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Opinions of Sunday, 2 November 2014

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Akosa Is Right On ECOWAS

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. Garden City, New York Oct. 31, 2014 Email:

As of this writing, I had not read Prof. Agyeman-Badu Akosa's call for the immediate dissolution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); I had just seen the headline report of the same. And so I cannot presume to either relevantly or constructively comment on the same. I intend to read and digest it when I have the leisure to do so. But I have just read Mr. Franklin Cudjoe's reference to a remark made by Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama in a press release, which disturbingly appears to unreservedly endorse a criminal attempt by Burkina Faso's President Blaise Campaore to extend his insufferably extortionate 27-year-old dictatorship by an additional five years. It has also just been announced, as of this writing, that President Campaore has tendered his resignation; it is not clear to whom such resignation letter was tendered, since not quite awhile ago, the Burkinabe national assembly was reported to have been dissolved by Mr. Campaore.

Well, even as Mr. Cudjoe, the founding-president of the IMANI-Ghana think tank, aptly and poignantly observes, West African leaders like President Mahama have tacitly abetted the Campaore dictatorship in the unholy name of Solidarity of the Brotherhood of West African Democratic Dictators (See "ECOWAS Message on Burkina Faso Ill-Timed: IMANI Ghana" 10/31/14). Ghanaians are also fully aware of the sinister role played by the likes of President Yayi Boni, of Benin, and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, of Nigeria, in the flagrant rigging of Ghana's 2012 presidential election in favor of Mr. Mahama, the current chairman of ECOWAS.

In 2012, it was the Benin leader who was the ECOWAS chairman; and most progressively minded Ghanaian citizens witnessed brazen attempts by Mr. Boni to preempt the Supreme Court petition challenging the legitimacy of the declaration of the then-Transitional President Mahama as winner of Election 2012 by Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Ghana's Electoral Commissioner. The former would go on to win the petition against him under cloudy evidentiary circumstances that continue to be hotly debated by scholars and political scientists in the country and abroad to this day.

As leader of the ECOWAS Monitoring Team of Observers in 2012, Gen. Obasanjo would not only seek to mischievously justify the patently rigged Ghanaian electoral process - as was to be shortly confirmed by the Supreme Court proceedings - the former Nigerian strongman cum elected ruler would also presume to second-guess the framers of Ghana's Fourth-Republican Constitution, by insolently suggesting that a presidential election victory ought to be squarely predicated on the number of regions carried by the certified winner, and not by the percentage of valid votes clinched by the latter.

Mr. Cudjoe is smack-dab on target, when the IMANI-Ghana think tank president painfully observes that the leaders of the West African sub-region, and indeed the African continent as a whole, are inordinately fixated on perennially entrenching themselves than wisely strategizing for the healthy and long-term socioeconomic, political and cultural development of their peoples.

I, however, do not agree with Mr. Cudjoe's rather faultingly diplomatic and accommodating characterization of Mr. Mahama's hearty endorsement of the Campaore dictatorship as "ill-timed." For it is quite clear that President Mahama meant precisely what he said - and unabashedly believes - when he issued his statement describing any attempt by progressive and democratically minded Burkinabes to auspiciously rid themselves of President Campaore, as one that was tantamount to a criminal illegality.

You see, any front-row member of Ghana's ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) cannot overlook the striking parallels between the Sankara-Campaore regime and the Rawlings-minted Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), now suavely and expediently morphed into the so-called National Democratic Congress. In both instances, leaders and personalities deemed to threaten the vaulting political ambitions of the Enfant-Terrible (or New-Kid-On-The-Block) had been promptly and callously liquidated. And Mr. Mahama, like Mr. Campaore vis-a-vis Capt. Thomas Sankara, has some explaining to do vis-a-vis the abrupt and mysterious "disappearance" of President John Evans Atta-Mills.

And so, really, it cannot be that President Mahama is, somehow, too lame-brained to pointedly recognize his destiny in the fortunes of President Blaise Campaore. The similarities are too eerily striking to be either overlooked or lost on the man. The pertinent question to ask here, then, is the following: Would Ghanaians, once again, sit mum and duck while Little Dramani takes them for another Campaore Ride come Election 2016?