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Opinions of Saturday, 6 December 2008

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Paa Kwesi Declares Akufo-Addo Winner of Election 2008

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

When he first threw his hat into the presidential contest, we quite accurately predicted that his apparently remarkable professional success and all, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom had absolutely no significant or constructive agenda for the development of our country. On the eve of the December 7 general election, the former CPP-MP for the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (KEEA) Constituency resorted to the kind of campaign gimmickry commonly associated with candidates convinced of their imminent and decisive defeat.

It thus came as hardly any surprise that during a rally well-attended by the chiefs and people of Essikado, in the Sekondi-Takoradi area of the Western Region, the rump-Convention People’s Party presidential candidate jocularly suggested that if Election 2008 were a beauty contest, the CPP flagbearer would almost certainly be a shoo in, as it were (see “I’m Handsome, Vote for Me” Ghanaweb.com 11/27/08).

Unfortunately for the Deloitte and Touche Africa Region business representative, Election 2008 is a contest among progressive minds and big thinkers; and on the latter score, Dr. Nduom, a shameless Nkrumah wannabe parakeet, dramatically pales in significance.

One intriguing, if also edifying, outcome of his Essikado campaign rally, however, was the CPP flagbearer’s quite admirable admission that he, Dr. Nduom, had a far brighter chance of clinching the presidency than the handpicked perennial presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills. Indeed, it is this kind of landmark, and/or critical, concession that many a keen reader and avid student of contemporary Ghanaian politics hopes our mainstream journalists and other media practitioners could readily put their fingers on and promptly relay to their audience of potential and prospective voters.

Unfortunately, ours is a largely passive and non-intellectual media almost completely resigned to superficial reportage of diurnal events. Which is basically why the beat reporter or correspondent, Mr. Emmanuel Opoku, not only woefully failed to highlight the preceding most important angle of his report, or news, and instead chose to lamely highlight the purely lighthearted rhetorical aside of Dr. Nduom claiming to be the handsomest among the leading presidential contestants.

And even on the latter score, had he been keen enough, Mr. Opoku could have also smartly and promptly pointed out that the CPP flagbearer is also the youngest among the leading presidential contenders; thus what Dr. Nduom interprets to be his remarkable, or stand-out, beauty is actually the passive, and unlabored, gift of youth. The reporter could also have felicitously added that among the Akan, there is a maxim that: “Beauty does not pay; rather, it is moral decency – or character – that matters.”

In an apparent reference to Prof. Atta-Mills’ widely-acknowledged ungainly personality, the CPP flagbearer observed his intention of naming the former Vice-President of Ghana as chairman of the Council of State, in the highly unlikely event of the CPP flagbearer clinching the presidency. This is rather amusing, contextually speaking, because such appointment, in the imagination of Dr. Nduom, could only connote two things, namely, that ugly people are the ones who ought to both sit on and chair our august Council of State; and secondly, the latter august body is the especial preserve of mediocre politicians and downright losers. The oblique presumption here, of course, points to the fact of Dr. Nduom having put in his application for membership on the Council of State.

What makes the rump-CPP candidate for President’s sobering, albeit all-too-predictable, assessment of Prof. Atta-Mills’ long-shot reach for the most prestigious and powerful position in the land remarkable is its sub-ethnic sub-text, or undertone. For, in making his assessment, the KEEA-CPP MP also implicitly highlighted the fact that mutual bonds of ethnicity dictated blind charitableness, somewhat, on the part of Dr. Nduom. Nonetheless, noted the latter, plain rationality, based on grim political realities on the ground, incontrovertibly dictated his being forthright with his “homeboy.”

The rest of the Essikado rally entailed Dr. Nduom’s shameless rehashing of the New Patriotic Party campaign manifesto, such as providing fee-free K through 12 education for all Ghanaians, rapid industrialization and agricultural development. This is hardly an accident; for Dr. Nduom is a two-term cabinet member of the New Patriotic Party government.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Atumpan Publications/lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@aol.com. ###