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Feature Article of Thursday, 13 September 2012

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

RE: Political Leadership Has No Place for Small Minds- Akufo-Addo

Either Akufo Addo is incurably ethnically inclined or has a tendency to shoot himself in the foot when there is no need for it. One would assume that a presidential candidate seeking to garner majority vote, and build consensus, will cease and desist from disinterring skeletons and funning the flames of carefully camouflaged ethic dog whistle politics that continue to wedge major political factions in Ghana. Shamelessly, Nana Addo continues to resurrect the bitter past and is parsimonious with the truth!! It is obvious that Nana Addo’s world view is circumscribed by partisan proclivities and ethic jingoism.

Speaking about one of the most controversial and divisive political terrorist the Gold Coast and Ghana has known, “big mind” Akufo Addo surmised that; when faced with a huge national challenge, a politician needs a broad imaginative mind to finger solutions through strategic and imaginative approaches. In effect, small minds need not apply! Talk about high fat low nutrition drivel! What problem did Baffour Akoto face and how imaginative and strategic did he in solve the problem(s)? Nkrumah at that time was the legitimate and constitutionally elected leader of the country. Our constitution, with the approval of the British, supported and espoused a unitary state. Unitary States, by design, do have a strong center. In the case of Ghana, a case can be made for a unitary state for two key reasons. The first is that as a new state, there was a need to unite all the tribal factions under one strong umbrella. Secondly, Ghana lacked political maturity at that time to run a federal multi-tribal state. Strong tribal nationalism, nursed in participating states under a federal system, will likely not work. I am sure there are other valid reasons as well.

I think it should be clearly stated that Baffour Akoto’s opposition to Ghana as a Unitary State was purely based on sectional and parochial calculations. It was for purely selfish reasons and deep seated hatred for President Nkrumah. It was more about keeping cocoa proceeds to the Asanteman and the lords that run it and avenging political defeat for the UP, than it was, sincerely craving a vibrant federal system that works for Ghana. You see, first and foremost, Baffour Akoto was nothing but a mouth piece for the then Asantehene who could not publicly say the very things that he and his phalanx were nudging the haughty Akoto to say. Secondly, there is nothing bold, imaginative and strategic about using terrorism to solve national problems. Keep in mind that “all leaders are actual or potential power holders, but not all power holders are leaders”—B. Kellerman. Even if you grant Mr. Akoto’s reasons for opposing Nkrumah, it still does not make sense to bomb school children, plot to kill the president and champion tribal politics. Akufo Addo, as Attorney General, signed documents to harass Gbevlo Lartey because he was a political risk to NPP rule. Yet when Nkrumah adopted strategies to quiet terrorist like Baffour Akoto, here comes the “big mind” Akufo Addo hailing the perpetrator and vilifying the villain.

What galls me is this: For 8years, Akufo Addo worked hand in hand with Kufour to run rampant in Ghana. They told us to shut up while they looted and mismanaged the country. Four years later, Nana Addo is back waxing poetic about leadership. If Nana is such a fantastic and “big mind” leader, why didn’t he excel under Kufour? What did he do under Kufour to prove that he is a “big mind”? What imaginative and strategic approaches can he boast of while in office? The AG’s office or Ministry of foreign affairs, areas where he was made head, are all fertile grounds for serious and radical changes. What did Nana Addo do to show that he is visionary and strategic? Talk about all hat but no cattle! Absolutely nothing! Instead, we saw the fumbling and tumbling that he gladly touts! He went with the status quo and took care of his people by freeing drug dealers and family members. What happened to the Dzorwulu 3 that were arrested at Ghana’s national airport (I refuse to call it Kotoka Airport)? The bottom-line is that when given the opportunity to lead, Nana Addo never led. This is a man who told Mills to lead so he could follow and now he is back telling us that he is the “big mind” we really need. Haba! A look at his platform shows a warming of ideas that we’ve known for years! Free education in Ghana, for example, is Nkrumah idea! Come again Nana!

So let’s see if Nana Addo is really a “big mind”. Is decentralization under a unitary system of government the same as federalism? The answer is absolutely not! So where then does Mr. “big mind” Nana Addo get off by telling us that the current effort to devolve powers to local areas in Ghana is the same as the self serving federal system that Baffour Akoto the terrorist, and that is what he was, was advocating? The presidential candidate is fibbing with a straight face and must be called on it. To call this a vindication of Baffour Akoto’s dream or vision is to either misunderstand political science or patently mislead the uninitiated. The inclination that leads to formation and distribution of powers in a federal system is surely not the same as devolution of powers to local nerve centers in a unitary system. If “big mind” Nana Addo cannot tell the nuanced difference then he might be big mind on misinformation and miseducation not imagination and strategy.

It is quite interesting to observe the offsprings of the NLM movement touting free education for all as a way to fight poverty. Isn’t it interesting that this is the very idea that they crucified and illegally removed Nkrumah from office for? These NLM goons claimed Nkrumah was a socialist and that free education is an idea that “big minds” cannot tolerate. My Gawd! Yet even as I write, free education is a vibrant aspect of American life. Kids from Grade1-Grade12 are bused to school every day and provided free education. Even those who can’t buy food are fed free of charge. Why couldn’t the NLM/NLC/UP/PP/NPP folks understand this simple nation building idea? Why couldn’t they understand that the social cost of not educating a kid far more outweighs the cost of dealing with a deviant or social misfit. Can anyone understand why crime among the youth in Ghana is escalating? Imagine Ghana’s progress if we didn’t suffer the setback of having these terrorists and quislings overthrow a legitimate government. Small minds destroy and big minds construct! Got it Nana?

When the NLC, formed by the Matemeho goons with the support of the CIA, overthrew Nkrumah in February, 1966, guess what they did? Free schooling was abolished by the NLC. Parents were told to pay school fees and buy textbooks. New schools were stopped and many schools, new and old, were sold to UP/PP/NPP/NLM goons. It is reported that two big new secondary schools in the Volta region for example, were discontinued. The editorial in the Ghanaian times of 15th June 1966, reports rampant “Secondary School Riotings”. Is this mess what passes as “big minds” to Nana Addo? Frankly, this is the kind of small mind rubbish that has set Ghana back for years. It is one thing to remove a leader mindlessly and another to stop progress that benefits a nation. Small minds always view every issue from a parochial/sectional and obviously myopic point of view. It is this kind of crab mentality that governs the tradition for which Baffour Akoto is now the proud poster boy. We must not be fooled by this narcissist revisionism of history. Imagine how much progress we would have made if free education was continued in our nation’s interest. Now here come Nana Addo selling us the very idea they, “big minds”, refused to start with. Tweah-kai!

I end by saying, buyer be careful. These so-called modern political evangelists, preaching revisionist history and selling misinterpretations couched in tall tales must be rejected. The very ideas that these small minds rejected, they now tout as holy gospel. At least admitting that they were wrong could be a good start. Glorifying the naysayers is wrong. Massaging the facts and fibbing, tells us that they haven’t changed and therefore cannot be trusted. I can’t for the life of me believe that in this day and age, a presidential candidate will have the balls to glorify a hardcore terrorist. Ghanaians must read in between the lines and reject the politics of division, hate and shallow mindedness. Who really is a small mind Nana Addo? I know the answer and I am telling for sure telling!!!

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman (Widely hailed as the double edge sword) I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it is hell---Harry Truman

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