Feature Article of Sunday, 19 September 2010
Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
The recent to-do at the Fetu festival in Cape Coast during which the paramount chief of the Oguaa Traditional Area formally invited and deliberately ignored the presence of the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, ought to give great cause for concern. For what is at stake here is far less of personal umbrage than the grossly ill-advised attempt by Osabarima Kwesi Atta II to unduly politicize the august institution of the monarchy and thus unpardonably bring the status of the latter into abject disrepute.
It is also hoped that the Cape Coast chieftain has not lost sight of the fact that he deliberately slighted a scion of one of the cardinal figures of Ghana’s monarchical system itself. And here, of course, the unmistakable allusion is to the institution and person of the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori-Panyin II (See “Why Did You Invite Nana Akufo-Addo?” Ghanaian Chronicle 9/8/10).
In the not-so-good-old-days, it goes without saying, that such act of epic affront could have brought Oguaaman and Okyeman to the brink of civic crisis. For as the First Vice-National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Fred Oware, passionately intimated, the grievousness of the situation inheres in the very fact of Osabarima Kwesi Atta’s having extended a personal invitation to the entourage of Nana Akufo-Addo. In standard protocol, the Oguaa ’Manhene, or traditional overlord, was obligated to accord the NPP presidential candidate the same courtesy or recognition accorded President John Evans Atta-Mills, who also happens to be a native of the area.
Three significant facts also ought to be highlighted on the preceding score. One, traditionally, the Danquah-Busia-Dombo Tradition has its ideological origins in the Central Region, dating from the 1947 founding of the seminal United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) at Saltpond. The other significant Fante settlement, or township, to the establishment and development of the UGCC is Mankessim. Cape Coast itself retains a pride of place, being that it was the revered likes of Messrs. Joseph Ephraim Casely-Hayford and Kobina Sakyi who ideologically mentored and tutored Dr. J. B. Danquah, the future Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics; and unless he is a usurper to the Oguaa paramountcy, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II could not have so flagrantly slighted a bona fide scion of the celebrated Big Six, or Founding Fathers of modern Ghana.
Two, historically speaking, no scion of the Ofori-Panyin Stool is a stranger to Fanteman, being also that the Saltpond township itself was founded by Akans of Okyeman heritage! If he did not already know this, then the Omanhene of Oguaa must be a very pathetic man indeed!
But that Osabarima Kwesi Atta II chose a National Democratic Congress party hack, called Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, to publicly embarrass Nana Akufo-Addo, shows how thoroughly politicized and abjectly decadent the Oguaahene has unwisely allowed his status and stature to degenerate. Indeed, were I in his place – God forbid! – I would either promptly abdicate my stool or at the barest minimum issue an unqualified apology to both Nana Akufo-Addo and the entire membership of the New Patriotic Party, as well as to the Okyenhene and the Ghana National House of Chiefs itself!
Needless to say, in conducting himself so ignobly, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II has also brought the very institution which he represents, as well as Fanteman itself, into abject disrepute. On the latter score, it is respectfully suggested that the Central Regional House of Chiefs appositely call an emergency session to deliberate on this epic faux-pas and issue a categorical statement either endorsing or dissociating itself from this abject misconduct of a key player of its august institution.
You see, like our Ghanaian Supreme Court, monarchical paramountcies are the last resort for resolving security-threatening grievances, as well as fostering societal cohesion and national development. This very much underscores our unreserved concurrence with Mr. P. C. Appiah-Ofori, the parliamentarian for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa and a native of the region, of course, that in deliberately inviting Nana Akufo-Addo to the Fetu festival in order to publicly humiliate him, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II and his close associates have disreputably conducted themselves. We would even go a step farther to suggest that, indeed, the Oguaamanhene has unwisely given ammunition to those inveterate critics who would have our august monarchical institution summarily liquidated.
At any rate, short of an unqualified apology, as already adumbrated, Osabarima Kwesi Atta must rest assured that come next year, God willing, he would be celebrating the Fetu festival without any conspicuous official representation from the New Patriotic Party. Of course, as stated earlier by Mr. Herbert Krapa, press secretary to Nana Akufo-Addo, the NPP and its presidential candidate make categorical distinction between the good citizens and people of Cape Coast and, indeed, Fanteman in general, on the one hand, and Osabarima Kwesi Atta II on the other.
And then third and finally, we must observe the painful fact that indefatigable and gloriously immortalized traditional rulers like Osagyefo Nana Ofori-Atta I should expend their precious energy and intellectual resources and time vigorously promoting the sanctity and dignity of the monarchical institution against Western imperialism, only to have smug and pathologically self-serving chieftains like Osabarima Kwesi Atta II bringing the same institution into abject disrepute.
May Tweaduampong protect us from ourselves and from each other. Animguase Mfata Okaniba! May God protect and preserve the dignity of our monarchy. And may God bless our homeland Ghana!
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and the author of 21 books, including “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Atumpan Publications/Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.