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Opinions of Monday, 29 September 2014

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

It is about time...

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Garden City, New York

August 5, 2014

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

Yes, it is about time somebody more decent like my good friend Sydney Casely-Hayford speak up and out about the general sloppiness that seems to have become part and parcel of intellectual and professional life in Ghana. Generally, our leaders tend to be flippant about qualitative intellectual and professional output, especially where writing and communication are concerned.

Sticklers for grammar and good writing skills are often accused of Eurocentric elitism of the nauseating kind, the kind that one invariably associates with ghetto culture hereabouts.

It is more a product of inferiority brewed out of systematically and historically poor access to a good education. I am talking about the complaint by Mr. Casely-Hayford that the recently released report on the so-called National Economic Forum (NEC), held in the Volta-basin township of Senchi, near the Adomi Bridge, in my native Sunrise Region, was unacceptably sloppy.

I prefer to identify my native region - I was actually born in the Asante Region - with the Sun, because too many seminal events and heroes of modern Ghanaian history were born in this part of our glorious and beloved motherland and, of course, to a lesser extent, fatherland.

And so for me, the decision by the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to hold the National Economic Forum in the Eastern Region came as all too fitting and natural. And logical too! Decades ago, when Accra was also the capital of the Eastern Region and it doubled up with Koforidua as two of the most beautiful and culturally attractive urban cynosures in the country, the Eastern Region was also the cradle of contemporary Ghanaian civilization. The region also contained the greatest concentration of the most highly educated Gold Coasters and later Ghanaians.

The greatest Ghanaian pro-democracy proponent and advocate was born right here in the Sunrise Region, as also was the first modern Ghanaian to earn the doctoral degree from any major Western academy in the twentieth century.

Then also, the nonagenarian-year-old woman who designed the Ghana flag, from which design most sub-Saharan African countries got their source of flag-designing inspiration, was born in the Eastern Region. As well, the oldest teacher-training college was established in these parts in 1843, as was the oldest and largest hospital in the West African sub-region. And oh, the world-famous Akosombo Dam is also located here!

I tend to believe, like Russia's President Vladimir Putin, that very soon irredentist and revanchist Eastern Regional Nationalists will demand the restoration to us of our original geographical integrity, as in the wholeness of "Re-Membership". I mean, you don't want some Gonja boy constantly abusing the bountiful generosity of good, old Peduase Lodge and wantonly flushing our WCs clangily out of water.

Anyway, according to my dear friend Sydney Casely-Hayford, the Senchi Economic Forum Report, publicly presented by Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, the former Bank of Ghana governor, was so lazily composed and poorly edited that it literally gives our Accra-resident distinguished economic analyst the creeps (See "Casely-Hayford: Senchi Report Was Lazily Done" Citifmonline.com 7/27/14).

Sydney is not alone on this one. I get the same creepy feeling whenever I attempt to read Ghana's Fourth-Republican Constitution. I am barely able to read two pages at a time before throwing my hands up in utter frustration.

The grammar is unacceptably rancid, almost like rotten eggs. I understand our sacred baby was largely cobbled together by our squirrel-brained bastard brothers and sisters from the Rawlings-minted National Democratic Congress. And so what else can one expect from these rascals whose mantra has the highest level of our secondary educational system ending up in the ninth grade?