So at the invitation of my wife, I attended and sat through the 6th annual thanksgiving service of HODA (House of Duffour & Associates) Holdings, at the Accra International Conference Center today. The main auditorium was almost full by the time we arrived. We were ushered in by smartly dressed chaperones who handed us a copy each of the service programme.
The service had already commenced. I took a quick glance at the programme line-up and assured myself it was going to be interesting. Then I relaxed in my seat and decided to participate fully.
Being a stickler for good language, the first incident that grabbed my attention, quite naturally, was the baritone voice of the erudite programme moderator. The gentleman (I later found out, was Pastor Samuel Sakyi-Hyde- CEO of uniCredit Ghana Ltd) spoke impeccable English with flawless grammar. Yes, I actually listen that very intently to emcees at such events. I guess his carriage and the agility with which he connected the various segments of the programme, made it difficult to pick, if there were any cracks in his language.
Soon, one McBen Adu-Asamoah took the microphone to declare the purpose of the gathering. At this point, it was clear to me, the several hundreds of us in that auditorium were brought together by the ingenuity of a certain individual. Since I did not know his story, I decided to find out.
I took an excursion in his mind. The journey was worth every minute, every step and every kilometre.
“My parents were not particularly rich, at least, not in the strictest sense of the word. My siblings and I, together with some cousins who lived with us, have had to do all kinds of jobs in order to make some money to supplement whatever our parents have been able to provide. Those were pretty tough times and like many of my age mates at the time, I had very good reasons to give up. But like the toad which was caught on the bush path by the snake, I refused to be dragged into the bush. I knew it was just going to be a matter of time before salvation came. In my mind’s eyes, I could see several thousands of young men and women, years down the line, with good education and certificates trudging the streets of our major towns and cities, finding what to do. So I said to myself, if only I can do anything to save at least one of those. So that was how it began”.
The old man threw a few more nuts of the atadwe in his right hand into his mouth and leaned back in his deck chair in the shade of the mango tree. He closed his as he munched away in the cool twilight wind.
I snapped out of my reverie as the various CEOs of the organisations that constituted HODA Holdings were being called to the front. There were 12 companies in all:
– Star Assurance Company Ltd.
– StarLife Assurance Company Ltd.
– Star Microinsurance Services Ltd.
– uniBank (Ghana) Ltd.
– uniCredit Ghana Ltd.
– uniSecurities Company Ltd.
– uniPrecision Printing Press Ltd.
– TeleMedia Communications Ltd.
– EIB Network (StarrFm, Kasapa Fm)
– Heritage Communications Ltd.
– Integrated Properties Ltd.
– Institute for Fiscal Studies
As the gentlemen and ladies who manned these arms of HODA Holdings moved out of their seats, my mind engaged in some mathematical gymnastics. I started making a couple of assumptions. Then the final words of the old man I met on my excursion, came rushing back to me.
“In my mind’s eyes, I could see several thousands of young men and women, ……….If only I can do anything to save at least one of those”.