It appears that Father Time is now calling time out on the second generation of leaders of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia political tradition. Over the last decade, Victor Owusu, RR Amponsah, Kwame Safo Adu, Albert Adu Boahen, Imoro Salifu, TD Brodie Mends, Stephen Krakue, Henry Thompson, Aliu Mahama, amongst others, have all gone to meet Their Maker. They have now been joined by Nicholas Yaw Boafo Adade, principled politician, powerful advocate, outstanding judge and incorruptible public servant.
Like many of the others, he came into prominence in the early turbulent decades of our life as an independent nation, decades which were disfigured by a series of military coups that ushered in long periods of authoritarian rule. To his and their credit, against all the odds they remained steadfast in their conviction that Ghana?s progress would be best served by a democratic system of governance, where individual liberties, human rights and the rule of law are respected.
It was that conviction that led him to join the famous organisation set up by Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa to oppose Kutu Acheampong?s UNIGOV idea ? the Peoples? Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ), whose General Secretary I had the honour to be. The aftermath of the rigged Referendum of April 1978, when the Acheampong military government put out the dragnet, forced several PMFJ leaders into brief exile. I was responsible for organising NYB Adade?s reception in Lome, when he crossed the border to join us. It was to create a bond between us for many years to come.
A brilliant career at the Bar, both in Kumasi and Accra, was crowned by his appointment as Attorney General in Kofi Abrefa Busia?s Progress Party government of all the talents. His tenure as Attorney General saw his involvement in one of the most famous constitutional cases of our history ? the Sallah case, in which Sallah?s dismissal from the public service was challenged in the Supreme Court. Even though he lost the case, the Supreme Court ruling against the government and upholding Sallah?s claim, the vitality of Attorney General Adade?s radical constitutional arguments in the case are still the subject of considerable controversy amongst constitutional law students and commentators. It was the measure of his brilliance that, even in a losing cause, he left his footprints on the sands of time.
Just as he left his mark on our nation?s constitutional history as Attorney General, so did he as a member of the Bench, particularly in his tenure as Justice of the Supreme Court. It was he who led the majority on the Court, in the celebrated case of the NPP v Attorney General, to outlaw the official celebration of the 31st December coup as being offensive to the letter and spirit of the democratic Constitution of the Fourth Republic. Adade JSC?s authoritative opinion in the case remains a landmark in the annals of constitutional interpretation in our country. He was, indeed, the great Chief Justice our nation never had.
I must express my gratitude to him for the insightful advice he gave me when, some thirty years later, I, in my turn, was appointed Attorney General. It helped me considerably.
He belongs to a noble generation of men and women who suffered the deprivations of detention and exile to ensure that our nation was set on the path of democratic governance under the rule of law. Our generation, which is today enjoying the benefits of an open society, of free speech and free political activities under constitutional rule, owe him and the others an enormous debt of gratitude for their sense of principle and capacity for sacrifice. Our nation is richer for the life of Nicholas Yaw Boafo Adade. We shall continue to commemorate him.
I extend my deepest condolences to his widow, the pleasant Mrs Agnes Adade, his children and family for their great loss.
May Almighty God bless him. Senior, rest in perfect peace.