Regional News of Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

Nyaho launches memoir today

A memoir of resilience in the face of political, societal and economic challenges, Never Say Die!

The author, Nyaho-Tamakloe, with a command over the events, situations, and incidents narrated, carry readers seamlessly from chapter to chapter. The autobiography, characteristically recounts some rich cultural practices that are part of the author’s infancy, such as his naming.

Adabraka Presbyterian Primary School was where the author began schooling and he used his experiences to draw distinctions and similarities in colonial rule practised in the country and in far off jurisdictions such as Canada.

"It is interesting that the British colonial administration, which authorised the educational system, was intent on ensuring that the products of the school system had a solid grasp of local languages, rather than creating an educated class alienated from their culture. This was, therefore, a sharp contrast to practices in other colonial jurisdictions (such as the infamous residential school system in colonial Canada) whereby Western education was used as a means of separating native generations from their cultural roots," he states in his reflections.

‘Readers, who are products of the Osu Presbyterian Boys Boarding School or ‘Osu Salem’ will relieve their experiences with the author as he reflects on the discipline instilled in pupils as part of the educational training. The author’s years at the Univerzita Karlova v Praze or Charles University in Prague gives an insight into the global politics of the times, that is, the early 1970s. He paints for readers the turbulent times of the Western World, where youth political activism was at its height.

“I was in Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring in August 1968, when Russia, together with its Eastern Bloc satellites of Bulgaria, Hungary, and Poland, invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia to halt democratic reforms,” readers will learn.

Apart from turbulent political and social events, the author also recounts the turbulent race relations in the period with race riots and black activist movements.

Returning to his homeland, the author is commissioned into the Ghana Armed Forces, where we learn of the aggressive drive by the government of independent Ghana to train deserving candidates to occupy the officer corps and of the deployment of men after independence to Congo.

The various coup d’états that characterised the political history of the country, as well as the history of the Ghana Armed Forces is given significant coverage in the reflections.

Dr Tamakloe uses his experiences in the army to give readers an insight into the ethnic dynamics at play in the army during coup d’états.

“All coups in Ghana have generally resulted in multi-ethnic partnerships,” he states.

With the various military regimes, readers will pick lessons, for instance, the fact that has to deal with tribalism. Col I. K. Acheampong the Chairman of the Supreme Military Council 1, appointed as regional commissioners persons who did not hail from the regions to which they were posted.

Nyaho-Tamakloe says this was a "bold gambit for which Acheampong is often not credited."

The author's association with Col. George Minyilla, and the beginnings of his political activism that led to his incarceration is told in the chapter titled, "Prisoner of Acheampong: Political Baptism by Fire."

What makes "never say die," so interesting, is the refreshing bits of new information interspersed in the narrative.

One such piece of refreshing information is the differentiation the author draws between coup d'états led by senior officers, that are characterised by much more discipline and much less bloodshed, and that of revolutions led by junior officers, who throw caution to the wind, lose the military discipline, turn their revolutions into bloodbaths and become bloodbaths that swamp civilian populations.

The author gives a rendition of political happenings in the recent past and his interpretation of it, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) campaign for the 2012 elections, the challenges and how they lost it.

He reverts to the present and gives his views on the way forward as a country in the quest for economic, social and political progress.

Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe through his book shows his mettle as a survivor, tactical politician and a Ghanaian. “Never Say Die!

The autobiography of a Ghanaian Statesman,” will be today at the College of Surgeons and Physicians, under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

The book has been written with the collaboration of Dr. Felix Odartey-Wellington a professor of Communication at Cape Breton University in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, a former General Secretary of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), a lawyer who once worked in the firm of Messrs Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co, and also as a broadcaster in various media institutions. Apart from publishing a number of scholarly journal articles, Felix has co-authored a text on Canadian broadcasting policy and regular.