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Opinions of Friday, 3 June 2011

Columnist: Yeboah, Kwaku

President Mills Snubs Okyenhene, Fails To Greet Him

It is very sad and unfortunate that the president of the republic of Ghana, John Evans Atta Mills failed to pay homage to the Okyeman king, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin whiles in Kyebi to commission and inspect ongoing governmental projects in the area. In my view this deliberate snub was highly uncalled for given the status of the Okyenhene in the chieftaincy institution of the country. It is a hard fact that in the chieftaincy hierarchy of Ghana, the Okyenhene is probably second in terms of influence only to the Asantehene. Consequently a slight on the Okyenhene is not only a slight on the people of Akyem Abuakwa but the Eastern Region and the chieftaincy institution of the country in general. Indeed, this is not the first time the president has publicly snubbed a prominent traditional ruler, first it was the Ga Mantse and now the Okyenhene and would not be surprised when it gets to the Asantehene or any other prominent chief.
A point should be well noted to the president that the battle for the presidency in 2012 is between the NDC and the NPP and not the Ofori Panin Fie and therefore the president must not see the Ofori Panin Fie and its occupant as a political opponent. Even though it true that Nana Akuffo Addo, the flag bearer of the NPP is a royal son of the Ofori Panin palace, readers would agree with me that there is no point in time where the Okyenhene declared his support for Nana Akuffo Addo to be warranted this treatment from the presidency. As we all know from popular courtesy for boys and girls, it is required of the visitor to greet the host, it therefore surprises some of us a bit that the president was at Abusco and failed to pay a courtesy call on the Okyenhene.What is more, the very Abuakwa State College that the president was there to commission projects was single handedly founded by a past Okyenhene, Nana Sir Ofori Atta. It was therefore prudent for the presidency to have called on the Okyenhene and even invite him to the commissioning of projects since the school was founded by one of his (Okyenhene) predecessors.
Never in the history of Okyeman or the country had any President treated the Okyenhene with such contempt right at his backyard than what we are witnessing in the presidency of John Evans Atta Mills. And In fact this is not the first time the President had shown disrespect to the Okyenhene, the first time was in October 2009 when the President had initially agreed to grace the inauguration of the Okyeman University College of Agriculture and Environment at Bunso but failed to attend the function the last minute, the second was in November 2010 where under the president’s watch a confrontation between soldiers and galamsey operators led to a shooting incident close to the Ofori Panin Fie. The government here again failed to apologize to the Okyenhene. These incidents give credence to the assertion that the President of the republic wants to denigrate the Okyeman king simply because a royal from the Ofori Panin Fie is contesting him (the president ) for the presidency.This also gives volume to perception going round that the president does not respect the traditions and cultures of our country Ghana. He forbids traditional prayers (pouring of libation) at functions, fails to acknowledge important chiefs in the case of Ga Mantse and the Okyenhene among others. As protested by the Tafohene, Osabarima Adusei Peasah IV, it would only be wise and proper for the presidency to apologize to the Okyenhene on this one, if not the Okyenhene and others are only keeping their fingers crossed and watching. A stitch in time they say saves nine.

By Kwaku Yeboah,