Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


James Mercer buried

Mr James Mercer, a prominent member of of the Ghana Bar for over the last thirty odd years, died at Sekondi on 17th September 1985 after a long illness.

Born on January 17, 1916, he attended St Peter's School, Sekondi; and the SPG Grammar School (now Adisadel College) Cape Coast from 1928 to 1934. After a year's work experience at Barclays Bank, Accra, he joined the Gold Coast Colonial Service in 1936 and acquired, in the next twelve years, extensive experience in the district offices of local administration and in the registry of courts of first instance; finding time for voluntary service particularly for the blind.

From the training ground of local administration he left the Service in 1948 to study law in London (so realising a wish which he had made at the age of twelve), and was called to the Bar at Middle Temple in 1951.

Upon his return home he set up his legal practice in Sekondi, where he quickly established a brilliant record as a defence lawyer. At the same time he defended freely, and singularly, young people in Elmina, whom the Colonial Special Police were harassing in the wake of political 'Positive Action'.

He was invited by the Ghana Government to organise the formation of the Ghana Airways and became the first Chairman of the National Airline. He continued in the Ghana Public Service first as Ambassador to the People's Republic of China (1961-62) and to Israel (1963-66). He returned to Ghana to resume his legal practice and was for some time President of the Western Region branch of the Ghana Association.

He was a member of the Constituent Assembly (1969) which ushered in the Second Republic and was latterly Chair- man of the Ghana-Ivory Coast Boundary Commission and of the Western Region Consultative Council.

He will be particularly remembered as an active friend and benefactor of Adisadel College and of the Anglican Church in West Africa, having been Registrar of the Accra Diocese from 1954 to 1961 and member of its West Africa Joint Dioceseum Committee since 1975. He was due to be buried on October 18, 1985.

Final Obsequies for A.S.A. Abban

Burial has taken place in London of Anthony Saibu Alexander Abban, former Minister of Education in President Hilla Limann's government. He was 56.

The late Mr A.S.A. Abban was born at Ajumako in the Central Region of Ghana and was educated at Mfantsipim school, Cape Coast and Wesley College in Kumasi after which he taught for a while. In the days of political struggle for Ghana's independence, A.S.A. as he was popularly known, joined Dr Bar Nkrumah's camp and later became Member of Parliament for Ajumako- Asikuma and then Junior Minister for Agriculture.

In 1966 when the military and police overthrew the government of the Conven- tion People's Party, he was the chairman of the Paper Conversion Corporation inTakoradi. During the preparations towards civilian rule in the 3rd Republic A.S.A. helped to found the People's National Party which later won the election. In addition to being a founding member of the PNP, A.S.A. was also an alternate member of the Presidential Advisory Council. He was appointed Minister of Education shortly before President Limann's government was overthrown in a coup d'etat led by Flt-Lt. Jerry Rawlings.

The late Mr Abban then moved into exile in Britain from where he joined forces with the Ghana Democratic Movement of which he was a founding member to fight for the restoration of civilian democratic rule in Ghana.

He played a leading part in the forma- tion of the Ghana Welfare Association - to cater for the welfare of so many Ghanaians in exile and was also a found- ing member of the Ghana Democratic Movement dedicated to the restoration of Democracy to Ghana through democratic means.

A.S.A. left behind a wife and six children.

Final obsequies will take place on October 26 at Woodberry Down Boys Club, 256 Green Lanes, Manor House, London N4 from 4pm to be followed by thanksgiving service on Sunday at St Andrews Church, Willesden High Road,

talking drums 1985-10-21 Azumah The two minute wonder