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Opinions of Saturday, 7 August 2010

Columnist: Abugri, George Sydney

A hot bet on the Nana-Alan fight:

…The running story of our great trek to paradise

By George Sydney Abugri

A bit of political history never killed anyone, Jomo, but I must warn you to hang on really tight for a bumpy ride, as my prose gets rather unwieldy somewhat, when I have to comment on sensitive matters of the past.

When my old man died 15 years ago, I found a Convention Peoples Party card issued in the early 1950s among his stuff. I recalled how the old man had always held Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in near fanatical esteem.

Many of my school mates were members of the Young Pioneer Movement, a youth wing of the CPP which was held in great distrust by the political opposition: The youngsters, the opposition assured everyone, had been brainwashed in the basic ideology of the CPP and trained to spy and report on parents and neighbors suspected of being opponents of Kwame Nkrumah.

It was one of the tensest periods in our political history and dangerous to be tagged an opponent of the Osagyefo, what with bombs exploding all over the place, as Nkrumah’s political foes kept up an unrelenting resolve to bump him off somehow and anyhow.

I was not a member of the YPM but I grew up being influenced by what I saw, heard and understood about Nkrumah. I was particularly strongly attracted to his insistence that colonialism was not tenable and that the Black Man had the ability to run his own affairs.

I found his vision of a United Africa whose agenda would transcend the narrow, sometimes petty national politics of African countries absolutely fantastic.

Over the years, I have felt very miserable watching the original CPP break into splinter parties which if the truth be told do not each stand a dog’s chance of winning a national election. At least, not yet. Sorry old chap, but that is it!

Then came Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia: I had a great deal of respect for Busia for two reasons. One: I gravitate naturally toward natural intellect and real scholarship and Dr. Busia was a scholar.

Two: He or rather his government presented me with a national award when I was not yet 20. Dr. Busia’s it was who came out with the idea of a National Service Corps to recruit graduates of tertiary institutions for national and community Service.

As part of a process of harvesting proposals for the operation of the corps, the Ministry of Education floated an essay topic in a national competition for students of second cycle institutions. “The National Service Corps: What should it do?” That was the ambitious topic.

A team toured the country to conduct the competition. We were made to sit in a room. Each competitor was presented with a dictionary and sheets of paper. An invigilator placed a clock on a table in front of the competitors and we were asked to write, boys, write away as write can..!

I forgot all about the competition there after, until one day, it was announced in the college assembly hall, that I was one of the winners of the competition. Initially, I was told that I would be invited to Accra to receive an award, hopefully, to be presented by the Prime Minister.

The authorities must have reckoned that making the journey from Nalerigu in the Northern Region to Accra was going to be difficult for me in those days. Instead, the award was commuted to cash.

I walked briskly all the way from the Teacher Training College at Nalerigu to Gambaga the District capital, where the postmaster cashed for me, payment orders made up in my name. I walked back to the college campus with the equivalent of the average public servant’s salary for two months in my pocket.

Unfortunately, I found Dr. Busia’s politics too conservative for my liking: At a time when the continent’s progressive forces rose up as one against the Apartheid government in South Africa for example, Dr. Busia insisted on Ghana and Africa holding dialogue with the Apartheid regime on a cruel political system which kept black South Africans under humiliating bondage

Daly Graphic editor Camron Duodu was more than scandalized by Busia’s virtual invitation to eat supper with the Devil and wrote a biting editorial criticizing Busia’s policy of “dialogue”, which so got the Dr. Busia’s billy goat, that Cameron was promptly fired.

It was an action that far from being to Camroun’s disadvantage, actually launched him into a subsequent adventurous career as one of the continents’s most prolific, most syndicated and most travelled journalists, but that is another story.

In chronological sequence since Busia and with several military regimes between, have come the civilian administrations of Dr. Hilla Limman, Jerry John Rawlings, John Kufour and now President Mills. The search for the leader who will lead us to paradise is still on!

The search has since independence, kept picking up greater steam with every national election but it must methinks it must start more robustly, with the election of party presidential candidates.

All week, I have run a poll on my website trying to figure out which of the two leading contenders in the vigorous scramble for the presidential candidature of the New Patriotic Party is likely to win the slot at congress to morrow.

When I visited my site at the beginning of last week about 50 people had voted with the two running neck to neck but then 115,000 delegates will be making the decision to morrow and it gets really tricky with such numbers.

The first time round, Mr. Alan Kyeremten’s relative youthfulness and unassuming but charismatic presence made him so attractive to delegates that but for his conceding defeat to save dog-weary delegates sleeping on their feet from the ordeal of a re-run of the poll; there would have been a run-off.

If human behaviour consistently played out according to the theories of psychology, we might hazard a prognosis based on the premise that familiarity may have taken some of the sheen off the personality of Mr. Kyeramanten, but they don’t.

The older generation which wields a great influence in the running of the party appears to be rooting for Nana Akuffo-Addo. On the other hand, Mr. Keyrematen has been receiving some Hosanna treatment in some constituencies. He has certainly taken Akuffo-Addo through the latter’s paces in the heady campaign yet again, and you cannot wait to hear the election officers announce the tally late tomorrow.

Now, if the other three aspiring presidential candidates of the NPP appear to have been consigned to the background in a preview of the stakes and you are perhaps looking for the schemer responsible, please leave me out of the equation.

Spokesmen for Professor Frimpong Boateng, Ambassador Isaac Osei and Mr. Kwame Kodua recently addressed a press conference in Accra and accused party leaders of open bias toward one of the leading contenders {not the chap with the cash} and of plotting to rig tomorrows’ election in his favour.

“Alahuakbar, the Pope is hot!’ That is what one cyberspace joker wrote on the Internet when a statement Pope Benedict made the other time drew some protests from the Moslem world.

Now it turns out that the Pope is really cool as far as the pursuit of democracy throughout the world is concerned. Every month of the year, the Pope instructs the Catholic Church around the world to pray for a “Special Intention” he has for the world.

Pope Benedict’s Special Intention for the month of July, 2010 was “that in every nation of the world, the election of officials may be conducted with justice, transparency and honesty, respecting the free choice of the people.” Are you there, old chap..? Email: georgeabu@hotmail.com Website: www.sydneyabugri.com