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Opinions of Monday, 7 November 2016

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Dele Momodu needs to learn about Ghanaian exceptionalism

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

I have been following the recent rants of the Ghana-resident Nigerian publisher of the so-called Ovation Magazine ever since I became aware of Mr. Dele Momodu and his coffee-table tabloid a couple of months ago. Fundamentally speaking, I have absolutely no problem, whatsoever, with either the publisher’s editorial decisions or whom he decides to feature or publicize in his magazine. What I resent to the highest degree, however, is this idea that, somehow, Ghanaians are too hard or difficult to please. If, indeed, we are too difficult to please, this is only because on average Ghanaians have remarkably higher leadership expectations than most of our neighbors on the proverbial primeval continent. We are therefore not the least bit amused when Mr. Momodu makes such at once frivolous and irritating remarks as Ghana’s being the envy of most of the other countries on the African continent. We are not amused because since the reassertion of our sovereignty from British colonial rule in 1957, actually well before the latter historic milestone, we have always set our sights on enviably ranking ourselves among the best and the brightest around the globe.

Thus, we find it to be nothing short of the inexcusably insulting when Mr. Momodu presumes to make us feel proud and comfortable with ourselves by comparing us with countries at the bottom-most rungs of the global development index (See “Other African Countries Envious of Mahama’s Achievements – Dele Momodu” / 10/25/16).

Well, I have never set sight on the Ovation Magazine, and so I cannot attest to the credibility of its contents vis-à-vis its coverage of recent sociopolitical and cultural developments in Ghana. Largely, my writings and comments have focused on some remarks attributed to the Nigerian magazine publisher about the purportedly yeomanly achievements of some Ghanaian political figures which Mr. Momodu clearly appears to believe Ghanaians are either simply too blind or daft to fully appreciate. The fact of the matter is that if our expectations appear to be far and away in advance of those of our Nigerian neighbors like the Ovation Magazine publisher, this is fundamentally because with the glaring exceptions of former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings, John Dramani Mahama, soon to be former, and to a lesser extent John Evans Atta-Mills, late, Ghanaians have had the privilege of being governed by some of the best and brightest of the leadership of both the African continent and the global community at large.

Which, of course, is not to say that these leaders – among them President Kwame Nkrumah, Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia, President Hilla (Babini) Limann, and John Agyekum-Kufuor – have not been without their fair share of human foibles and ideological and managerial policy blunders.

The Ovation Magazine editor also laments bitterly that he was never called names when he pictorially profiled former President Kufuor and late Vice-President Aliu Mahama. It ought to be obvious to Mr. Momodu that he had captured the widespread approval of the Ghanaian public with the publication of the profiles and achievements of the preceding two of their leaders because nearly every attentive and well-meaning Ghanaian citizen who has followed political developments in the country over the last two decades is unreservedly agreed on the fact that Messrs. Kufuor and Aliu Mahama have been unique among the leadership pack of Ghana’s Fourth Republic.

In short, if he is not being accorded the same level of approval with the publication of his pictorial profiling of President Mahama and Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, this is obviously because most Ghanaian readers and subscribers of Ovation Magazine are convinced that Mr. Momodu has lost track of the kind of savvy editorial judgment that had previously endeared the magazine and its publisher to their hearts and minds.

But even more significantly, if Mr. Momodu is going to keep making such at once extravagant and scandalous claims as President Mahama’s having massively developed Ghana to an extent which Mrs. Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, the U.S. Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nominee, can only dream about, then, of course, it goes without saying that the publisher of Ovation Magazine is obligated to cite concrete examples to back up his claims. He cannot simply assume that just because he commits anything to print automatically makes it worthwhile and credible to the average Ghanaian citizen.

Well, he may be forgiven for apparently not knowing this, but Ghanaians are globally acclaimed to be among the most sophisticated and critically thinking readers. And that is until very recently, when Chairman Jerry John Rawlings and his Abongo Boys decided to take Ghanaian public education down to the dogs. Even so, Mr. Momodu must rest assured that there is still a critical mass of well-educated and critically thinking Ghanaians over whose eyes he cannot facilely presume to pull the proverbial wool.

*Visit my blog at: Ghanaffairs

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