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Opinions of Monday, 31 October 2011

Columnist: Appiah, Kofi

Spare Author The Ordeal

In furtherance to the recent publication that appeared on the internet a few days ago captioned ‘This is your Star, Brong Ahafo, the author did not mean to downplay the intelligence and intellectual faculties of our the respected professors. Far from that! I did not mean to be insulting anyway. The word professor, according to the Oxford English dictionary, means one who has excelled in his field of endeavour. However, the series and barrage of attacks unleashed on the author of this write up by way of rejoinders and rebuttals should be held in check and possibly ask them to hold on to their horses, otherwise, if they prolong their argument to the maximum conclusion that they should be the bonafide recipients of the No. 2 slot from the flag-bearer, would complicate matters. I say this with certainty that the very controversy and legacy “Egya Atta” would be leaving Ghanaians when he exits in January 2013 would be testamentary evidence that unless and of course some professors could be considered, then it would be Ghana’s celebrities and distinguished personalities like the world acclaimed professors of par excellence in science and technology, i.e. Profs. Allotey of N.A.S.A. fame and Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng of the Korle Bu Cardiothoracic & Vascular fame whose return to Ghana to serve his mother-land in the 80s became a tug of war between his employers – then the German Government – because they thought he probably was getting insane hence his penchant desire to leave his ‘goodies’ there to come home to be faced with the unpleasant Yieleh Chiereh’s ‘love letter’. To me, only these two would initially appeal to the populace, the rest, forget it because one bad nut spoils thirty.

PROFESSOR

The word professor, according to the dictionary, means one who has excelled in his field of endeavour; another meaning from the Oxford English dictionary is a university teacher of the highest grade; holding a chair of some branch of learn -ing; 2. Title assumed by instructions of various subjects. Professors generally are very proficient in their fields of endeavour. They are first class orators alright but could be the professors do-little or do-nothing at all so whoever is bent on using the author as a punching bag in readiness for political ‘boxing bout’ should let the sleeping lie. “After all, the king’s dog at the palace can never become king; also a decorated monkey is always a monkey”. Let me calm their tempers and nerves down with this humour. From the look of things, governance is not the preserve or do I say the prerogative of professors taking cognizance of the dysfunctional presidency Ghana has in vogue. I am done. If someone like Tony Aidoo had the guts to toute ex-President Kufuor as a dumb person but performed very creditably in governance; how would he designate his own paymaster who is a non-starter?

INVENTIONS

Ghana now definitely needs professors of inventions but not those who would fight and get entangled in trivial issues with the B.T. Babas and others. While patriotic professors choose to stay underground researching for food security, environment, sanitation, flood-related problems to avoid and perhaps prevent flood victims and mortalities, some of our learned professors busy themselves fighting the position with a B.T. Baba for close to 3 years. This is purely nonsensical. Are you the only ordained professor to take the GOC to Canaan? Please concern yourself with research for Ghana’s future benefit. The time is now up for our professors to wake up to fight the torrential rains that occasionally inundate our towns and cities. It is very pathetic that it is only an African professor who would engage in such an unhealthy contest such as has been mentioned above.

STATUS QUO

Even though our learned professors in special fields are qualified in all respects for whatever capacities they may find themselves but the author still maintains his grounds that the fact that ‘one bad really spoils thirty’ over-emphasizes my point and would definitely kowtow any pressures from any quarters. In going down memory lane, I would continue to hammer my point in unequivocal terms that apart from a handful who could be considered somehow for certain prestigious positions, they must bow thei5r heads in shame. Since Ghana became of age some 54 years since independence, apart from Profs. Allotey and Frimpong-Boateng, and perhaps a couple of others like the first Ghanaian and African lady physicist who have distinguished themselves at home and globally, the best our revered professors have done for the interest and benefit of mother Ghana are either six minimum or 12 maximum books to their credit and hopefully nothing else. Mean -while, authoring one, two, three or so books means nothing to the poverty-stricken Ghanaian I know in the street. Whatever research they have undertaken means nothing to the Ghanaian because it does not put food on his table nor money in his pocket. My mentor, Prof. Kofi Agyekum of the Depart- ment of Linguistics, University of Ghana, Legon, and also of the Ghana Peace Council, whose soul-searching and soothing voice calms most Ghanaian nerves could also be considered by any government but due to the unruly behavior of some politicians, I think that he finds himself comfortable with his present position. Such a person who continues to play morality role in the Ghanaian body politic would have been one of the best bet and accepted by all and sundry but not.

AWARDEES

During the recent national awards and honours at the International Conference Centre, one could count not less than a dozen professors who were award recipients. The persons we watched and saw on our television screens is clear indication that Ghana can indeed pride herself with not less than 500 professors. We have professors in anthropology, archaeology, dondology to zoology, quite apart from writing dozens of books to their credit that obviously means nothing to the ordinary man in the street, the best option left to most of them now is to find solace in politics so as to acquire wealth quickly otherwise, the wasted time for the books would not fetch him/her anything.

APATHY

Please permit me to state emphatically bearing in mind with special due respect to our learned professors that while their white counterparts are still under-ground researching into areas for the prosperity of their respective nations for the next 50 years without the mad love for political gains, their opposite black professors take delight in political landscape delicacy because to most of them, it is or has been the shortest way to achieve limelight and riches brushing aside the economic welfare of their countrymen. How many professors could be counted in the various governments of Presidents Barack Husein Obama, George Walter Bush Jnr., Premier David Cameron, Chancellor Angel Merkel, Nicholas Sarkozy, Premier Berlusconi, etc? Definitely it is only in Africa and for that matter Ghana, that we have hosts of them – professor this or professor that yearning be in government rather ironically, not to see to the welfare of his people but to amass wealth. Now that many Ghanaians have seen the ‘professor-do-little’ as a non- performer, the chances of professors in politics get whittled away by the day. STRONG INSTITUTIONS For the purposes of refreshing our memories, on Friday, July 11, 2009, President Obama was bold enough and tutored Ghanaians under President John Mills and I quote, ‘Africa does not need strong men, but rather, strong institutions to be in place to ensure good governance. But what do we see, two years after his departure? Our national security has always been at the heels of political opponents, the BNI has always been the nerve centre to couch most prosperous Ghanaians into submission. As for the Ghana Police Service, the less said about them, the better- the Agbobloshie market daylight slaughtering of political opponents under the nose of DCOP Rose Atenga Bio, the incarceration of NPP activists in Tamale since the last elections is anybody’s guess as to when they would be free; a deputy minister of state (B.A. Region) master-minding the murder of a fellow Ghanaian is still a mystery. The list could go on and on, it is endless. And we have a professor of law as the number one chief executive of this peaceful land. “The pain of segregation, discrimination, and perhaps, intolerance from political opponents which are the bedfellow of the Mills-Mahama led NDC still linger on in the so-called ‘Better Ghana” government that has Prof. Mills as its Commander in-Chief. To borrow a quote by John Jay Hooke from the New Crusading Guide issue of Tuesday, September 29, 2009, Vol.I, No. 7, it reads as thus, “In my opinion, it is less shameful for a king (president/head of state) to be overcome by force of arms (coup d’etat) than by bribery (herein referred to as the Mabey & Johnson Bribery Scandal of the millenium, the Stan Dogbe’s C1.6 bn pampers for the media Xmas package, the Transitional Committee’s C1.6bn tea party in 2009, the Muntaka Murtala’s baby diapers/pampers and the girl friend’s trip to Germany etc. that the NDC hierarchy seems to have been embroiled. As a result of the above revelations, Prez. Obama did not mince words to state his piece of mind on that fateful Friday in Accra. Ghana does not necessarily need machomen to show brute force, but men and women of wisdom, not ‘professors’ who, superintend violence and foul-mouthed politicians in his territory.

Kofi Appiah 0277 122 909 Email: kofiappiahgh@hotmail.com