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Opinions of Sunday, 24 July 2016

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Could Sam Okudzeto be more condescending than President Mahama?

I believe that old maxim goes as follows: “At the mention of death, old bones begin to shake.” I could, of course, have Googled to find the precise wording of this maxim; but I am not doing so, because I want everything to flow naturally and as organically as the early morning provocation that compelled yours truly to respond to this predictable poppycock from the Deputy Communication Minister, Mr. Felix Ofosu-Kwakye, the man who once smugly declared that technocrats were of the least bit of significance when it came to governance and the critical formulation of public policy initiatives.

Now, the same man who was in diapers, or perhaps not even born, when Mr. Sam Okudzeto was President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), is accusing this finest of gentlemen and unarguably one of the leading legal lights of his generation of acting with “blanket condescension” towards the members of the Mahama cabinet (See “Okudzeto’s Jab at Government Officials ‘Condescending’ – Kwakye Ofosu” / 7/20/16). According to news reports, Mr. Okudzeto recently had occasion to observe that although there was quite a remarkable pool of intelligent and brilliant minds in the country, President John Dramani Mahama had unwisely chosen to work with people who knew next to nothing about the complexities of running an effective and successful government, while the rest of the nation looked on helplessly and needlessly suffered for such abject lack of good leadership.

The Deputy Information Minister’s accusation immediately reminded me of President Mahama’s recent stern cautionary note to the nation, at large, that except for former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum-Kufuor, absolutely no Ghanaian citizen qualified to either presume to evaluate or carp his job performance as the nation’s Chief Administrator, because no other living Ghanaian citizens, other than these two aforementioned gentlemen, had tasted of what it really meant to be elected as the country’s foremost citizen.

If, indeed, Mr. Ofosu-Kwakye sincerely believes that Mr. Okudzeto is more presumptuous and/or condescending to Ghanaians than Mr. Mahama, then it goes without saying that the Deputy Information Minister requires immediate psychiatric examination. We are also told that Mr. Okudzeto’s well-measured observation comes on the heels of the release of the findings of an Institute of Economic Affairs-sponsored survey of the views of Ghanaians in the lead-up to Election 2016. We shall make time to expatiate on the quiddities of the aforesaid survey, in particular, vis-à-vis what they ought to mean to the nation at large.

At any rate, what fascinated me most was Mr. Ofosu-Kwakye’s singling out of Ms. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman as a glaring exception to Mr. Okudzeto’s barb, which the former GBA President ought to have promptly recognized and perhaps even profusely lauded. And his reason? Well, primarily because, according to Mr. Ofosu-Kwakye, Prof. Opoku-Agyeman is a former Vice-Chancellor of Cape Coast University. This is what experts in the art of logical ratiocination call “Argument Non-Sequitur.” In other words, it is absolutely nothing short of the immitigably farcical for anybody to so facilely presume that just because she is a former Vice-Chancellor of Cape Coast University does not necessarily follow that Naana Opoku-Agyeman would also be an effective Education Minister.

And she may well have been one of the finest Vice-Chancellors of any tertiary academy in Ghana; but as far as the present quality of our nation’s public educational system is concerned, Prof. Opoku-Agyeman has been a blistering embarrassment. Mr. Ofosu-Kwakye also claims that President Agyekum-Kufuor fielded functional illiterates in his administration, but he fails to cite a single example to back up his claim. And yours truly has absolutely no recollection of Ms. Akua Donkor, the founding-mother of the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), ever working in the Agyekum-Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party. In sum, the critic would be much more effective with his scandalously vacuous riposte if Mr. Ofosu-Kwakye could objectively draw a balance sheet of the comparative performance of Messrs. Agyekum-Kufuor and Mahama, one that is fully festooned with reliable facts and figures, to enable Ghanaians draw the most logical conclusions.

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