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Opinions of Saturday, 28 August 2021

Columnist: Kwame Afrifa

Not all that glitters is gold! Lessons from a monumental scam

A picture from the purported award ceremony A picture from the purported award ceremony

Many Ghanaians were struck with awe, acute disbelief and permanent shock while others might have remained apathetic when it was reported that an awards ceremony, which saw some favorite celebrities and public figures bottled and plated in honor was, in fact, a sheer act of swindle.

The ceremony, which was held in calm grandeur at the Alisa Hotels, Accra, came off on Friday, 28th August, 2020. Call it the Scam of the century, and it may not be far from such a title. The old-hat saying, wonders shall never end, gained prominence one more time.

The neatly and subtly organized monumental scam aroused massive brouhaha, especially on social media, generating various comments and mixed reactions from almost any netizen who learned of the case. The victims of the humbug were also not spared a sound beating from the troll community.

It is, in fact, safe to say that the convenors made and rolled out well-planned strategies to execute their scheme. Apparently, all possible factors and indicators were carefully and cleverly considered before going ahead to pull the wool over the victim's eyes.

All the same, looking at the situation from a positive perspective, there are some lessons that can be learned from this mother of all scams. The examples are given, which quite stood out in the infamous events, are some essential ingredients that can ensure the success of any venture intended to be undertaken.

Venue

The fact that Dr. UN and his team chose a place of good reputation and public appeal to hold the meeting was obviously a bell ringer. The Alisa Hotels in Accra is a splendorous, top star setting to organise events and experience refreshing hospitality.

The environment alone is so welcoming.

Such a location would apparently leave a near-zero room to smell a rat.
In establishing a landed venture, location is an important aspect of the game. In the case of Dr UN, he went about that just quite well.

A good location can attract a great number of initial customers, ensure that the best employees are retained, and can affect the venture's overall growth. The ideal location for the Blueprint event evidently set the scheme of things in the right place.

Choice of Awardees

Blueprint Mission's choice of awardees is nothing short of astounding. From academics to journalists, politicians to artists, traditional leaders to business moguls, Dr. UN and his team neatly duped a cosmos of professionals and learned people. Permanent shock is, well, a suitable description for those who can still not recover from the fact that such men and women of
prominence were so easily ripped off.

In conducting any activity with success in mind and at heart, with a win as the end thing, the selection factor is as much important. The choice of workers, equipment, materials; every hardware or software that will assure success need to be carefully considered. If enough time is invested in making sure that the necessary parameters selected are optimum, the outcome will certainly relate very much closely with the input.

Timing

The timing for the event was simply well calculated. It was done at a time when other award ceremonies were ongoing, most notable among which was the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA), held on the same day (28th August, 2020), and then the next day (29th August, 2020).

Undoubtedly, timing is a success trigger when one wants to make it in the world of business or some other field.

Suppose a cracker monger brings out droves of firecrackers for sale at a time when people are mostly busy and children are in school, there most likely will be a low record in sales or even registration of loss. But if the goods are introduced during a season like Christmas, when people
are less busy and more relaxed, the items will most likely sell better - cause of the timing factor.

For Dr UN and his henchmen to capitalize such a window of opportunity, they are the perfect
description of temporal opportunists, who did not let go of the chance they had in time to push forward their agenda.

Branding

Global Blueprint Excellence Awards - 7th Global Leadership Service To Humanity Awards, what an irresistible tag! This label is strong and delusory enough to easily topple the minds of even the well-informed and discerning, the evidence of which abounds. Moreover, slyly associating the scheme with the United Nations and the Kofi Annan Foundation stretched its provenance
beyond the cradles of doubt and suspicion.

In present times, it is quite easy to observe that most people care more about the packaging than the product itself. While the packaging counts, the product is the desired thing and should obviously matter more. Most often, we are tempted to admire the wrapper and forget the parcel. The days may be the gone when people received floor tiles or soap bars as mobile
phones, in a nice box.

Usually, if the manufacturer has got a good name, then the product from their end is considered good; the wrapper then becomes an advantage.

However, if the manufacturer cannot be trusted, then the product needs cautious verification. Again, when both content and container
are good, such a product is what many people describe as self-marketing.

It is highly possible that the recipients of the GBEA did not probe enough to ascertain the authenticity of the awards scheme. That may have occurred given that they were carried away by the pervading ceremonial season, the seeming prominence of the awards scheme, the grandeur that comes with being crowned, the citation of fellow champions et cetera.

Their mistake, however, is a lesson for the unscathed, to be always judicious and level-headed in their dealings in our fast-changing, unpredictable, get-rich-quick, gain-fame-fast world. This will ensure that we get value for whatever effort or resource we give out to acquire returns.

Dr Kwame Owusu Fordjour (aka Dr UN ) may have had good intentions in giving out his so-called humanitarian awards to honor the well-recognized in society as he came out to later defend, saying that, I have always been an advocate for development, excellence, and in honoring others and attaching ourselves to global icons and leadership we bring them out [sic]. Yet still,
the means of carrying out the act was quite shady, even though it held important lessons as have been talked about already.

In the end, the activity which had been considerably going on in previous times, collapsed momentarily, without any warning. The last event was the straw that broke the con mans back.

While success is not bad in itself, the means of and purpose for achieving it are critical. Indeed, not all that glitters is gold!