Feature Article of Monday, 8 October 2012
Columnist: Yeboah, Kwame
The name Addo Dankwa Akuffo- Addo carries enormous significance in the Ghanaian body- politic. For the non Ghanaian reading this article, the name is deeply connected to a member of the iconic ‘Big Six’ and a former president of Ghana. Expectedly, anybody born into such a family finds himself in a highly privileged position. One of such lucky persons is Mr. Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo- Addo. By all standards, Akuffo Addo has lived a life many Ghanaian men can only dream of. Born into an elite political family, young Akuffo never lacked any of the luxuries of life. Whiles he cruised in the latest BMW in his campus days at legon, his school mates like Dr. Mahama of the PNC was thinking about the next trick with which to outwit the ‘trotro’ mate. Whiles he bothered about how to finish his pocket money, his compatriots were demonstrating on the streets for an increase in the student loan. Unlike many rich kids who drop out of school, Mr. Akuffo Addo managed to graduate successfully from the University of Ghana, albeit with ‘a gentleman’s pass’.
Life after the university has been equally good. A successful lawyer, an astute businessman, a prominent politician and a loving family man. What else could any man ask for? These should be enough to make any man fulfilled? Well not exactly for Mr. Akuffo Addo. Who can blame him, like they say, ‘short men have to jump if they have to be seen’. At 68, poor Akuffo Addo is still chasing an unfulfilled dream. His admirers hail him as ambitious, his detractors think he is chasing an unattainable dream. The neutrals can’t help but feel sorry for him. He himself believes it’s not a dream but a calling to serve his people.
At 60, most people are retired and either enjoying the fruits of their industrious young life or suffering the brunt of their profligate youthful escapades. At 65, Prof Mills was already president and busily pursuing his better Ghana agenda to offset his judgment debts. At 65, Mr. Rawlings is long retired as president and concentrating his efforts on spanking the ‘babies with hard teeth’ and ostracizing the ‘old evil dwarfs’ from his beloved NDC. At 68, Mr. Kuffour was in the twilight of his presidency, looking ‘sexy’ as always and thinking about retirement life with his twins in the USA and his kids in Ghana.
At 68, Mr. Akuffo Addo is having a rather unique experience- he is still running around cities, palaces, zongos, beer bars, ghettos and political rallies trying to sell his ‘free SHS’ policy. At 68, Akuffo Addo is forced to board ‘trotros’, drink ‘pure water’, board canoes, eat kenkey and fish at the ‘kotokoraba market’ and even abandon his vintage ‘Pan-African’ eyeglasses, all in an attempt to accomplish his dream.
In Africa where old age is synonymous with wisdom, people at 68 are revered for their wisdom and dignity. Not the same for good old Akuffo Addo. People, young enough to be his grand children have had course to insult him, question his sense of judgment, morality, and even to a large extent his sanity. What else can you expect when your neighbor’s children have teeth so sharp even their own father is scared of their invectives?
At his age, when most of his mates are content with reading newspapers and writing letters to their family and friends, Akuffo Addo is expected to walk around with a computer tablet, have an account on Facebook and Twitter lest he is accused of not being in touch with the youth. At 68, when his mates are peacefully smoking their tobacco in their gardens, Akuffo Addo has been forced to ‘smoke’ ‘wee’ by his political foes.
So how far will a man go to achieve his dream? For Akuffo Addo the answer is, very far. Like a young man craves for a new toy, so does Mr. Akuffo Addo crave for the Presidency. The only problem however is that, his life long dream could come to a miserable end in two months time, leaving him with very little but a bunch of nagging questions to ask his ancestors and God when he finally visits the ‘all-die-be-die’ park. There is nothing wrong with dreaming, but it must be really difficult when your dream hinges on the results of an unpredictable ‘African’ election. And even more difficult when a seemingly easy to beat opponent, is unceremoniously disqualified by our maker. Only to be replaced by a man who lays claim to the attributes you lack- tall, young, handsome, lady’s man and off course an appreciable amount of hair on his head.
When we go to the polls to vote in December, we should all remember that we are not only voting for ‘free SHS’ or ‘Better Ghana Agenda 2’, but also, we are voting to help a man realize a life long dream. We all know what happens when you deny your kids of their dream toy? We don’t want that to happen to good old Akuffo Addo. He has been around long enough; let’s respect the hopes and dreams of the elderly. If the worse should happen in December, Nana can take solace in the words of C.S. Lewis….. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”. Maybe one day he will have the opportunity to be a member of the council of elders.
BY: Kwame Yeboah