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Opinions of Friday, 9 September 2011

Columnist: Appiah, Papa

Akuffo Addo and Frimpong Boateng - Wikileaks, Dismissals and Matters Arising

I have a new-found respect for Nana Akuffo-Addo. This is a guy who, if his detractors are to be believed, was thrown out of Oxford University, then proceeded to Legon but only managed a third class degree in Economics and got admitted to the bar only because of his father’s influence. Has he not done well for himself? For, well-connected or not, one has to go out there and perform and Akuffo-Addo has certainly done that. Not only is he a respected lawyer, he has risen to become the leader of the opposition. One does not become a leader of the opposition merely on account of one’s connections. One has to convince intelligent Ghanaians to vote for one and Akuffo Addo has certainly done that.

Not every Ghanaian is a Frimpong-Boateng. Akuffo-Addo should be an inspiration for the forgotten majority of Ghanaians, battling to succeed against a background of failure in school and poor grades, or having to study as mature students while caring for kids and suddenly realizing, that they need a whole month to read a book they could read in two days in their youth. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Do not lose hope. The race is not only for the swift.

I would not condone the smoking of marijuana under any circumstance though there is evidence to prove that it helps reduce the symptoms of certain incurable diseases like multiple sclerosis. While there has been no concrete evidence of a link between marijuana and psychosis, and indeed marijuana is considered a “soft drug” in many countries, the social stigma associated with it, especially in our part of the world, is enough to prevent anyone achieving their maximum potential. I do not know how deeply Nana used to inhale (apologies to Bill Clinton), but he sure is in good company. Another interesting observation from the Wikileaks is the fact that, many observers believe Nana Akuffo Addo is one of the most incorruptible in the NPP hierarchy. It was refreshing to know that he has chosen to go about his duties quietly while others are trumpeting their incorruptibility from the top of Mount Zion, while evidence of corruption surrounds them. Ghanaians owe a dept of gratitude to Prof Frimpong- Boateng, the great communicator and manager of human capital, a man with sound academic credentials who has contributed immensely to the world body of knowledge. A great leader and administrator who commands personal integrity and has sound moral and ethical standards, but who nevertheless, is as fallible as any Kojo Manu down the road. I have not met a single Ghanaian who believes that his decision to parade the NPP colours and compete for the presidential slot while still remaining an apparently impartial clinician was well-advised. But there you go. We are grateful to this great son of Ghana for helping to establish the Cardiothoracic centre at the tender age of 39, though in my humble opinion, establishing an institution to perform laparoscopic cardiac surgery on a few when millions of our children die from malaria and kwashiorkor is akin to buying a Concorde when you can barely afford tro-tro. But then again, if I was the father of a child with a congenital heart disease I would probably not mind, that the money being used to operate on my child could save the lives of a thousand children. Be that as it may, I believe, and so do many Ghanaians, that the least we could do as a nation, would be to name the Cardiothoracic Centre after the eminent professor to serve as an inspiration to our children yet unborn. For he has managed to achieve what many once thought was impossible. The Korle –Bu Cardiothoracic Centre, however, belongs to Ghana. It is not the personal property of Prof. Frimpong-Boateng. The last thing I was expecting therefore, was for the professor to mention how many millions of cedis of his personal money went into establishing this institution.

Not only was this ill-advised, it is the kind of attitude that has got to be condemned in the strongest possible terms, for such are the grounds laid for corruption in high places. It is like a football chairman who pockets money from the sale of a player abroad because he has invested personal money in the team. I dare not impugn the integrity of such a noble man, but if he was that eager to get the project started, he could have come to an agreement with the government to provide the money as a loan to be repaid at a later date. He did not do that and that money, unfortunately, is gone. Sorry about that!

What we need in Ghana are strong institutions and not multi-talented brainy individuals. Prof. Frimpong Boateng has had TWENTY YEARS to build an institution that would survive in his absence. If he is telling us today, that the institution is likely to collapse without him, then something is wrong. I pray to God that Prof lives beyond ninety years to realize, that over thirty years after his exit, the Cardiothoracic Centre would have moved from strength to strength.

No one person is irreplaceable. In fact, if you would want to know how irreplaceable you are, fetch a bucket of water, dip your fist in and then out. The hole you make in the water is how irreplaceable you are. Give us a break!

Papa Appiah Lexeve1@yahoo.co.uk www.Papaappiah.blogspot.com