Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving present your requests to God.
Explaining the text, Prof. said that gratitude is important for several reasons. First, expressing thanks shows gratitude. In showing gratitude, a beneficiary appreciates something received or done by the giver. It shows that a beneficiary does not take the action of the giver lightly. Unfortunately, many people forget to thank God when things are going well for them. He reminded us to always be grateful to God.
Second, gratitude overcomes bitterness. Because ingratitude often creates bitterness, which is the result of lack of appreciation. The giver feels unappreciated and therefore bitter and resentful. Finally, he asked us to be prayerful at all times to commune with our Creator.
He added verse 7 of Philippians 4, which says “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your minds through Christ Jesus.”
His discourse with a lot of humor recalled his undergraduate days when he preached in Legon on Sundays. Working on a very tight budget, which my lecturer described as “constant financial embarrassment,” said Professor Asamoah Gyadu, who was always welcome and a big relief to be invited by Mrs. Ayerte to his professor’s house for Sunday morning breakfast. Pocket and body. At the time, he said, he thought breakfast was free! But thirty years later, here he was on a Saturday morning paying for the breakfast he ate so long ago.
Professor Ayerte’s children praised their parents for their love and support, silently quoting the commandments in Exodus, Deuteronomy and Ephesians to “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long.” Prof. Asamoah Gyadu lamented that unfortunately some children reject this biblical mandate and do not respect their parents.
In a glowing tribute, Professor Ayerte’s classmates at PRESEC affirmed the outstanding leadership of Krobo Odumas, who was appointed Head-Prefect of PRESEC in his final year.
Speaker after speaker spoke about Prof’s exceptional leadership ability. Professor Henrietta Mensah Bonsu extolled his virtues when she worked closely with him as Senior Lecturer of Akuafo Hall, Legon, where Professor was Hall Master. Affectionately calling Professor Ayerte “Master”, the Supreme Court judge said the professor was always his “Master”.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof CNB Tago spoke of his personal experience with Professor Ayerte, which eventually led to his confirmation from the current Vice-Chancellor to the substantive VC of the University of Ghana. In fact, due to his outstanding abilities, when the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College asked for the Deanship for Graduate Studies, Professor Ayerte easily emerged as the right choice.
His family, wife, children and grandchildren spoke in his honor of an outstanding human being who sacrificed his all for his family, community, friends and all those in need. A representative who spoke on behalf of the environment and sustainable development of the new university said that the chairman of their governing body, Prof.
In his reply, Prof. Ayerte said it was very gratifying to hear such words when he was alive and not a tribute when he was dead. He was grateful to all the invitees and thanked us for the kind words about him. He also thanked his children profusely for the massive support they gave to him and their mother.
Professor Ayerte’s comment led me to my September 2022 article “Give me my flowers while I still smell them!” In it, I stated as follows;
“As Bob Cole said, the multitude of platitudes uttered during thanksgiving services meant nothing to the dead as they lay soundly in the “chop-box,” as the little boy called his grandfather’s casket.
While they are alive, let’s recognize, praise and honor deserving individuals for their contributions to Ghana or humanity and encourage the younger generation to make sacrifices! “
As Ghanaians, let us learn to escape the cancer of not supporting/appreciating ourselves and therefore not celebrating the success of fellow Ghanaians. Let’s stop helping foreigners destroy our environment through “galamsey”, illegal logging of rosewood and “psycho” at sea etc.
Thank you, Prof Asamoah Gyadu, for reminding us of the virtue of respect for parents/adults who are in short supply!
To Professor Jonathan Norh Ayerte, thank you for your service to Ghana and humanity! Congratulations on your 80th birthday and God bless you!
Wake up fellow Ghanaians!
Brig General Dan Frimpong (RTD)
Former CEO, Association of African Peace Support Trainers
President of the Council
University College of Family Health
Source: Brig General Dan Frimpong (Rtd), former CEO, Association of African Peace Support Trainers, Nairobi, Kenya
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