Feature Article of Saturday, 26 May 2012
Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
A couple of days ago, I came across an article that presumed to impugn the integrity of the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), by paradoxically claiming that while each and every resident of the Accra-Central district of Nima (Nima is not a “suburb,” by the way) knew the fact of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s being a fellow resident, nevertheless, the former Attorney-General was so alienated from his own community that he actually detested the people of the predominantly Muslim community of Nima.
And Akufo-Addo’s crime, we were told by the Afropean writer of the aforesaid article, was that he ought to make a habit of waking up every morning and standing on street corners and marketplaces salaaming his fellow residents like a doormat. I suppose the writer then quickly came to the realization that what Nima-ites, or Nimians, actually need is a significant quality-of-life improvement; and so, Ms. Afropean started gabbing about how President John Evans Atta-Mills was in the process of converting “the Nima Clinic[,] which has outlived its usefulness[,] into a full-fledged Millennium City Hospital at the cost of 10 million dollars.”
Maybe the writer thought that she was actually addressing a bunch of flukes or idiots; for what is $10 million beyond the mere erection of a couple of physical structures housing the same? In other words, if the writer had any remarkable idea of how much it costs to equip a standard, medium-sized hospital with a hundred beds, for example, she would not have so vacuously “written home” about the same.
The fact of the matter is that it can be nothing short of culpable disgrace for a president who recklessly lines the pocket of one man with $52 million of the public dole/dough, to be bragging about building a $10 million hospital for the people of Nima. And by the way, what also amused the present writer was the fact that the Atta-Mills propagandist had conveniently forgotten to remind her audience that for some two long decades, my good, old Uncle Tarkwa-Atta both slavishly followed and partnered Togbui Avaklasu I as the duo supervised the total neglect and virtual collapse of the very Nima Clinic which has now fallen into abject desuetude.
The writer also cynically talks about President Mills’ having turned the Maamobi Clinic into a hospital, at the same time that the country’s flagship medical center, the Guggisberg-built Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (in whose Fevers Unit the present writer spent a remarkable period of his childhood), has been godlessly reduced to a veritable graveyard. Maybe this is what, in the feverish imagination of NDC propagandists like the aforementioned Afropean writer, it means for the Mills-Mahama government to vaunt of having reduced inflationary figures to single digits.
The fact of the matter is that under the Mills-Mahama government, at the very best, what Ghanaians have experienced is a virtual standstill of our socioeconomic and cultural development. And when she gushes about the verifiable historical fact of the slain Gen. I. K. Acheampong having architecturally authored the Nima Highway, one also wishes that the writer had been honest, bold and courageous enough to have also acknowledged the equally verifiable and horrible historical fact that it was, indeed, the Rawlings-led Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), the direct ideological and administrative parent of the Provisional/National Democratic Congress (P/NDC) that generously rewarded Uncle Kutu, for having so foresightedly constructed the Nima Highway, with summary execution by firing squad at the Teshie Military Range!
And so, I guess, the dear reader fully appreciates the sort of NDC clinical lunacy that I am driving at. Indeed, what most levelheaded Ghanaians crave to know is precisely how many sustainable long-term projects the Mills-Mahama government has created, for our Afropean propagandist to be gushing about “writing home” to retail the same, and thus credibly impugn the highly innovative Akufo-Addo Zongo Development Plan. And then also, just exactly how many Nima-resident Muslims would be employed as “essential staff” at the so-called Millennium City Hospital?
The fact that the writer is gapingly silent on the NDC track-record on educational development in Nima, Accra, and all the other Nimas dotted across the country, ought to give her readers a moral second-take or sit-up.
It is also quite interesting that Ms. Afropean would so self-righteously accuse Nana Akufo-Addo’s Accra-native wife of flatly refusing to grocery shop at the Nima market. Does Mrs. Mills regularly grocery shop at the Nima market? (Now that is something worth writing home about!) Needless to say, exactly how the writer came by such poppycock is anybody’s good guess. Then again, would Ms. Afropean also confidently claim to know her way about the Accra metropolis far better than a daughter of the soil? Go figure!
*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 Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Sounds of Sirens: Essays in African Politics and Culture”(iUniverse.com, 2004). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.