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Opinions of Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Columnist: Gyimah, Gilbert Adu

Apology From Hon Mahama Ayariga: Should He or Should He Not?

February 16, 2015

It has been interesting observing from afar how it seems all and sundry are calling on the Minister for Sports to apologize for a comment he made.
Mr. Mahama Ayariga is the Minister for Sports. On February 12, 2015, Mr Mahama Ayariga told Adom FM's morning show host Captain Smart, that he [Captain Smart] was asking him “useless questions” when he demanded details about expenses incurred at the just ended AFCON tournament in Equatorial Guinea.
Following the above comment, there has been calls from numerous individuals across the social spectrum to Mr. Ayariga to apologize for his comments. Some have tried to rationalize Mr. Ayariga’s comments saying he was provoked. Others have also admonished journalists to be professional in their questioning so they do not provoke.
I do not think an apology should be demanded or forced from anyone. An apology, where appropriate, should be freely given - and freely accepted (or not) by the party offended as appropriate.
An apology from Mr. Ayariga, if it comes, should not necessarily be going to the people of Ghana but to Captain Smart. After all, it was his question that was described as “useless”. That was a significant slight for which an apology will go some way to assuage.
For the rest of us as Ghanaians, an apology or not from Mr. Ayariga should be the least of our concerns. I would think that some of our concerns should be:
1. Does our Sports Minister possess the temperament, composure, confidence, depth of thought, calmness under stress to handle the job on behalf of Ghanaians?
2. Is the Minister overwhelmed by his job that has seemingly caused him to wilt under pressure from an otherwise simple question?
3. Given his outburst, does he still have the President’s trust that he is the most competent NDC politician (never mind Ghanaian) to handle this particular job at this particular time for Ghana?
4. If he should ever be faced with uncomfortable questions or provocation in circumstances such as in an external negotiation on behalf of Ghana in his capacity as Minister of Sports, how would he react?
5. Is the appointing authority [the President] sufficiently concerned about the conduct of the Minister to take action on behalf of the citizenry who placed him at the Presidency to address their concerns?
To err is Mr. Ayariga’s, to forgive is Captain Smart’s, to rectify is the President’s, and to punish or not to punish is the duty of the electorate.

Gilbert Adu Gyimah
Alberta, Canada