Nine years ago, my good friend Ima Plahar passed on to the other world. It was a difficult time for all of us. Nine years on, tears still well in my eyes when his name gets mentioned. Still cannot get over his passing. Today, I share the tribute that i wrote on his passing – a remembrance and testament of my association with him.
Tribute to a good friend – Mr Ima Plahar
The success of any immigrant community can really only be judged by the strength of the community organisations that they build. This is because the community organisations provide the supportive welfare and social environment that allows individuals to achieve their aspirations and excel in their professional lives. So the people involved in building and maintaining community organisations who thereby promote involvement in civil society must be applauded at all times.
It is therefore with a heavy heart and a deep sense of personal loss that I pay this tribute to Ima Plahar, a gentleman, a strategist, an organiser and a servant of the Ghanaian community. Though of little stature, he stood tall for his dedication and devotion to the cause of strengthening the community organisations that he belonged to.
Ima helped to organise support for my election as chairman of Ghana Union several years ago. He was steadfast in his belief that the time for change had come, he helped to shape the vision of a new Ghana Union and eventually took his place at my side as General Secretary. of the Union
In our initial discussions we agreed to handle all conflicts within the Union without being confrontational, to be visible and accessible to all, asking for views and ideas, but challenging assumptions in an enquiring sort of way. Above all, we agreed that we must not only tell the truth to the executive and the membership at large but be seen to do so at all times.
These discussions provided me with an indication of the true character of the man Ima Plahar, for he had character in abundance, he was passionate, he had integrity, he was loyal, he had the due zeal and diligence to undertake whatever tasks needed to be implemented in the union.
It was an absolute pleasure and memorable experience to work with Ima, you just wanted him as part of your team because of his abilities and affability. As we worked together, I came to have absolute trust and confidence in his organisational abilities and would only seek approval for events that he was confident that the Union could pull off. If a job was worth doing, it had to be done well and that is how it was with Ima.
He would on a daily basis, stop by the Ghana Union office on his way home from work to ensure that things were running smoothly. He was serving his country Ghana through serving the Ghanaian community here in London and did this at absolutely no cost to the organisation – no fees, no expenses and no pay.
Ima was honest, called a spade a spade, expressing his views in a forthright manner which one might describe as being blunt or even tactless. He was determined that the unsavoury habits that we had brought with us from our motherland had to be challenged and confronted and that those who deviated from operating in a transparent and open manner should be held accountable and if necessary, openly shamed. This was someone who was not only selfless but someone who expected the same high standards of accountability, he held, from all around him.
The friendship and trust that developed extended way beyond my tenure of office in Ghana Union. It was a friendship that was based on mutual respect and admiration and Ima became the dependable person who i came to on rely very much for advice on all manner of issues. Our daily lunch break conversations even after we had both stepped down from executive positions were far ranging from politics, social and business and even personal issues. I know that through his dedication and selflessness, Ima has influenced many people just as he influenced me. I learnt from him valuable lessons about listening to people, suspending judgement till the full facts and context of situations had been established.
The sacrifices that Ima made did not detract from his role as a father and loving consort to his dear wife Tina, the same principles were on display at home.
I can attest that for the four years that I was chairman of Ghana Union, I might have been at the front but he led on most of the activities since he was at his best organising events and making contact with people. His modesty allowed me to bask in the glory of his achievements during the years that we worked together. I therefore had no hesitation in recommending him as Chairman of the Union.
Ima’s spirit of service must give us hope that there are still some selfless and dedicated people within our community. Let us take consolation in the knowledge that although his life on this earth is over, what he did and what he stood for have more than adequately prepared him for the higher work that he has been called to do above.
Ima let me say this for you one more time – funtumfunafu denkyem funafu, wom aforo bom na nso worididi a na wom aku
We will miss you.Ima, we love you but God loves you best. .
Rest in perfect peace in the Lord – yaa wo dzogbann