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Opinions of Sunday, 17 February 2008

Columnist: The Lens

Who Said Drug Is Not An Issue?

And Is It Not strange That No Other Politician But Akufo Addo Stands Accused?

Lens' Analytical Desk Report,

"Let us discuss issues and not allegations about drugs".

The above has become a familiar refrain on the lips of some media people, social commentators and some opinion leaders in the country ever since the stories alleging that Nana Akufo Addo, the NPP candidate may be having serious problems with drugs started making the rounds.

This clear attempt to relegate the issue of drugs onto the lower rung of key issues of the day is not just unfortunate but portrays the extent to which some people will go to defend the indefensible.

Dr Emmanuel Enning, an expert on security and governance issues, recently stated that when the name of Ghana comes up in international circles these days, the first thing that comes up along with it is DRUGS.

The nation is facing a major drug crisis- a situation never experienced before in the whole of the sub region and possibly the worst situation on the continent at the moment. This scourge has come about as a result of the lack of political will to combat the drug menace.

Former National security Coordinator, Quantson also has said that because of the drug crisis, the whole system, including key institutions, is in complete jeopardy.

How then can any person or group of people trivialize the issue of drugs? This crisis is upon us at a time that there is no "drug addiction albatross" hanging around the neck of President Kufuor. Even though the president has never been accused of being a drug addict, Ghana under his watch has sunk to such depths that it is impossible to recognize the nation today from what it was when the NPP took over in the year 2000.

Why then should the nation take it lightly when a man who is pervasively believed to be a drug addict is gearing up to become its leader?

It is not just unfortunate the way some folks are urging the people of Ghana to discard the drug allegation issue- it is actually criminal.

Every effort must be made to get Nana Akufo Addo to come clean on the issue. The crisis on us is terrible enough for us not to treat as grave the possibility that one of the aspirants to the presidency of the country may actually be an unrepentant drug addict.

Even Kweku Baako, when rumours started flying around that he was into drugs, swiftly and courageously came out a few years ago to acknowledge that in times past, he used to do drugs but has since put that episode behind him. Kweku Baako is not a presidential candidate aspiring for the highest office of the land- but even he saw the critical importance of coming clean on the issue- what of Nana Akufo Addo?

Drug is certainly an issue- and not just an ordinary one but a critical issue.

The hypocrisy that is becoming characteristic of some opinion leaders in this country is beginning to assume alarming proportions. The future of our institutions, of our children is at stake- ship loads of cocaine are vanishing on our seas- exhibits of cocaine in police custody are disappearing routinely. Leading NPP officials are being arrested with drugs both at Kotoka and abroad. The police institution and other security agencies are fast becoming compromised. The whole political system stands on the brink of collapse as a result of drug money infiltrating the system.

Yet, given all this tragic reality, we have people claiming that the nation should focus on issues and leave the accusations of drugs?

Some of these folks are cleverly putting together the issue of Prof Mills' health together with Akufo Addo's drug accusation woes and making a case that both issues have to be set aside.

What they deliberately and conveniently overlook is that accusations of ill health and accusations of indulging in drugs are not in the same category at all. There is nothing criminal about being ill- but there is everything criminal about indulging in narcotic drugs.

Prof Mills has come out several times to speak to the issue of his alleged ill health even though there is no criminality involved. So why is Akufo Addo refusing to speak to the issue of his being involved in drugs? Is this just another demonstration of his proverbial haughtiness and arrogance or perhaps this is just a way of avoiding the opening of a terrible can of worms?

The Lens has said it time and again, that this issue of drugs will not simply go away. The more Akufo Addo fails to address it the more beliefs and convictions will crystallize in the minds of millions of Ghanaians.

The issue of drugs should not be relegated into the background. It is too critical at this stage of our nation's history. In the view of the Lens, next to corruption and the lootocracy of the NPP, there is no greater crisis facing Ghana than the drug crisis.