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Feature Article of Monday, 13 February 2012

Columnist: Hamza, Sayibu

Alfred Agbesi Woyome- A Philantropist Or A Villain?

I have followed with mixed feelings since the outbreak of what has become known as the “WOYOME JUDGEMENT DEBT AFFAIR” in the Ghanaian media. After a careful analysis of the twist and turns of the judgement debt saga, I have for the first time decided to put my views in public in a form of an article which I seldom do and I am sure that Dr. Newman of the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) will be more than amazed to read my article on such a national issue because he has always penalized me for my failure almost all the time to put my thoughts on paper.

Today, I have decided to put my thoughts on paper as my own little way of paying respect to H.E. Consul Alfred Agbesi Woyome , the man at the centre of the ‘’WOYOME JUDGEMENT DEBT AFFAIR’’. I have decided on this because my conscience can no longer bear my deafening silence on the rather philanthropist and overwhelming inspiration of a man I met for the first time in February 2011, H.E. Consul Woyome. It is therefore my wish that this piece of article will communicate rather humanely to all well-meaning Ghanaians who today see MrWoyome as a villain, criminal or better still a conman! It is however not my intention to impose my personal experiences with the man on you, but to at least provide a reasonable grounds for a fair trial in both the public opinion courts and our law courts.

I first met Mr Woyome two months after my rather belated election as president of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) December 2011. This meeting was occasioned after all my attempts to get funding for our activities as a union proved futile and as a younger brother to Alhassan Suhuyini my executives expected so much from me, perhaps they had no idea of the challenges We(my brother and i) faced in trying to raise funds to contest as president of the UNION earlier on. When it appeared as if all hope was lost I ran into a man who decided to introduce me to MrWoyome. And trust me after my first encounter with MrWoyome he solved almost all our problems and also decided to educate us more on the principles and ideals of the NDC as a way of wooing support for the ruling party. I must also add that there has never been a day when we visited Mr Woyome without NDC loyalist and footsoldiers packed at his reception just to get audience with him. I also remember vividly after I handed over, how he immediately through me secured air tickets forboth sides of the rivalry Andani youth in Dagbon who issued press statements threatening the president if he fails to find the killers of the late yaa naa, to come to Accra. In the meeting he succeeded in convincing both parties to calm them in the supreme interest of the Andani family and the ruling NDC. One statement that struck me most was when he said that ‘’in the NDC we don’t vote for people to come to power but we vote ourselves to power” and continued that ‘’that explains why footsoldiers can chase DCE’S and ministers out of their offices because the power belong to them, so a vote against president mills is a vote against yourself’’. In short, MrWoyome is an uncompromising member of the NDC and an unquestionable philanthropist

FONKAR, GAMES AND SUNYANI CONGRESS

I followed MrWoyome cautiously in the run up to the sunyani congress, taking account of most of his utterances and most importantly his stance on the president mills and konadu contest. I can say without any fear of contradiction that MrWoyome was a diehard supporter of the mills bid but however abhorred all negative comments against the Rawlings’. This explains why he also didn’t take kindly to public statements of KofiAdams because in his view KofiAdams by his comments exposed the Rawlings’ to public ridicule and attack. At a point I mustered courage to ask Mr woyome his candid view on the position of the rawlings’ since he almost all the time appeared disorganised when news items appeared unfavourable to the rawlings’ and he responded “ I am a rawlings’ and I owe them everything in life. We as a nation can never pay the rawlings’ for their services to the country, but the least we can do for them is to pray for them in these trying times but not to attack them…..these are trying times for the rawlings and it’s time for us to reciprocate’’. As if that was not enough, he continued “I have sworn the oath of the living dead, so at any point in time I can becalled, I am engaged in a fight that temporally consumed the integrity of our founder (Rawlings) and his wife of which we were all part but with different motives. Our party is besieged, but never lose hope cos you the youth represent my hope for a better NDC tomorrow. Please let that be your greatest respect to me if am consumed too in the process!”……but for now I will sacrifice anything for president mills to have a second term.”. Whatever that means, I can’t tell.

RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOTSOLDIERS

Anybody close to Mr woyome will attest to the fact that Mr woyome dedicated most of his time to listening to and addressing the concerns of footsoldiers with the belief that since ministers are busy and most of the so called party bigwigs didn’t have much time to listen to footsoldiers he decided to fill in the void. MrWoyome on daily basis was inundated with demands from party foot soldiers and functionaries. And I am glad to say that he delivered to his limit, if ever there was. His piercing influence at the grass roots level can never be under estimated. It is my hope that the NDC pay heed to the hmmmmm! Cries of the silent majority with regard to how MrWoyome is been treated today.

INTERGRITY OF PRESIDENT MILLS AND ELECTIONS

I have listened to a number of people who in my opinion hold the mistaken belief that president mills will win this election based on his integrity. In as much as I respect the views of these people, it however breaks my heart to the very core to the extent that these people are ready to sacrifice anything including the NDC as a party to realise this problematic objective. They ought to be reminded that with or without president mills the NDC has an absolute support base of approximately 44percent and these their problematic cause to sacrifice people and the NDC party for the integrity of the president can cause disaffection among this 44percent support which undoubtedly will cause the NDC and mills the 2012 election. This is also problematic because I get the impression that it is president mills thatmatter, if so, and then what happens to the NDC after president mills? Or perhaps we will have to look for another God sent mills to lead us to victory?. This is intellectual hypocrisy of the highest order considering the fact that these same voices were those calling for the so called taming of the Rawlings’ to make the party formidable even after their dearth. Why are we now strangely trying to make mills more attractive and powerful than the NDC? H.E. Consul Alfred Agbesi Woyome, I may not have the power, money, influence or better still legal brain to get you out of this unfortunate web of fraternity creation but what I do know for sure is that the 99 people and above you send to mecca every year, the churches you have helped, the brilliant but needy students you have been looking after some of whom are now in the law school in Ghana and Abroad and other areas of education, the numerous party foot soldiers you have helped establish in business, families you virtually take care off and the numerous beneficiaries of the Sogakope, Begoro and Gushiegu hospitals are with you in my prayers. It is my belief that one of these numerous good works of yours will facilitate your process of exoneration and image redemption! Your Excellency, I never met a true philanthropist and I am forever proud of my association with you. You were there for me when I needed it the most and I have vowed to the high heavens to reciprocate that rare gesture even if the whole world turn its back on you. You are my HEROE!

Source: Sayibu Hamza Former NUGS President

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