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Opinions of Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Columnist: Afreh, Manu Bernard

Nkrumah, Rawlings and the associate professor who amazes me.

I had always assumed, perhaps unawarely, that the mental faculties of an individual develop as he climbs the academic ladder. But an associate professor- whose diatribes are brimful of sound and fury- put lie to my assumptions. Ordinarily, I should not be joining issues with an unrepentant ingrate: but it is nerve-racking to witness this hack writer ‘hijack’ this arena to animadvert the perceived subjects of his hate. The silence of men of conviction also seems to have empowered the audacious impunity of this pseudo-intellectual. In fact, to leave this ingrate unchallenged is akin to staying aloof while darkness tries to subdue light.

As a matter of fact, I have no qualms about Okoampa and anything that he stands for. The peerless J.B Danquah, history confirms, was a great man whose contributions to the development of Ghana is indelible. It boggles the mind to witness how Okoampa, has by his nonsensical writings, provided the opportunity for people to pour scorn on this (late) inimitable politician. Sadly, as a man who has not stepped foot on the shores of our country for over 28 years now, he has by his narrow vision of the political arena and banal articles, impressed on readers that his sources of information have been no other than the yellow press.

It bears repeating: Rawlings is not my idol. But flip back the pages of the book of history, and you will discover that when the nation was hurtling dangerously through the turbulent skies, without any discernible purpose, it was him (Rawlings) who came to rescue her from economic quagmire. It comes as a surprise, then, to see this ingrate throw jealous darts to satisfy his ulterior motives. But then, I know Rawlings maimed, killed and bastardized the polity. I know in the twilight of his military rule, the nation got to the edge and nearly tipped over. As we thank the Lord for giving us the idea of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, is it not commonsensical that we forge ahead and stop fanning the embers of ethnicity? Is it not time we begin to identify and strengthen the bonds and bridges that bind us as people?

As another mental spasm seized Mr. Needless to Say, he chose to wage a campaign of calumny against the person of Nkrumah. In fact, it takes a certain kind of megalomania for an ill-omened cum prejudiced element like Okoampa Ahoofe to believe he can capture falsehood from the jaws of eternal truth. In a shameful act of trying to rewrite history, he has continued to vomit putrid bile against persons who do not share his ideologies. Need I say that, the achievements of Nkrumah are so evident that only someone suffering from amaurosis would ask about their ‘locations’?

It is no contradicting the fact that the Nkrumah’s administration witnessed some policy missteps, but it does not warrant for such acidic articles; after all, no one is perfect. I do not impress on readers to feel that Nkrumah is above the radar of criticisms. In all sincerity, who does know about Kwame Nkrumah, the emancipation jihadist, who is regarded as the Father of Modern Ghana? In regional and national politics, Nkrumah’s contributions and legacies, like Kwegyir Aggrey’s, are still highly revered three decades after his demise. I begin to wonder why Mr. Needless to Say would choose to hawk falsehoods that seek to diminish the profile of a man who toiled, day and night, to serve his people while his colleagues caroused in drinking binges. It also pains to see this so-called associate professor feed on the diet of hypocrisy, which generate the kind of verbal masturbation that he has come to be known of.

Let’s face it: if legions of demons are not having a free trade in Mr. Needless to Say’s head, why would he clamour for the annihilation of all Ewes? Why would he say, ‘the NPP should prepare for war’ at a time when forward-looking people are preaching the message of peace like never before? Why would he refer to our brothers living in ‘Zongo’ areas as ‘parasites’? Those are Mr. Needless to Say’s abracadabra(s)! He is, in fact, the worst tribal bigot I have stumbled on. In fact, if Okoampa is not Janus-faced, why would he advance arguments against the passage of the FOIB (Freedom Of Information Bill): when he is the worst culprit in the venture of a flagrant abuse of the license of free speech? As he continues to belch loudly on cyberspace, I advise he gets one of those cathartics, in his neighbourhood, to relieve him of his nagging pain.

In spite of all these, Mr. Needless to Say keeps me wondering; I wonder why a purportedly rational human being would come into this intelligent arena, brandishing and bristling with defamation rifles. I wonder why a self-acclaimed ‘King of Literature’ would post submissions riddled with syntactic infelicities. I wonder why a man chest-thumping with 18 books would, frankly speaking, be unable to differentiate between a body and its shadow. I wonder why a man groping for relevance would cling tenaciously to the stick of illogicality. I wonder why a man, who claims to have the nation at heart, would continue to fill the public space with incendiary statements. I wonder why a professed ‘lover of mother Ghana’ would analyze and conclude issues along narrow tribal lines. I wonder why he would ignore all matters of concern- which include problems such as poverty, disease, internecine wars, corrupt leadership and narcotic-drugs- to post balderdash for the mere sake of argumentation.

Writers, the world over, string words that seek to educate and appeal to the senses of readers. Not so for Okoampa. His comments have not only been the worst pronouncements on common sense, it gives the impression that he wears the blinkers of envy and jealousy with sheer pride. It is no wonder I would, any day, prefer the literary sermons of the Cameron Duodus to the illogicalities of the Okoampas of this world. In fact, mentioning the name of the latter, in the literary arena, is a taboo. And the literati have had no option than to label him as stubble in the journalistic fields.

In fact, if I were the one to sort out articles for publication on this portal, I would quickly fling his balderdash to the Dumpster. To be doubly sure that the empty phrases- which he misconstrue as contributions to national discourse- of the smart aleck do not worm themselves back into this intelligent arena, I would lock the Dumpster with a big iron padlock, and deposit the trash can in the deepest part of the Caspian Sea.

I also maintain the consistent position that this disoriented geezer- Kwame Okoampa Ahoofe- is nobody (emphasis mine) in his locality, and Ghana, to be taken serious on matters of national interest. If, in case, he thinks I am lying, he should answer to my challenge: (of) returning home to contribute to nation-building, with his empty arrogance, and at least, run and win even an election as an assembly member. Indeed, I know of many Ghanaians who are making meaningful impacts in different economies, but make no bones about their achievements.

This article, the heavens know, is intended to be a mere form of advice to someone who is enough to be my daddy. For the narcissistic pigeon that Okoampa is, I know he would come traipsing in this arena with his verbal diarrhea and self-arrogated titles. He would not stop there. He would shout at the top of his lungs: claiming that either Nkrumah or Rawlings has arrested his shadow. What a sorry sight to behold! It appears that without insults- the lubricant for his relentless pursuit of what he shamelessly believes in- Mr. Needless to Say’s life would be a dull existence.

Oh yes, I may be young in age, but I have banished fear from my psyche, and I would, in the name of nationalism, stare down anyone who seeks to make our glorious path look like those ‘blights of macadam’ in war-torn countries. Impression, they say, is everything. I do not know if, after vomiting all those valueless comments, Mr. Needless to Say becomes laden with guilt. In any case, I advise he takes a good long look at his articles before posting on cyberspace.

Finally, I am a Christian, and would never live to hate the man; I only detest his insult-laden submissions. As an unshakable believer in the cross-fertilization of ideas, I believe we must engage in healthy debates to push back the frontiers of ignorance. I have, however, promised myself never to read his articles if he continues with his sordid display of hypocrisy. Nevertheless, I hope he would turn over a new leaf: to avoid the looming danger of ending as a microdot at the footnote of history. The destiny is in his hands!

The writer, Afreh Manu Bernard, is an economics student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

He can be reached on nobunegga@yahoo.com or henroafro@yahoo.com.