Calling Derbie Raphael a columnist extricates me from a perpetual confusion in my mind about choosing the most appropriate title for him. I say this because this is a man whose versatility, dynamism and intellectual sagacity won him so many accolades. He has numerous titles ranging from Hon deputy majority leader in students' Parliament, His Excellency the Vice President of a reputable association like the Association of Students of Languages, the Senior Scribe of the largest Opposition Party, NDC UEW-K, President of UWESU and equally very important others. In a country where such hard earned accolades are highly cherished and are often rendered in honour of such people with recognizable reputation, fame and hard work, I have no option than to put friendship and brotherhood aside, in my succinct attempt to formally render my solidarity message to him as he celebrates his milestone today. For we as comrades in the ink fraternity, the best gift you can ever give to a celebrant in such remarkable and memorable occasions is a piece of writing. Mind you, every occasion is an opportunity for writers to update their columns. That is the exactitude of my situation.

Hon Raph, I call him affectionately is my very good comrade of real substance, a  determined young charismatic politician God has given me. I am a beneficiary of his largest. I'm sure we could have certainly come together considering how each of us is striving with relish and enthusiasm in the political domains in our home Region, Upper West but University Education is just a catalyst in our comradeship. I vividly remember how we met when we reported for first semester to start this exhaustive academic work.

In any environment I find myself, I often prefer to observe things silently, get the clear picture of any situations and adjust myself appropriately. When we realized we were from the same region through our local language and names, we quickly strengthened the bond. In fact, apart from one Seyram, another fine gentleman of student politics, Raphael was the first friend I made in class. Indeed, he was incredulous when I introduced myself as a columnist but I told him that he was going to be a well recognized senior columnist in this country.

Today as we speak, his pen has  columns in the most popular media outlets like www.ghanaweb and www.modernghana.com. He also has a blog. His articles are very rich in content.
You now understand why I call him a senior columnist? I tell you that this gentleman has the passion for writing on national issues, inspirational messages and now lacing his boots for academic stuff. With his good command of the language, he still consults me on varying subjects and at times, we both have to struggle to find answers to pertinent issues we come across. In our traditional situation, such a gem would always want to tell the whole world that he is probably a better columnist than I do but he still humbles himself and takes suggestions and some few communication strategies from me though I'm under the tutelage of others. Why won't people think we are twins so far as writing is concerned!!

Raphael is a man among men because of his conspicuous emotional intelligence and keen observations. He acts maturely in situations. In very difficult times that I would want to coil back, Raphael would say "Hon you will make it, you are unique and what you are doing will be noticed soon by those who matter." That is always his motivation for me and I do appreciate it. Every young politician needs such comrades with apt admonition and better appreciation of situations. God has blessed me on that score. I am unable to show appreciation for all that you have been doing for me but it only God that shall reward you abundantly at his appointed time.

Our elders say "we don't praise a running dog while it is present."
Beyond the eulogy, I want to use this medium to extend my sincerest best wishes and felicitations to columnist Derbie Raphael in this occasion of his birthday, belated though.
My message is coming late for excusable reasons, having been attending to an Uncle on the sick bed.
Raph, it is my hope and prayer that God will grant you long live and prosperity, protect you from the wicked enemy and shower you with endless enthusiasm and good health to continue what you are doing for mother Ghana. Our labour shall never be in vain.

Today, also marking an international youth skills day, I want to add that your skill of writing must benefit many more others. We need to continue to preach our youth. We need  resilient, hardworking and determined youth in this country, moving forward to the promised land as our nation and we must start the fight from our little corners.

I wish you a happy belated birthday.

Denis Andaban
(Colleague Columnist)

Author: Denis Andaban

Denis Andaban is a young writer and practising journalist. He is also a young teacher who has an unrepentant passion for writing. He has written feature articles ranging from politics, social issues, academic and relationship. He also writes news for many online media portals. Currently, He is reading B A English Language Education at the University of Education, Winneba, Kumasi. Denis Andaban is a native of Fian in the Upper West Region

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