The anxiety on the face of the man looking for Henry Akuffo, son of Head Of State, General FWK Akuffo and the screeching noise from the unmarked car that whisked him away were obvious signs something was amiss that rainy Monday morning in Legon Presec and Ghana as a whole.
Senior Ayerson of Clerk House saw the car speed off and told his mate Azingbele “Henry sat Benz and went”. He would resume chewing his sponge and spit onto the flower bed near the Common Room.
Rumours soon circulated that the SMC II military government of General Frederick Kwesi Akuffo an Odadee, had been overthrown.
The rumour was to gain further currency and the purported coup credence when Moses Kwakye (Kwansa House) and Benjamin Kwakye (Labone House) sons of Inspector General Of Police BSK Kwakye were also picked up by relatives
Oblivious of the coup rumours, life was normal in other houses. In Akro House Dormitory A, Seniors Selassie Ameko, Julius Kwansa (McCalls) and Amamo Godson (Chiley) were getting ready for General Paper II their last A-Level exam.
Senior ‘Anico Tampale’ grinned as he urinated publicly behind Engmann House bathhouse. In Riis House, there was the usual queue to use the 6 chamber WC toilets with impatience visibly written on those waiting. Camay, Palmolive, Rexona, Mon Savon, Fa, Guardian, Shield and local Alata samina soap scents competed in the bathing area in Labone House. Then the confirmation came: “Charlie, them do coup ooo. GBC dey play martial music”
A few weeks back there had been an abortive military mutiny led by a young air force officer JJ Rawlings who was on trial and rumour linked him to the events unfolding that morning.
As the morning wore on, news came that the coup had been crushed via an announcement by Major General N.A Odartey Wellington.
Early afternoon, a helicopter hovered above Presec compound and we climbed to the top of our bathhouses shouting “JJ oooh JJ; JJ oooh JJ”.
Then another rumour flew that the leader of the coup had landed on the school field. Shirtless and some without sandals, we raced to the school field but did not find any such thing. In small groups, we weighed in on the events glued to the few radios around. It was a very fluid situation indeed.
By 3.00pm, the rebels had regained Broadcasting House and Major General N.A Odartey Wellington the maternal uncle of LAMIAAYI (Ebenezer Lamptey) of Clerk House was killed at Nima Police Station where he had sought refuge. LAMIAAYI was inconsolable, crushed and grief-stricken.
The coming days saw Odadees hearing stories about the tactical flying capabilities of JJ Rawlings. Revolution, Accountability & Probity, Power to the People, House Cleaning Exercise, The Masses & Underprivileged etc became part of our vocabulary. Ghana would never be the same again.
This is an excerpt from Eddie ‘Fico’ Cofie’s unpublished book – “Tales of An Odadee; Recollections of Events In Presec (1976-83).”