Sixty-eight-year-old Kofi Agyei popularly called Old Soldier, and a resident of Nyamekrom, a suburb in the New Juaben South Municipality, was in tears of joy as he could not believe he could have an opportunity to acquire a voters ID card.
He was allegedly denied the opportunity to register and to obtain a Ghana (or ECOWAS) card because he did not look presentable.
Residents of Nyamekrom call him Old Soldier because information suggests that he had in the past been in the Ghana army. He is currently the security man for the R.C. Primary School at Nyamekrom.
The 68-year-old man whose life now seems to be characterised by alcoholism, all the time appears shabbily dressed and has become an object of mockery in the locality.
According to information gathered by Ghanaweb, due to his appearance, Old Soldier was allegedly ignored by the NIA registration officials during the Ghana Card registration in the Eastern Region.
Information gathered suggested that even when he had persisted for the opportunity to be registered for the Ghana card, Old Soldier could not get guarantors to guarantee for him. People refused to guarantee to enable him acquire a Ghana card.
According to Old Soldier in a brief interview with Ghanaweb, “The Ghana card people refused me the opportunity to register because they thought I was not sane.”
Electoral Commission Registration Officials spotted Old Soldier sitting on the ground looking shabby and drunk and uttering certain words.
When the Registration officer was alerted on what he was saying, he paid attention to Old Soldier’s appeal, “Please register me, I am a Ghanaian.”
Some registrants in the queue, who assumed Old Soldier was not sound in the mind, were casting aspersions on him but eventually, the EC Registration Officer at the R.C. Primary School Nyamekrom registration centre ‘2’ called Old Soldier, interrogated him and realised that he was so very clear in the mind. He was only drunk and looking dirty.
The Registration Officer appealed to two new voter ID cardholders who knew Old Soldier to offer to guarantee for him. They willingly did.
Within 10 minutes, Old Soldier had acquired his voter ID card, something that sent goose pimples over him because he never thought he would be counted among people.
Old Soldier shed tears, saying, “Oh I’m happy and sad. So I can also acquire a national ID card? Those people, they said they would not let me register to get my Ghana card. Oh, so I can also vote now. Thank you all. You have made my day. I’m going to keep it well.”
Old Soldier left the registration centre with his card so full of joy and showering words of blessing on the EC officials for giving him his dream opportunity.
“Ohh, I have got it. Here it is. Uncle, I thank you. Look at it. This one has my picture. Eeiii, I have grown old. God bless you all. Keep on doing that. You have done everything so well,” Old Soldier who hitherto never knew he is now an ‘old boy’ expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the Registration Officer.