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Opinions of Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Must it be all about money devoid of principles, Gina Blay?

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

The caption of this column is actually my first written-down gut reaction to the news articles titled “I Am Not NPP – Gina Blay” Starrfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 10/5/16) and “‘NPP Unhappy with Mahama Ads in Daily Guide’ – Gina Blay” Starrfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 10/5/16), but it was not the one that I intended to use as a caption for the same.

The caption for this column was going to be as follows: “We All Know Gina Blay Is a Dyed-in-the-Wool Trokosi Nationalist, So What Is Really New Here?” but I quickly decided that such a title would be too politically loaded, erroneously preemptive of the contents of my column and, perhaps, even counterproductive to the conciliatory cause in which the country’s main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has been vigorously and healthily engaged.

But, of course, we ought to also take into account the fact that the brick-and-mortar of the newspaper business are dollars and cents, or if you would in local Ghanaian parlance, cedis and pesewas.

To a business-savvy personality like Mrs. Gina Blay, dollars and cents or cedis and pesewas and all, problem with her decision to publish some advertisements in her Daily Guide newspaper, extolling and promoting the virtually nonexistent achievements of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government clearly, in the opinion of many an ardent supporter of the New Patriotic Party, has to do with timing.

For as the wife of Mr. Freddie Blay, Acting Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), such publication, coming as it does, sends the wrong message to the Ghanaian electorate at large, but in particular staunch supporters and sympathizers of the New Patriotic Party, as well as the so-called swing voters or voters who have yet to make up their minds about which presidential candidate and/or political party to afford their mandate.

The fact that Mrs. Blay, the woman who manages the day-to-day affairs of the Daily Guide, a newspaper whose lead operatives and/or proprietors have been victimized by NDC apparatchiks in the recent past, now says that she is not a bona fide member of the New Patriotic Party; and that she decided to become a sympathizer of the latter party primarily because of her husband’s prominent role in the NPP is decidedly disconcerting but not in any way surprising.

Furthermore, Mrs. Blay who is the CEO of Western Publications Limited, the parent company of the Daily Guide, would have both critics and supporters of her decision to staunchly back the Mahama Campaign in the homestretch lead-up to Election 2016 that she is first and foremost a hardnosed businesswoman to whom moral and political principles belong to the proverbial back burner.

In brief, for Mrs. Blay, the Daily Guide is all about the bottom-line or cedis and pesewas. The rest, as they say, is sheer décor, make-believe or complete pretense. But there is still a big problem here, because the Acting Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Mr. Freddie Blay, is also the Chairman and de facto and de jure proprietor of the Daily Guide, if all our gleanings from the media, including the Blay paper, have credibility.

And so it is quite clear that at some point in the near future, Uncle Freddie may very well have to come public to clarify a few, albeit significant, misgivings that quite a slew of us may have regarding his wife’s eleventh-hour smack in the face of her own beloved husband’s pet political organization.

For instance, is it sheer greed or caprice that might have prompted him to apparently go along with his proverbial better-half’s decision to use their widely known pro-NPP rag to promote the interests of his main political and ideological opponents, to wit, President Mahama and the National Democratic Congress, or it is just a question of a hitherto well-camouflaged Vidkun Quislings perennially ensconced in the proverbial woodwork who have now decided to show their true colors with barely 8 weeks to Election 2016?

Or it is simply the uneasy acquiescence of a dyed-in-the-wool Trokosi nationalist wife that appears to have overstretched to its utmost limits and has therefore naturally begun to fall apart? (My profuse apologies to the immortalized Professor Chinua Achebe).

There may well, of course, be other reasons to which most of us far-off observers may not be privy to and may not even really need to become privy to, if only because such reasons may be all too clear to those among the top-hierarchy membership of the New Patriotic Party who may already be in the know.

Indeed, in a widely reported interview granted Bola Ray, the popular radio talk-show host, Mrs. Blay was alleged to have said that the Daily Guide’s drift towards the New Patriotic Party had been purely commercial and one that was primarily dictated by the fact that as originally a sports newspaper, the Daily Guide had regularly garnered more sales at the newsstand from supporters and fans of Ghana’s Champion Club, Kumasi Asante Kotoko than the fans of any other major soccer club in the country, thus prompting the owners of the Daily Guide to logically move along the proverbial money trail by featuring more Asante Kotoko stories on its pages.

Mrs. Blay did not, of course, say what follows next, but it clearly appears that with Porcupine Warriors’ fans being overwhelmingly New Patriotic Party-leaning in political orientation, it was all too logical for the Daily Guide to also follow to where the hearts and minds of its commercial sponsors went.

It is not clear, however, whether the preceding trend has anything to do with Mr. Blay’s landmark decision to switch loyalties from his original support for and parliamentary representation of the rump-Convention People’s Party (r-CPP) to his very public declaration of loyalty for the Danquah-Busia-Dombo-influenced New Patriotic Party, on the quite plausible grounds that the Blay Clan had always been with the oldest school of the pioneers of modern Ghanaian democracy, the true and original social democrats until the kleptocratic machine operatives of the Rawlings-minted National Democratic Congress decided to corrupt and opportunistically cannibalize the term.

It also interesting to both recall and highlight the fact that in stating the laudable fact that at best she was a mere sympathizer of the New Patriotic Party, primarily because her husband, Mr. Blay, a prominent executive member of the party, Mrs. Blay also found it both significant and necessary to highlight the fact that nearly everyone else in her family was a staunch member of the New Patriotic Party.

Ours may not be the best of worlds, but I find it still worthwhile to underscore the fact that Mrs. Blay is an ethnic-Ewe woman who may very well have been profoundly influenced by the Rawlings-Tsikata Anti-Akan Revolution between 1979 and 1992 and, some may even argue, that the stormy winds of the Rawlings-Tsikata Revolution continue to rage and wreak havoc on Ghana’s political landscape.

In sum, while it may not be altogether true that the CEO of the Daily Guide may well be smack-dab in the pay of the key operatives of the National Democratic Congress, the stark fact still remains that nothing happens in a vacuum. To wit, there is absolutely no smoke without fire.

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