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Feature Article of Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Columnist: Mensah, Nana Akyea

Ghana and La Côte d'Ivoire To Shame ....

Okoampa & His Owners?*

By Nana Akyea Mensah, Feature Article |

The news, this Friday, 07 May 2010, Cote d'Ivoire Marks 50 Yrs, by Daily
Guide), which contains the hope that Ghana and La Côte d'Ivoire, our
immediate neighbour to the west, are doing everything possible to maintain
very cordial relations is most welcome indeed. Not long ago, it was even
feared that the two sister nations could be going to war over their dispute
over their sea-border which incidentally is rich with high-quality crude,
light and low in sulphur, easily processed into gasoline.. otherwise known
as the black gold. I thus read with a certain sense of pride in the
Africans' ability to reason for themselves and opt for peace and friendship
rather than conflicts and wars!

Not long ago, I read article after article, the dismal prognosis of the
"curse" of the oil on the peace and stability of the state. One such
pertinent point that kept me worried was raised by Mr Brown Guure:

"Reports that our western neighbour Ivory Coast is said to have laid claims
before the UN to portions of our oil find in the deep waters of the Western
Region is worrisome to every Ghanaian everywhere. That our government is now
rushing a bill through parliament to establish the Ghana Boundary Commission
to undertake negotiations with the Ivory Coast to determine and demarcate
Ghana's land boundaries and de-limit Ghana's maritime boundaries, even more
worrying. Indeed it is an intriguing paradox that given all the frenetic
activity of government, policy initiatives, draft bills and large-scale
symposiums and seminars on 'oil and gas' since mid 2007, the prospects of a
neighbour claiming parts of our continental shelf, and for that matter
securing the oil fields has never been considered. That government is
surprised by the Ivoirians' move is itself surprising therefore. This is a
classic failure by our intelligence services and like the Japanese attack on
the United States of America in 1941, this may well turn out to be our
'Pearl Harbour'" (See: "The Ivoirians' Claim: A Classic Case Of Intelligence
Failure.", by Guure, Brown, Ghanaweb Feature Article of Friday, 12 March
2010.)

So the news that, "As part of activities to commemorate 50 years of
independence of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, its embassy in Accra has
outlined a series of activities to mark the occasion." The story began and
added, "Some of the activities outlined include a flag-raising ceremony, a
joint Côte d'Ivoire/Ghana Industrial Trade Fair, a forum on sustainable
cocoa economy, investment conference as well as a musical concert where
international artistes from both countries would perform..." (See Cote
d'Ivoire Marks 50 Yrs, By Daily Guide - Daily Guide) is certainly welcome!

However, I definitely know a Ghanaian who is not happy for the simple reason
that all appears to be well between Ghana and La Côte d'Ivoire! I shall
allow Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., Associate Professor of English,
Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State
University of New York, Garden City, a Governing Board Member of the
Accra-based "STRICTLY" Danquah Institute ("S" DI), the "pathetically
pro-Western" unthinking tank, and the author of a series of crazy feature
articles and 21 of the most stupid books on Africa and about Africans since
Jacobus Capiteine (AD 1747), including “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Atumpan
Publications/Lulu.com, 2008), to speak for himself on such a delicate
matter.

Okoampa begins an article surreptitiously titled "Who Are These
“Parliamentarian Drivers”? with a shocker: "I am glad that, finally, the
Ivorians are beginning to assert their right of access and enjoyment of
Ghana's purportedly new-found oil wealth... It also didn't quite make a lot
of sense to me that an oil find that lay so dangerously close to Ghana's
border with Côte d'Ivoire would also have been so [godlessly] uncharitable
as to neatly parcel itself out for the exclusive benefit and enjoyment of
Ghanaians while the war-seasoned Ivorians continued to languish in penury."
- "Who Are These “Parliamentarian Drivers”? By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr.,
Ph.D., Feature Article of Tuesday, 16 March 2010.

Okoampa continues:
"What is also wickedly fascinating is the sudden fit of alarm that seems to
have gripped the hitherto light-headed Ghanaians. All of an auspicious
sudden, it is beginning to home-in to these soft-headed, happy-go-lucky and
good-natured “Niggers” that premature gloating over a pure gift of nature
may yet turn out to be too good to be true. It was also rather fitfully
amusing that some Ghanaians should already begin to be angrily chary of the
Ivorians; and, indeed, the irony of it all is that these “Angernistas” are
largely what one may aptly term as diehard “Nkrumacrats,” the fanatical
disciples of modern Ghana's first postcolonial premier. Dear reader, by now,
it ought to be obvious to you what “Sremu Sei Nana” (The King of the
Savannah's Grandson) is getting at. And, of course, it is the stark fact
that where “Black Gold” is concerned, pan-Africanism is only the dream of a
hopeless lunatic."

As I wrote in a previous article, "Okoampa continues by making demeaning
remarks about his fellow countrymen. To use such language indicates contempt
for Ghanaian men and women. Why would any Ghanaian who consider his
country's vital interests so dispensable, still present himself as a member
of a "Think Tank" and expect respect from his fellow Ghanaians? What does it
mean if this man presents Nana Akufo Addo as his favourite candidate, and
Akufo Addo approves of this association with him? Is Akufo Addo telling us
that the Danquah Institute "think tank" is fast becoming nothing but a nest
of politically virulent and toxic ideas contempt for the Ghanaian people?"
(See: Is It Not Time For Akuffo Addo To Distance Himself From The Danquah
Institute Altogether?).

In fact, I was taken aback so much so that I forgot about the author and
began to wonder and wander about what would make a fellow human being hate
his own people to such an extent that such a scenario of war with what he
calls "the war-seasoned Ivorians"? I read this thinly-veiled wish for a war
over oil between Ghana and the Ivory Coast over our precious black gold
several times, but I could not put my finger at the source of his anger and
hatred. Out of frustration, I turned out to his main US collaborator, a
self-appointed voice of "Black Conservatives" who faithfully transmits each
nonsense from Okoampa on his blog for Americans to consume, to see if they
at least, he offered any explanations to this strange behaviour. I was not
disappointed. The answer was in the introductory sentence:

"Oil Reserves Have Been Discovered Offshore In Ghana. What Next? Bookerista
Perspectives

The Ivory Coast is claiming a portion of Ghana's offshore oil region. The
center-right board member of the Danquah Institute (Ghana) and English
professor in USA is glad that the Ivory Coast is making a claim because it
undermines the Ghanaian center-left's claims of Pan-Africanism: "I am glad
that, finally, the Ivorians are beginning to assert their right of access
and enjoyment of Ghana's purportedly new-found oil wealth. Perusing
[center-left] President John Mills' second and latest 'State of the Nation
Address' the other day, I couldn't help but wonder aloud why Ghanaians seem
to be so morbidly afflicted with this kind of hysteria whereby the mere
announcement of a potential windfall is deafeningly celebrated even while
such 'natural' largesse squarely remains on the prospector's drawing
board..." (emphasis mine, of course). (Source: see: Bookerising.net, news
site for black moderates and black conservatives.)

I have already dealt with him squarely in a separate article, so I shall now
focus my attention on helping to consolidate the peace that is now reigning
between Ghana and La Côte d'Ivoire. The second part of the article is
therefore to ask both governments to focus more on the substance than the
form. We need a clear border agreement, which we still do not have. As a
South African friend of mine once said: "Trust is good, but control is
necessary!" I do not see much use of these pomp and pageantry which
dissipate into petty squabbles that only make our enemies happy. We must not
forget that before the La Côte d'Ivoire fêted the U-20 Black Satellites,
with a flamboyant presidential reception at the Ivorian capital for winning
the World Cup to harness positive public opinion before they petitioned the
United Nations to intervene without even any attempt to first sort it out as
brothers and sisters among ourselves first and foremost and in a most
amicable of manners possible.

I salute President Atta-Mills for his diplomatic dexterity to steer our
Ivorian friends into a negotiating table to settle this question once and
for all. We must not forget that the Ivorians could have done that in the
first place, rather than going straight to the United Nations. My own bad
experience from the other funfair and nightmarish dreams of all hell
breaking loose at our western frontiers just because of oil and the stupid
laughter of Kwame Okoampa in the background makes me leave no stone unturned
here in my search for a peaceful, durable, clear, just, stable and friendly
frontier with our Ivorian neighbours. If they are really serious, I would
like to see the final agreement to seal a real deal of friendship, peace and
love between brothers and sisters.

La Côte d'Ivoire is celebrating the golden jubilee come August 7th, 2010.
This is Friday the seventh day of May. We have exactly three good months
ahead of us to seal a deal before the celebrations begin! I want to see all
this political goodwill expressed clearly and transparently in a deal within
these three months! Whilst all well-meaning Ivorians and Ghanaians must join
in this spirit of camaraderie we must all insist on concrete issues before
the fanfares, and no dilly-dallying to fob off our disgrace with a tale! O
sons and daughters of Africa, Arise for PEACE!!! What is wrong with the
intentions of the Pan-Africanists? Listen to Nkrumah here and judge for
yourself, dear reader:

“We in Africa who are pressing now for unity are deeply conscious of the
validity of our purpose. We need the strength of our combined numbers and
resources to protect ourselves from the very positive dangers of returning
to colonialism in disguised forms. We need it to combat the entrenched
forces dividing our continent and still holding back millions of our
brothers. We need it to secure total African liberation. We need it to carry
forward our construction of a socio-economic system that will support the
great mass of our steadily rising population at levels of life which will
compare with those in the most advanced countries” - Kwame Nkrumah, "Africa
Must Unite!", 1960.

Forward Ever! Backwards Never!!! Cheers! – Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro
*
(For further information and follow-ups, I invite the interested reader to
my blog. I tweet some of my comments on facebook and on twitter. If you
agree or disagree with me, you may follow my thinking and reactions in a
more comprehensive manner by coming to theodikro.blogspot.com. I keep most
of my comments in one place.

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