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Opinions of Monday, 17 March 2014

Columnist: Mohammed, Umar Najeeb

Guilty of Not Saying It Well

Few weeks ago, I wrote an open letter to Nana Addo, in protest over the petition that was brought against Paul Afoko, in his quest to lead the NPP. And some Ghanaians got mad at me. The email responds were overwhelming, even weeks after the letter was published. Filled with hate and victimization yet I said nothing. To be fair, some applauded me for the letter; others appalled me for the letter. But a reasonable majority grossly misrepresented my article, with or without intent. Which is why, I ought to explain succinctly to the readers of this platform on how to read opinion article.
Opinion article comes in two forms: informative and persuasive.
An informative article educates readers on matters of fact. The writer or the reader might not necessarily agree with those facts. But facts are facts. Our agreement to a fact is ineffective to its truthfulness. Like, there are 24 hours in a day, whether we agree or not, it doesn’t affect it.
Likewise, when I wrote about communitarianism, it was meant to be informative to people who matter in NPP, and not to promote tribalism. I repeat, it wasn’t meant to promote tribalism or sectionalism neither did it promotes tribalism. Ghanaians, or human beings, are naturally communitarians, Period. Whether I wrote about it or not, it doesn’t change who people are. It’s like adding one plus one, it doesn’t matter whether you add it in a quiet room or you add it in Accra sports stadium. The value is the same.
Hence, when I wrote about communitarianism, I was only waking up the NPP from its slumber and NOT promoting sectionalism in the party. The opposite is true.
Opposite of informative article is the persuasive article, which calls on readers to take action; it encourages or discourages readers to do something. It is easy to spot a persuasive article; because it usually has command modals like must, should, ought to etc. however, it is no surprise that most opinion articles have a combination of both, i.e., informative and persuasive.
In my case, I encouraged Nana to disassociate himself with the petition but nowhere did I encourage people to support sectionalism or tribalism. Again, not even a sentence. But what I said was if Northerners see perpetual disregard against their children from the NPP, they will inevitable vote against the NPP. Let me be clear, I did not say that they should vote their fellow Northerners, very far from that. I did not even insinuate something closer to that neither will I ever say something close to that.
However, I will always tell the ugly truth to the Ghanaian people. That is how we can build a more perfect Ghana. I choose not to be like the many aids to Ghanaian politicians who praise their masters when everything is going terrible. Just like how I write to tell the NDC government whenever it does something terribly wrong so will/must I write to tell the NPP if it does something wrong. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

The ideas expressed above are that of Umar Najeeb Mohammed, a Ghanaian student in the United States. My apologies to Mr. Gabby Okyere for associating the petition to him in my first article, I’m sorry.