Former President Jerry John Rawlings has recounted how strict and uncompromising disciplinarian his late mother Victoria Agbotui was during her 101 years on earth.
In a glowing tribute, he said, “My mother was tough and determined and never stopped threatening the use of the rod. She was fearless and had the most amazing work ethic.”
“She believed that the devil found the use of the idle hand, so kept herself and those around her busy at all times.”
Mr. Rawlings said his “very enterprising” mother with “exacting standards” laid the foundation for him to give off his best when he became a pilot in the No. 4 Squadron of the Ghana Air Force.
In his school days at Achimota School, he recounted occasions she came to visit him but met his absence because he had gone to the Achimota Forest to enjoy the tranquillity of nature.
“…as I headed back through the arboretum, I could see her standing in front of Guggisberg House wagging her finger at some poor student who was unfamiliar with her temperament. Invariably she was leaving a warning of some sort behind for me.”
Madam Victoria Agbotui never wanted Mr Rawlings to join the military and felt pained and vindicated about his initial reservations regarding his career choice during his trial after May 15, 1979.
Auntie Vic versus Otumfuo
The former President reminisced his mother’s encounter with the late Otumfuo Osei Tutu Agyeman-Prempeh at the State House where she used to work as a baker.
He said on one occasion, “when I went to visit her at the State House, I heard her yelling at someone. I followed her voice round the building till I arrived on the scene to witness my mother standing in the garden, rebuking someone on the balcony at the top of her voice.
“I looked up, and it was none other than Otumfuo Osei Tutu Agyeman-Prempeh II, the then Asantehene (of blessed memory) who had asked for salt from a junior staff member contrary to his strict dietary requirements. Naturally, he turned away and went into his room when he saw the shocked expression on my face.
“Auntie Vic was talking to this great King as if he was her son! She was fearless with little regard for political correctness.”
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