The year 1943, marked a turning point in the second World War. Also, it was a year of various inventions that changed the world. One of the most infamous inventions of that year was the atomic bomb. While the atomic bomb stands out for its devastating impact, there were many other nonlethal innovations during the war in the fields of medicine and technology that have drastically reshaped the world. Here are six significant things that came out of that developmental surge in 1943: The flu vaccine, Penicillin, Jet engines, Blood Plasma Transfusion, Electronic Computers and the birth of Agnes! On August 16, 1943 God gifted Mr. Johannes Anani Aba Dovlo and Margaret Ami Ahadzi their golden daughter Agnes Adzovi Dovlo at Tettehkope a suburb of Keta.
She did not enter the world with the fanfare and impact of the other inventions and developments in 1943 which had far reaching impact on the world, she entered the world silently but grew up to play an important and beneficial role in the lives of her family, the community and the politics of this country. She was the idol of her grandmother, Mama Kotoko Dziafe who was a strict disciplinarian. During her childhood she was baptized by her uncle, the late Rt. Rev. C.K. Dovlo, who became MP for Keta and then Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC).
Her preparation for the roles she was to play in her life began from Dzelukope where she obtained her middle school leaving certificate in 1960. Thereafter she enrolled at Nelko Business Commercial College at Vodza where she completed her secretarial education in 1963. In that era girl child education was frowned upon and therefore, pioneers were referred to as “Sukutor”.
Between 1963 and 1966 she joined another uncle the late Rev R.B.K Dovlo who was the district pastor at Adidome in the now Central Tongu District. During those years she was employed by the Ghana Commercial Bank where she trained as a banker. At Adidome she was introduced to her husband C.P.K Okudzeto by her cousins Vida Tay and Victoria Dovlo. In 1966 they had their customary marriage at Tettehkope . She joined her husband who had returned to Sweden the previous year for further studies and in 1968 they had their wedding in a simple and colorful ceremony in Esbjerg, Denmark. They were blessed with their eldest child, Jennifer Okudzeto in 1970. While in Sweden, Agnes Okudzeto continued her education by attending Swedish Language School at Malmo, after which in 1967-1969 she studied Home Economics/Science at the Malmo State Polytechnic. Thereafter, she worked at the University of Lund Teaching Hospital as a nutritionist.
While in Sweden she lost her mother in 1968 and became the surrogate mother for her siblings and other relations who she generously supported both morally and financially.
In 1971 she returned to Ghana with her husband and settled in Adidome where he was employed as the farm manager of Gbedemah Farms and she as a nutritionist at the Adidome E.P Church Hospital. At Adidome the multi-talented couple engaged in several business ventures including transportation, a super market, bulk distributors and retail agents of GNTC, PZ and Kwapaco. They were the reference point in Adidome in the historic era of essential commodities. They also ventured into huge commercial farming in crops and cattle ranching when they set up the farm known and called JENNICO FARMS. The following year in 1972, they welcomed their second child Jerry in Accra.
In 1977, when her father was taken very ill, she took some time off work and went back home to Tettekope and served her father until his demise that same year. Incidentally she was pregnant at the time and in 1978 she gave birth to Perry who bore a striking resemblance to her father who had just passed.
At Adidome, her home was open to all, it became a hospitality center for people from all walks of life. In 1982, she gave birth to Percy, her last child. This was a period shortly after the 1981 coup d’état, when a control price regime was instituted which led to scarcity of essential goods and unending queues. This was the challenge the couple had to deal with in their shops at the time. The early 80s were difficult times for our country but they kept pushing amidst harassment from the military administration with dawn raids to search their home for hoarding but nothing was ever found.
She helped establish The Church in Adidome, and moved from the EP Church. She was a devout Christian, a prayerful, steadfast and an honest believer in God. This was the source of her spiritual and principled nature. She served her maker and dedicated her life to His work. She was an active member of the church in Adidome, Keta and Accra over the years. She carried herself with dignity and never abandoned her maker. Her faith was extraordinary.
Agnes Okudzeto and her husband also took interest in, and supported an NGO called International Needs Ghana, whose main focus was the eradication of the Trokosi System where young virgins served in servitude in atonement of infractions alleged to have been committed by their relatives. These young virgins served as sex slaves to the high priests of the various shrines dotted around the Volta Region. Most of these young virgins had no formal education or vocation of their own. International Needs Ghana identified that in order to make the liberation of the Trokosi Girls a total package, the young liberated ladies needed some vocation of their own in order to survive independently from family support. As such, Agnes Okudzeto was very instrumental in the establishment of a vocational training center in Adidome where the liberated young ladies from various shines were housed and trained in various life changing vocational skills including but not limited to the likes of dress making, soap making, textiles (tie and dye), bead making and baking. She became the first principal of the vocational training center.
When the ban on party politics was lifted by the supreme military council government in 1979, Lawyer Timothy Amesimeku, the doyen of UP tradition in the Tongu constituency, and a close friend of the Agnes and her husband, convinced them to join the Popular Front Party led by Mr. Victor Owusu which they gladly did. Unfortunately, the PFP lost the elections to the Nkrumahist Party, the PNP. On December 31, 1981 the ruling PNP was overthrown by the PNDC – a military junta led by Flt.Lt. Jerry John Rawlings. In 1991 the PNDC lifted the ban on party politics and the couple who earlier joined the Danquah/Busia Club which culminated in the formation of the NPP, together with their political mentor Lawyer Amesimeku, reentered party politics. The couple hosted many of the prominent big wigs like Former President J.A Kufuor, Prof Adu Boahene among others. She became the first treasurer of the party in the then North Tongu constituency which includes the current North and Central Tongu constituencies. The Volta Region, and by parity of reasoning, the North Tongu constituency was a very hostile constituency for the NPP. So hostile was the region that anyone who belonged to the NPP was viewed as an iconoclast. Party supporters were either ostracized and/or attacked physically. Sometimes NPP flags that they hoisted in front of their residence and other strategic places would disappear mysteriously. They never gave up, but with blinding speed they hoisted fresh flags as soon as the previous ones disappeared. Mrs. Agnes Okudzeto advised the NPP supporters in the constituency to build bridges and not walls. Supporters did as advised by embarking on house to house campaigns. They campaigned from village to village and carried their campaign to almost the entire Volta region by collaborating with other supporters of the party in different constituencies.
During the 2000 elections she was made the coordinator of the party in the southern part of the Volta region. During this period, she hosted and deployed tertiary students from the universities as polling agents. Her vigilance on polling day during the elections is a folklore that is still recited in southern Volta. Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, of blessed memory, found her dedication and honesty very outstanding. Her residence became the heartbeat of the party and she put all her resources at the disposal of the party. She never missed party conferences at the constituency, regional and national levels.
In 2001 in recognition of her meritorious and dedicated service to the party, former President J.A. Kufuor encouraged her to play a more prominent role. Backed by a solid team from the Volta region led by Tommy Amematekpor including Kenwuud Nuworsu, Kofi Boateng and Kofi Dzamasi among others, she contested the position of national vice chairperson of the NPP and was elected second national vice chairperson. In 2005 she again contested the position of vice chair and was re-elected as second national vice chairperson. She served on several national council committees of the party including but not limited to the vetting committee and the constitutional review committee. Before her demise, she was the chairperson of the Volta resource group and a member of the national council of elders.
From 2005 to 2008 she was a board member of Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) now EXIM bank from 2005 to 2008. She also served as a member of the North Tongu District Assembly on two different occasions.
On July 15, 2022 after a short illness, she crossed the finish line of life at the University of Ghana Medical Centre and thus ended a colourful and meritorious life which started from the small village of Tettekope but which like the biblical mustard seed impacted the whole country and the world. She is survived by her husband Torgbui Agbotadua C.P.K Okudzeto, four children – Jennifer, Jerry, Perry, Percy and five grandchildren.
Her name and voice have become the song in the daily lives of many people who crossed her path.. For it is written
‘‘Sometimes when one person is absent, the whole world seems depopulated’’
Alphonse de Lamarting
‘‘The death of a beloved is an amputation’’
It is with these words of wisdom which capture eloquently and in great detail our inner feelings operating on our collective minds that we bid you farewell until that great divine reunion.