Akufo-Addo dismisses North/South divide
Nana Akufo-Addo has dismissed the North/South polarisation as not only divisive but one which retards the realisation of the Ghanaian project.
The 2012 flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was speaking during the book launch of ‘Odd Customs, Stereotypes and Prejudices’ authored by Archbishop Emeritus Peter Kwasi Sarpong at the Coconut Grove Hotel, Accra, last Saturday.
Full of commendations for the author, he saluted and associated himself with what he described as “his passionate refusal to accept any intractable divisions amongst us, asserting time and again our essential oneness and common humanity.”
Archbishop Akwasi Sarpong, he pointed out, insisted that we are all first and foremost Ghanaians and that this fact should be the guiding principle of statecraft.
The book, which he referred to as a fine polemic work, is a manifestation of the erudition and scholarship of the retired archbishop; a man whom he said never flinched from confronting controversy in any guise or form.
Touching on the content of the book, he said it revisits some of society’s cultural practices, attitudes and stereotypes which as he put it “have gained considerable notoriety and disapproval” in a manner which makes for their understanding and ease of arriving at solutions.
The book also, according to him, talks about other challenges such as female circumcision, widowhood rites, witchcraft and magical beliefs, North-South polarisation and stereotypes about Northerners and the Akan factor, child labour in the cocoa industry, multiple marriages, funeral rites and libation among others.
Archbishop Sarpong, according to Nana, has challenged many of the accepted solutions to these issues and much of the conventional wisdom in their analysis.
The author’s world view is informed, Nana noted, by his profound humanism pointing out that: “you cannot propose solutions to the moral and cultural problems of any given people unless you have an innate understanding, respect and love for them.”
The literature, he said, is mired in humanity; an attribute which he added “allows him to refuse to accept that Rattray, a British commentator, can have a greater understanding and authority of exposition on matters Asante than he, a highly respected priest and a fully paid up member of the Asante people.”
His commitment to the validity of Jesus Christ’s Divine Mission on earth, as revealed in the Gospels and New Testament and his deep attachment to that conviction, he went on “infuses all his conclusions and proposals for the forward movement of our society in confronting the difficult issues he has isolated in the wide ranging discussion of the book.”
Nana Akufo-Addo extolled Archbishop Akwasi Sarpong for his ability, at the ripe age of 80, to make what in his estimation a wonderful contribution to the public discourse of the nation.
He likened the author’s feat to the Apostle St. John who after escaping martyrdom grew to an old age to give Christendom “his Gospel, three Letters and the Book of Revelation in the Bible” praying that: “the Good Lord will continue to preserve Akwasi Sarpong for us to allow us to continue to draw inspiration from this great mind, this great spirit, this great humanist, this exceptional man of God.”