Why would a 70 year old man – who will be 72 in 2016, and 73 before he had settled into office, should he be healthy and should he win – want to be president of a youthful Ghana?
Who is Nana Akuffo-Addo, and what is he thinking? What does he want?
The New Patriotic Party (NPP), which has a formidable Akan following, seems to have been usurped by Twi-Speaking oligarchs. Their leader is Nana Akuffo-Addo.
By oligarchs, I mean the rule of not one, not many, but by the few. What should be done to reverse this trend and morph the NPP into a revolutionary front that is poised to play an active role in how Ghana is governed?
By now, if you are Twi-Speaking, you may have already taken to anger. But spare us the tribalism. Every Ghanaian knows that Twi-Speaking Ghana is an integral part of our quest to develop the nation. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Hence the reason why if you are Twi-Speaking you need to be honest and ask yourself one question, and only one question alone. Why are we here, living in a poor country that has all the diamonds, the gold, the cocoa and the timber?
Pointing fingers at leadership is one thing. Not even the over ambitious Nkrumah, or the forceful well-meaning, albeit not very well-informed, J.J. Rawlings could be spared criticism.
But the so-called Danguah-Busias, the Akuffo-Addos, the Afrifa’s, and the Kufuors all mightily failed. Let us spare ourselves their idiocy and tribalism for a moment. More important, the so-called Gold Coast merchants, during the late 1800s and the better part of the early 1900s, who were predominantly Akan, also failed the working class of a country that should have surpassed middle income status by 1980 at the least.
For example, why are we so proud of The Asante Chief who is only worth $10M when he sits on some of the biggest mineral reserves in the world? Twi-Speaking Ghana must ask themselves the simple question. Why? Should he not be worth billions?
And it is not because the Upper West Region receives government aid which should otherwise go to the Asante Region. Spare yourselves that trip of unintelligence. It is only because our fellow Twi-Speaking Ghanaians have allowed foreigners, and to translate in layman terms, come in and divide up their chicken coop, taking a hefty 997 fowls and leaving only three for the country to argue about.
Why can’t our Twi-Speaking country folk concentrate on this atrocity and challenge our leaders as to why not a single Akan owns a single gold mine, or diamond mine in a country that has over a 1000 of them?
What is the problem with a political party that cannot seem to harness enough resolve to server its apron strings from the ostentatiously nauseating and over-ambitious Nana Akuffo-Addo? Who, by the way, except for his often glibly exercise in ideological reality, has yet to map out exactly what he intends to do in government.
Is it perhaps because he is Twi-Speaking? Are there no other brilliant and capable Twi-Speaking candidates living in Ghana who can stand for president and win?
Everywhere I turn, and the more I try to make sense of this, the more inescapable the questions that arise become. I am left with, albeit overwhelmingly, with insufficient answers. The dilemma we face in Ghana is not only notable, it is palpable.
Many young Africans, like me, are torn between the often absent but deserved criticism of our elders (leaders) and our obligation as Africans to be respectful of them.
To ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ is an old adage, and an old adage it is indeed. Perhaps, our tradition, our culture and our African way of life must learn. It must evolve.
Because at this point in our history, our survival and our existence is threatened not by our youth, but by our elders, who seem to outnumber us in governing and fashioning a future they will not be around to suffer.
Spare the criticism and spoil the elder? Or still, spare the rod and spoil the elder? Or better yet, spare the firing squad and allow the elder to ruin your future?
I shudder at the last thought, and I stand corrected for insinuating such an uprising. But it does not assuage my anger, nor does it erase my fear and the frustration I feel about what our elders – who are our leaders – are conducting us into.
They are herding us into abject poverty, disillusionment, frustration and suffering. And the worst part is that they don’t even know it! Because, they have no idea.
So why don’t they leave the governing of our country to us, the youth, the positively ambitious? Why don’t they give us the chance to succeed or fail? After all, it is our future, not theirs!
When the former deputy Attorney General of Ghana, Kwame Osei Prempeh, expressed to Citi News in Ghana that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is likely to lose the 2016 elections if anyone contests Nana Akufo-Addo in the race for the NPP candidacy, my stomach turned.
The former Member of Parliament for Nsuta-Kwamang is thoroughly uninformed. His argument that running against Nana Akuffo-Addo will only divide the NPP is repugnant. It is stupid. And I wonder how such a man became a Deputy Attorney General of Ghana: with such ignorance of basic logic?
This man, Kwame Osei Prempeh, alone has managed to exacerbate the transformation of Ghanaian politics into a form of prostitution.
Why not ask the simple question, why should Nana Akuffo-Addo stand unchallenged? While I do not think that Nana, irrespective of his ailing and his age, be prevented from contesting, what I cannot seem to comprehend is the sheer audacity of Nana & Co. to want to turn every other candidate away.
Is the NPP a party only for Nana and his oligarchic few? The usurping of the NPP by these oligarchs is walking a politically perilous high wire. It is exacting just as much to get his few powerful friends to understand what the Party needs when their very salary depends upon their not understanding it.
Twi Speaking Ghana must wake up. The slumber since Yaa Asantewa – the great Queen Mother of Ejisu – challenged the British with war, has been too long gone. That verve, that character of urgency, needs reviving amongst our Twi-Speaking peoples. It needs reviving in Ghana. Wake up!
We must make Ghana great. There is no other way. And yes, the obstacles are formidable, but because it is necessary they are surmountable. If Yaa Asantewa understood it, if she was angry about how foreigners came and dictated to us, we must be just as angry, if not more, about our situation now.
Characteristic of 1909, if our Chiefs and Elders are too cowardly about pushing forward, if the President is too pusillanimous about his duties, if our Parliamentarians are too useless about their calling, and if our so-called highly educated our too infantile to inform, then like Yaa Asantewa, we the youth must awake with renewed energy and zeal.
We must awake and recognize that we come from great Peoples and inherit a consummate history. We must wrest our future from the hands of our weakling elders and from the dictates of imperialists from the East or the West.
History will soon judge us too, my dear youth. We cannot wait much longer.
When we feel weak we must recall Yaa Asantewa and her resolute stance against British imperialism. When we feel a collective loss of spirit and lack of motivation, we must muster the bloody roar of Béhanzin – the great revolutionary Ahosu of Dahomey – whose words of libation must renew in us our spiritual essence:
We call from the very source of existence, from the beginning of time, we call on our Ancestors, their Ancestors, their Gods, our Gods, and the Supreme Being to come to our aid. We call on them to lead us to triumph, to lead us to liberty, and to self-determination. They must come and help us. For at this moment we are the whole reason they ever existed, at all.
Yaa Asantewa or Béhanzin may not have won their wars against the British and the French in 1909 and 1894 respectively. But they made the British and the French pay a heavy price too! They stood for something. They stood to protect principle – the African way of life . They stood for African self-determination. They stood, so we can have life.
I believe they stand on higher ground looking down and hoping that their descendants in Africa, in West Africa, in Ghana, can also die for something.
NPP can spare us the third so-called ‘charm’ of Nana Akuffo-Addo. They can do better! I hope they can think anew and begin to build a foundation necessary for playing that crucial role in our democracy and in propelling Ghana upward and forward.
A charge to keep We have,
A God to glorify,
To serve Our present age,
A never-dying Soul to save,
Our calling to fulfill:
May it all Our powers engage
To do Our Ancestors’ will,
Assured, if Our trust betray,
We shall forever die.
Enough already. Let us, notwithstanding the foolishness of our current leaders and the sacred responsibilities our elders continue to shirk, die for country! Why? Because history, will judge us also, the cost will be too high, and we’ll forever die if we don’t.