(1948 -2007) In the tropical darkness of sub-Saharan Africa a soon to be torch bearer and a doyen of Ghanaian politics was born. Tarkwa a medium size mining town in the western region of Ghana was proud to have accommodated the new born child in 1948, the year of great political awakens and consciousness towards independence. She is a native of Pusiga in the Bawku district in Ghana. Her firm resolve to make it in life was that a keen sense of purpose must not easily be overcome by difficulties, her lovely mother a CPP activist was next to the infamous “Kulungugu”bombing, this showed how politics had taken roots in the family. So it was no surprise when she took to politics like mother like daughter. Her mother was the women’s organizer of the CPP in her district, at a very young age she was elected unopposed to the local council and at the time a new constitution was being written in 1979, she was elected unopposed to the constituent Assembly to help in the drafting of that important document for Ghana, the youngest person to be so honored, and the only one out of five people to be elected with the rest getting their positions by appointment. She has exuded traits of martyrdom with such optimistic temperament, boldness and persistent action culminating into stardom and making her a paragon of society, with humility as her tramp card she has bridged the gap between the aged and the young, the incumbent and opposition, the hopeful and the faint hearted and a comforter for the destitute in society. She has come close to death on several counts, when the hallowing storms of doubt and fear assailed she managed to prevail by the living words of God and the prayers of many people. Take a walk with us as we delve deep into the beginnings of the woman behind the “Positive Change” enchantment which the ruling New patriotic party (NPP) used as it’s catch call slogan to win power in the 2000 elections, on the wheels of the slogan “Positive Change” many votes were delivered to NPP and in reminiscing time across memory lane we also trace her contributions to the body politics of Ghana, ECOWAS, Africa and the world at large. The woman who has survived the Mamprusi and Kusasi skirmish, the conflict prone area of Bawku says bigotry and prejudice are the worst things a man could be guilty of, from her many a help has gone to people, and as a source of inspiration observers and admirers, have seen a great leader; tanned, well tailored in command and on her way to make a better world through the art of politics. The one who has brought: "Harmony in times of discord Hope during despair Truth where there is doubt" Wish that amongst all the things that history will say about her when she is no more, it will not fail to record that she appealed to the best hopes of people and not their worst fears, their confidence and not their doubts, her wish is that people tread the path of life with liberty lamp lightening their path and stretching and arm of opportunity and help. The Story of Hawa Yakubu unraveled… EDUCATION Upon the death of her father Mr. Yakubu Awinaba, her mother popularly called Hajia Azore went through an ordeal from her in laws, Uncles insisted that the children who happened to be all girls, got married and forget of schooling, a defiant and visionary mother resisted, persisted and had her principles materializing later in the years to come. Hon. Hawa Yakubu’s mother was thrown out of the family house for insisting that her daughters took to education instead of marriage, and being a very appreciative mother she promised Hawa the daughter that she was fond of, a house if she finished Navorongo Secondary school without getting pregnant, this feet Madam Hawa achieved to the praise of her mother. After completing Navorongo secondary school, fate found her in Accra where she came to pursue catering at the revered Accra- Polytechnic, where she finished her tertiary education with resounding success; she later had the job of matron at Navorongo Secondary her educational roots. HER NUCLEAR FAMILY She had two sons from her first marriage to Amadu Ayebo namely Felix and Derek and with these kids she sought refuge in 1982 in London. There she stayed with her two sons on a single bed as a refugee, in the night one of her sons will fall off from the bed because the bed was too small to accommodate the three of them. Her new abode created a distance and a barrier between her and the husband( Amadu Ayebo) and this eventually led to the collapse of the marriage, she married captain Hodge Ogede, a pilot at Nigeria Airways with whom she had two girls, Amanda Ogede and Dieudonee Ogede. Series of threats on her life and her devotion for politics took a greater part of her family time, Captain Ogede who increasingly got worried as a result of the threats on his wife and family decided to seek solace by opting out of a rather happy marriage, yet again on the wheels of politics she (Hon. Hawa Yakubu) lost her second husband, the relationship collapsed irreparably. She lost her beloved son Felix in 2000 round up to the elections, living her with one surviving son Derrick, Amanda and Dieudonee. BIDS MOTHER FAREWELL In 1992 she came over to have the final funeral rites for her late mother (Hajia Azore) who died in 1983 from a shock upon hearing that her daughter (Madam Hawa Yakubu) had died in exile, this was later found out as rumor funned by no other than her surmises. POLITICAL LIFE Hon. Hawa Yakubu’s political life started from the grass roots, she stood for the district assembly elections unopposed, and thus she became a member of her constituent assembly. Out of 5 women at the constituent assembly she was the only elected woman as the 4 were government appointee’s’, also she was the Upper East representative at the local government. With a divided tradition she took to the side of Paa Willie, Adu Boahen, R.R. Amponsah to form UNC, which contested the 1979 elections and lost to Dr. Hilla Limann, though a Northern she never believed in tribal politics and she felt UNC had a better appeal and offer to the nation, she therefore defied the norm and voted against one of her own Dr. Limann thus ensuring thumbs up for objectivity and shame to the politics of tribalism and nepotism. She sought political asylum as a refugee in London as the PNDC took over the reigns of power on 31st December 1981, after a long spell in Britain and Nigeria she came home in 1991 and contested the 1992 elections, as an independent candidate remaining neutral on the ensuing Kusasi and Mamprusi she drew lots of votes from both warring factions, also many sympathizers who were aware of the tragic and terrible death of her mother supported her efforts, the writing was therefore on the wall and it was no surprise that she won the 1992 elections and took active role in the first parliament of the 4th Republic. As a strong member of the opposition and in the minority in parliament she distinguished her self as the voice of the voiceless this no doubt made her the envy of most of her colleagues in the majority who on certain occasions sought to eliminate her. CLOSE SHAVE (Narrow escape) She came close to death on several occasions, she was shot on close range but missed the target, her bag and windscreen were broken into on numerous times, in such times she used civil society and media to carry out the views of the opposition, she thus earned several accolades some referred to her as a myth breaker, a ‘bula matari(breaker of rocks) however the most popular with her fans was “Iron Lady”, she thus carved a niche for herself from an otherwise quiet, humble small – town girl into a national Heroine. To say she dominated the first parliament of the fourth republic is an under-statement. She became a much sought for, participating in international for a , especially in connection with her pet subjects of women’s Empowerment, children’s right, Female Genital Mutilation, good governance and conflicts resolution. She was Executive committee member of the parliamentarians for Global Action and of Anglophone Africa on the women’s Co-ordinating committees of the (I.P.U) Inter Parliamentary Union. GRACIOUS IN DEFEAT In 1996, a concerted government effort to rid parliament of this irrepressible woman led to the one of the two shameful of African political practice when electoral officers were pressured to declare her loser although she had retained her seat by a handsome margin, Hawa challenged the results but to no avail, a typical hallmark of a democrat she conceded defeat and left for Cotonou, Benin to serve as Executive Director of GERDDES, an NGO that observes elections. She stayed there till 2000 when she came down to contest for the 2000 elections on the ticket of the NPP and as an MP for Bawku Central. SHOCK OF HER LIFE In the 2000 elections she felt peeved, when she had won and the results were still not declared, a big squabble ensued which led her to come out from her hide out and to the police station for 4 more of the boxes to be counted after the elections had ended, these 4 boxes had her earning 2 and 300 for Fati Seidu, in some 8 (Hawa) 300(Fati Seidu) yet she won after the count of those boxes, Madam Fati Seidu later conceded to her big sister whom she regards as her mother. It is now known that 300 lives perished and 120 houses were raised down in that skirmish. CONCESSION She says that even though she is now in the Danquah-Busia tradition she has lots of respect for Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and even beliefs that President Kufuor attest to the fact that Nkrumah was a great leader and a proud son of Ghana this she says the President stated when they made a trip to Morocco. She admits that the Danquah Busia tradition makes room for social development even though it is private sector oriented. Madam Hawa Yakubu passed away in London on Tuesday March 20th 2007 after a short illness. May she rest in peace.
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