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Opinions of Monday, 6 April 2015

Columnist: Abdul-Yekin, Kofi Ali

The State of the Nation Address by President Mahama

The State of the Nation Address by President John Dramani Mahama 2015

I found myself glue to the TV as my president John DRAMANI MAHAMA addresses Ghanaians, on his state of the nation address. My president touched on several issues of grievous national concern, over which Ghanaians were taking note from their different political orientations.
Ironically, something out of the odd caught my attention. I expected every member of the Ghanaian parliament, including the president, to dress smartly in suit and tie. The outfit of the president and that of most NDC (National Democratic Party) members of parliament turn out to be in sharp contrast to those of NPP (New Patriotic Party).
In all fairness, I wish I can be civil and none bias on this issue but the difference show itself. I refused to allow myself to be gulf up in the shallow conception of culture and tradition, whose misconception is giving lawless Ghanaians the opportunity of getting away with actions, flouting the national laws and decency.
The NPP members in parliament are mainly Akans and one expected them to wear their tribal costume of black cloth over their animal skin leather slippers (Ohenba), if those on the other side of the house are free to dress like those visiting our shanty the markets. No, the NPP MPs all turned up in smart black suit and tie. Really neatly dressed. They look like serious business men and women out for business. Almost everyone of the MPs on the NPP side of the house dressed as if they are in a parliament sitting in Europe. Probably this was planned but it work.
The NDC MPs cannot be said to have dressed unofficially as their costumes are acceptable to the Ghanaian parliamentary code of dressing. The only place such sight is acceptable in parliament, is in other African lawless tribal cum religious confused State, like Nigeria. The anomaly in this betray itself in the lack of uniformity of appearance on the floor of the house, from the majority section. In fact, most of the NDC MPs look like vagabonds in parliament. Some were even captured on camera with the Saudi traditional costume, of a head scarf and the roundish head gear (religious). The NDC made a mess of it all. The law makers turned themselves into indisciplined circus rogues dress in what they refer to as "Ghanaian traditional dressing". This even could not exclude the NDC majority leader, whose appearance included a banner around his shoulder, with inscription on it.
Sure the presidential state of the nation address is a constitutional obligation of the head of state, in which the president speaks to the nation before parliament. Turning this day into a day for parliamentarians to dress like clowns or behave like rogues, must not be encourage. Ghana is slipping deeper into religious and tribal entanglements, which is not healthy for democracy. We are not electing people into parliament to advance our religious or tribal interest. We all have a duty of standing up against those Ghanaians who see their tribes and religious divisive interests, as above our national laws.
It is time we stand up in saying "big no" to tribal and religious psychophancy in our nation. We have a nation call The Republic of Ghana, to build and not tribal or religious kingdoms, for our children. We should not allow tribal cum religious psychos to force their ignorance on us. We should not be cowed at the sight of this, regardless to who projects them.
We are not out to talk against the National Democratic Party or the President, H.E. John DRAMANI MAHAMA. We are not in any way trying to create any favour for the New Patriotic Party as they cannot exempt themselves in other form tribal or psycho-religious engagements. We are only asking for why the members of the ruling party in government, as well as the president, had almost everyone of their members dressed in a none uniformed manner. We believe this were creating indisciplined parliamentary manners. Must the NDC MPs dress in such provocative manner? Are the NPP MPs not also Ghanaians in their appearance of decent and smart suit and ties?
In fact, this expose the lawless nature of our state at large. If the law makers of Ghana are choosing to dress anyhow to parliament, the Ghanaian on the street will also dress anyhow in anything. The shabby dressing of our Ghanaian school child also help in explaining my concerns. If our manner of dressing affects our bahavour and attitude towards our laws, the the dressing of our parliamentarians then says a lot.
Please take a critical look at the clip below to appreciate my concerns. Lessons have to be learnt if we have to do things differently. A mad person's madness reflects in the manner of his dressing. If you have fifty uncontrolled mad people, their disorganise ways of dressing says it all. Our parliament must be a place of setting good example and conformity with the set successful standard of the rest of the world. We must not be a den of mad people, who choose to close their eyes to what every decent person out there, does. Dressing in suit is the dressing code of every decent member of parliament of the civilised world. Ghana cannot afford to be an exception to the global norm, hiding behind the guise of tribalism, religious psychosis, confused culture and tradition.

Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin
Chairman of ECRA (ECOWAS Citizens Right Advocates)
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