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Opinions of Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Columnist: Blankson, Nana Kow

I Pity Lawyer Samuel Okudzeto!

By Nana Kow Blankson

July 21, 2013

“So my brothers and sisters, the law is quite clear. The law is laid down. Judgment will be given and whatever way it goes, we must all accept it. If you are holding office and they say you can no longer hold office because that is what the law says, what must you do? Accept it! That’s as simple as that. That is the only way we can live in peace and tranquillity.”

Those were the piteous words of Mr Samuel Okudzeto, a former President of the Ghana Bar Association and an impenitent member of the NPP, when he spoke at the National Peace Summit (NPS) held in Accra on Friday July 19.

Before ending his speech with that prattle, Mr Okudzeto commented on the pink sheets and I want you to hear him in his own words, “The law says the results must be declared at the polling station. After it has been declared, then it must be entered on the pink sheet. And then it must be signed by the presiding officer but also by the agents of the political parties so it becomes an authentic document. “

But Samuel Okudzeto became the Supreme Court when he emphatically stated that, “So if the correct thing is not done, it means those sheets are not valid.” This bogus statement is what many people missed as coming from Samuel Okudzeto.

A research on Mr Okudzeto reveals that he may be around 78 years because he does not know the exact date of his birth, so he claims that he was born around 1935. Apart from that, Mr Okudzeto is not a trained lawyer. He does not hold a degree in law or went to any law school. He holds a Chartered Institute of Secretaries diploma. Several centuries ago what happened was that we had some people who did not have any law training or degree or went to any law school but had the desire to become lawyers.

The arrangement put in place in England and Wales for such people was to join any Inns of Court which are the professional association for barristers. The Inns have libraries, dining facilities and professional accommodation, where those who have the desire to become lawyers went to wait upon the barristers.

Therefore, lawyers like Sir Arko Korsah, Olennu and Samuel Okudzeto went to carry law books of barristers and waited on them at lunches and dinners for a certain number of years whilst reading the law books at the library. It was after they have satisfied those conditions that they were called to the Inns of Court.

Back home in Ghana there was no law school at the time. It was only in the early 1970s that a law was passed that all those who have that kind of training or those with a degree in law must go to the Law School at Makola in Accra. That is how Samuel Okudzeto became a lawyer.

The peace summit which was themed, “Justice, Peace and Reforms Will Strengthen Ghana”, was aimed at sensitizing Ghanaians to live in peace after the Supreme Court judgement on the NPP’s petition case challenging the results of the 2012 Presidential Election.

But Mr Okudzeto’s speech was not national in character if you thoroughly read the above comments he made at the summit. He was at the peace summit with a blinkered view. He portrayed that he already knows who the winner of the petition case was. And his statement was solely aimed at whipping President John Mahama into submission because in his view he has lost the petition case.

Otherwise, why was Okudzeto’s statement only geared towards President John Mahama? Why did he say that if you are holding office and they say you can no longer hold office because that is what the law says, you must accept it? Who is currently the President? And who was he referring to?

Could partisan Okudzeto not have also stated that if you contest the election results and the law says that you did not win the election, you must accept the verdict and forever hold your peace by allowing the nation to live in peace and tranquillity? Why did this man give only one version of advice and expect Ghanaians to swallow that garbage?

The bigoted character trait of Samuel Okudzeto cannot be compared to anybody. He went to the summit and told everybody that all the unsigned pink sheets by presiding officers are not valid. He gave his ruling of the petition case at the summit. And I wonder if the nine justices of the Supreme Court were listening when Okudzeto was delivering his speech. If that statement is not contemptuous, then I do not know what else is.

To me, the statement by Samuel Okudzeto who could not shed his NPP colours at the National Peace Summit and gave a one-sided view on what needs to be done after the declaration by the Supreme Court is very unfortunate. I seriously pity this man and I am wondering what signals he sent to the organizers and the youth who were at the summit.

Mr Okudzeto is a known NPP member. He cannot be faulted for that. But when you go to a peace summit that is aimed at helping to tone down the high political octane that has engulfed the country, you do not go to make a flammable speech. Samuel Okudzeto lost it completely. He may have thought he was at a campaign rally of the NPP. He became another Sir John who cannot differentiate between what is national and partisan.

Ever since the peace summit, people have been forced to talk about Okudzeto’s goof other than the essence of the summit, because, Okudzeto was one guy who stoked his biases into the summit and ended up blowing the good intentions of the organizers into shreds.

Ghana does not need people like Okudzeto in its quest to live in peace and tranquillity. What will Okudzeto say if President Mahama is declared the winner of the petition case? Will he say that Ghana will not live in peace and tranquillity after that?

The strongest signals must be sent to the NPP members and sympathizers that if they do not win the petition case, no one will stand by for them to throw the country into chaos. If they are looking at nothing short other than victory, then they are mistaken as the security agents will not stand by for them to burn Ghana.

Ghanaians have had enough of their nonsense and bluff. We will therefore, not stand by for them to destroy Ghana. People like Samuel Okudzeto should watch what they spew because it is these statements that hooligans feed on. At his age he must know better that Ghana is far bigger than party colours.

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