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Opinions of Saturday, 14 October 2017

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe

Not a savvy move, Prof. Adei

Prof. Stephen Adei Prof. Stephen Adei

I perfectly agree with the former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Prof. Stephen Adei, that the need to frugally harnessing the resources of the country for the maximum improvement in the quality of the lives of our citizenry necessitates a drastic reduction in the sizes of the vehicular convoys used by the leaders of the Akufo-Addo Administration.

In particular, Prof. Adei made a reference to a 16-vehicle convoy that he claims to have personally witnessed Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia travel in on the Accra-Cape Coast highway recently (See “Reduce Bawumia’s Convoy or Face My Wrath – Prof. Adei” / 10/13/17).

It is, however, not clear to me from the Daily Graphic’s reportage whether Prof. Adei is more concerned about the fact that either all or the overwhelming majority of the vehicles in the Vice-President’s convoy were the sort of gas-guzzling four-wheel drives that many an ardent critic of official profligacy has come to deeply resent, or the very fact that Dr. Bawumia would travel in a convoy of 16 vehicles.

The obvious answer, of course, seems to be that it is both. For at the end of the day, even if the Vice-President traveled in a convoy of 16 hybrid vehicles, it would still mean an unnecessary waste of the Ghanaian taxpayer’s money. The objective here, however, is to neither condemn nor defend Alhaji Bawumia. Rather, it is to simply examine and discuss the various implications of the subject of this column.

In particular, I was amused by Prof. Adei’s own personal testimony that he had attempted to overtake the Vice-President’s convoy on the Accra-Cape Coast highway in order to alert him to the fact of his decidedly inappropriate indulgence in such wanton act of wastefulness. It is also interesting to observe that Prof. Adei does not tell his audience, both at the 20th -Anniversary Celebration of the Morrison and Associations auditing firm and in the media, precisely what percentage of vehicles or number of vehicles Prof. Adei would have Vice-President Bawumia’s convoy reduced to.

I was amused here because in a more security-conscious country, Prof. Adei would have rather unwisely ended up endangering his own life and/or his personal safety, or even gotten cited for the legal violation of either endangering and/or attempting to disrupt the Vice-President’s convoy.

Maybe his rather foolhardy attempt to overtake the Vice-President’s convoy emanated from that old, jaded dictum of “Familiarity Breeding Contempt.” The fact of the matter is that Prof. Adei could have called the Flagstaff House, shortly after the occurrence of this incident or event, identified himself and asked to either speak to the Vice-President or request a scheduled appointment for an audience with the same. I also don’t know that by occupying two lanes on the highway, in order to effectively prevent the possibility of a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle, the protocol division of Vice-President Bawumia’s office breached any conventional rules of the country’s political culture.

Indeed, rather than doing a vehicular count, Prof. Adei’s all-too-savvy criticism of the Vice-President would have garnered more edge to it and been more meaningful and progressive, if he had instead demanded to know the reason or reasons why the Vice-President had to travel in a 16-vehicle convoy.

I am also quite certain that the Public Relations Office of the Flagstaff House would provide prompt answers to Prof. Adei’s questions, rather than unwisely waiting until “at the appropriate time.” Needless to say, our 24-hour contemporary news cycle does not offer any room for political tardiness. In short, either the Bawumia handlers know what they are doing or they are mere political pedestrians who need to find themselves a new line of work.

Visit my blog at: Ghanaffairs

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

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

October 13, 2017