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Opinions of Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Columnist: Antobam, Kobena Eyiah

A Tribute to Hon Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo

By Kobena E. Antobam

Now praise we great and famous men,
The fathers named in story;
And praise the Lord, who now as then
Reveals in man His glory.

Praise we the wise and brave and strong,
Who graced their generation,
Who helped the right, and fought the wrong,
And made our folk a nation.

Will¬iam G. Tar¬rant (1853-1928).

Sir,
You have fought a good fight and demonstrated beyond any doubt as to how disputes in human society ought to be resolved. For a continent that is regarded by its detractors in public and private as lawless, uncivilised and unable to practise and uphold common decency, generations of Africans unborn will read about you and remain eternally grateful to you. The Lord God our Creator endows us with resources - material and intellect - to serve our fellow men and women, to his glory. You have demonstrated that beyond measure in the past eight months. I don’t know about the most famous goal you ever scored or tackle you ever made as a footballer or the best case you ever won in court as a lawyer. I am also not sure if you have grown any taller since your Academicals/Real Republicans days, but this must definitely make you feel taller!

My American, English, Indian and Chinese friends all say you should feel taller than you have ever been. They tell me that every Ghanaian should take pride in your achievement. In fact, it has actually rubbed off my humble self and I am grateful for that.

A quotation that I wrote as punishment in Form One, in Secondary school read, “A liberal education without the fundamental ideals of character training amounts to nothing.” You have shown character and a willingness to serve fellow man and God with humility, dignity and distinction. The dignified silence you and your colleagues maintained throughout the eight months of the process was simply amazing. That is true statesmanship! As my late grandmother (bless her soul) would say, “that is native wisdom.” (Ofie p??!!) Well done, you.

I have gone through the material that was put on the Internet and read through your team’s written address. Having recently done a scientific study in which I had to generate several copies of data and reports, I know what it must have cost you and your colleagues to do that many copies of the petition. I hope you believe that it has been worth the effort. I am going to try the data on a scientific model that I have built, completely different from elections though, and see how the data fits certain natural phenomena.

My wife who is “Old Abuscodian” says if you have any more resources to help Mother Ghana, it will be great if you could put some in a Diploma-awarding department at Abusco, for the study of Statistics and Information Technology, to teach young people how to gather and analyse agricultural, economic, medical, educational, environmental and even electoral data. Remote sensing and satellite data collection in particular, could help deal with farming, our vanishing water bodies, as well as helping to manage the devastating effects of artisanal mining, alias “galamsey,” that is almost certainly going to create a major food production and water supply disaster in Ghana in fifteen to twenty years.

Apart from the lessons about decent human behaviour, one great revelation the petition has provided is that out electoral system is very seriously flawed through a deliberate bastardisation by some unscrupulous elements in society and needs to be fixed immediately. If the Peace Council is really interested in the eternal peace of Ghana, this is the time to undertake a complete overhaul of the electoral system. Fortunately, the European Union has already indicated their willingness to help, another by-product of the petition. In fact it should not be too expensive, if it is done properly. The Mathematics department of one of the universities can be tasked to create the prototype in Sequel, Access or Excel, for discussion by a committee made up of the Council, the political parties and civil society groups.

It should not take more than three months to design something that can be tested by NUGS, the SRCs, teachers’, lecturers’ and TUC Unions over the next two years, for Election 2016. We cannot wait till 2016, to put together a hotch-potch collection of boxes and circles that is open to abuse and manipulation. The reformation has to begin with a credible voters’ register that does not require complete re-building every four years, but one that will only be updated continuously as young people attain the voting age. It will be much simpler to clean than to rebuild every time. The petition has been an eye opener. We cannot afford to gloss over issues, because next time it may not be an Akufu-Addo.

Sir, whatever you do for the rest of your life, let it include your memoirs. It will be a fascinating read – from sportsman, through the fight against tyranny under SMC, AFRC and PNDC, your presence at the United Nations General Assembly, all the way to 29th August 2013 and beyond – Mother Ghana will be eternally grateful!

Well done and may the Lord richly bless you and all those you care about.