Don’t be deceived by the headline. And don’t think the headline is misleading. It is an accurate headline that has the tendency to mislead.
We read books for pleasure. We often study books for examination or courses. So if the immediate past Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana Justice Georgina Theodora Wood (Mrs) is asking you to study a book, you’re likely to think she is recommending a fat law book full of cases, whose holdings and precedents you must memorize for a law exam or legal showdown in court.
Reading the heading, you’re likely to conclude that she was addressing judges, lawyers or law students, and since you’re not a member and don’t intend to be a member of the legal cult, you’re excluded. After all, why should a crab be concerned when a prescription for a headache is announced?
That’s, however, not the case. The former Chief Justice is not talking about law books. And she does not want you to study for an examination. Or, maybe, it is an examination that is not very similar to the one, which the everyday word connotes – the examination of life. To live an accomplished and examined life, you need certain fundamental principles.
Our elders have taught us that if you want to know what is ahead of the road, ask those who are coming. One man has gone ahead and is returning with a basket full of experiences and pearls of wisdom.
He called Kofi Otutu Adu Labi. He is kind enough to put his experiences into two books – ‘They Touched Us for Good’ and ‘Wisdom, Faith and a Song’. These are the books Justice Georgina Theodora Wood wants us to study. She was speaking at the launch of the books last week, which took place at the Victory Congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana at Adenta Fafraha in Accra.
The author is a lawyer and a banker, who was educated at Ofori Panin Senior High School, Achimota School, University of Ghana, University of Bradford School of Management and the Georgetown University Law Center. He also studied at the International Law Institute in Washington DC, the Cranfield School of Management and London Business School.
He was a pioneering staff of SSB Bank (Now Societe Generale Ghana), where he rose to the position of General Manager. He served as the advisor to two Governors of the Bank of Ghana, and has held several top positions, chaired boards and served the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in many capacities. He has been married to Elioenai since 1978 and they have five adult children and two grandchildren.
It is the experiences and encounters he gathered in his, education, work, life and wide travels that he shares liberally in his writings.
The double book launch this year was preceded by a triple book launch last year. In 2016, Kofi Otutu Adu Labi launched three books. They are ‘Pearls of Wisdom’, ‘Nuggets for Victorious Living’ and ‘Stories to Warm Your Heart’.
Among the distinguished guests who graced the book launch last week was Her Ladyship Justice Georgina Theodora Wood (Mrs.), a member of the Council of State and immediate past Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana; Judge Akua Kuenyehia, former First Vice President of the International Criminal Court, The Hague; Mrs Matilda Amissah-Arthur, wife of the former Vice President; Very Rev Professor Emmanuel Martey, immediate past Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana; Rev Col David Adoteye-Asare, Fafraha District Minister of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana; Mr Emmanuel Asiedu-Mante, former First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana; and Dr Johnson Asiama, Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana.
According to the author, his latest books “represent a passion in me to pass on what I consider valuable lessons from the School of Life through the tool of storytelling.”
On ‘Wisdom, Faith and a Song’, Mr Adu Labi said:
“Three threads run through the book. One is that wisdom will help you stand out from the crowd. The reality is that we are facing a wisdom problem. We need to accept and address this problem as a people. It will not go away if we behave like ostriches and pretend that we do not see it.
“ The second thread is that we all need faith to survive in the world. For example faith in our future is what will propel us to invest in our lives and those of our children. This has deep implications for nation-building.
“The third thread is a confirmation of the power of song. Indeed I have often found myself shedding silent tears whenever I sing some of the hymns highlighted in the book. A Methodist Minister friend of mine once called me the Weeping Prophet, on account of this tendency, a phenomenon which he says he experiences regularly himself. These lessons informed the choice of title. “
His second book, ‘They Touched Us for Good’ is about leadership. The author does not go for the usual target when the word leadership is mentioned. He does not concentrate on politicians or people at the national or international level. He celebrates those who are often ignored, but who have raised the greatest citizens of the world.
He dedicated the book to “all the leaders who have influenced me and countless others for good, with special reference to Mr S. T. Ampofo, my secondary school Headmaster at Ofori Panin Secondary School.”
“The thrust of the book is that leadership should be about influence. An influence that is purposeful, positively impactful, lasting and cross-generational. The examples from the lives of Mrs Joyce Asibey (or Auntie Joyce of Aburi Girls) BEPOW SO HANN; Mrs Clarice Howorth (or Miss Garnett or Garnie of Wesley Girls) LIVE PURE; S. T. Ampofo of Ofori Panin (still alive and sprightly at 92) MPAYINFO; Esther Afua Ocloo of Nkulenu Industries (A Bush Girl comes to town) and finally the story of my own mother, Yaa Okyerebea Adu Labi, who first wore shoes when she qualified as a specialist Home Science teacher from the Agogo Basel Mission Training College in 1939.”
Mr Kofi Otutu Adu Labi’s books are easy to study. He employs the biggest asset in writing – simplicity – in chronicling his experiences and encounters with people and the world. The things he writes about are things the reader may have encountered but paid no attention to them and may have paid dearly for neglecting them.
He writes about experiences of the world and spices them with godly and biblical principles and wisdom. The books are invaluable guides to people who are attending the school of life. And the most important benefit one gets from heeding the advice of Justice Georgina Theodora Wood is that one is likely to avoid the many slippery paths in life and the pitfalls that come with the quest for success.