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Sports Features Mon, 16 Jan 2017

Nii Lante’s crusade and a personal experience

Alex Blege

There’s no smoke without fire goes the proverb. There’s an iota of truth in every rumour. The dust has settled and a new group of persons have taken over the reins of power. This implies new direction whether in the right or wrong direction is inconsequential for now.

Nii Lante Vanderpuije, the outgoing Minister for Youth and Sports over the last couple of months before the change of government had had one misunderstanding or the other with Kwesi Nyantakyi, President of the Ghana Football Association. This misunderstanding had resulted in some verbal exchanges – one that doesn’t merit repeating in this piece.

Nii Lante may be privy to some pieces of evidence that a lot of Ghanaians may not have the opportunity to be oblivious of. Over the years, there had been some perception that the GFA and its President have always had something to hide. There had been an attempt in the past by the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) to bring the GFA and its president to book. However, this attempt was stalled by some fiat that prevents governments from interfering in the affairs of Football Associations across the globe.

Funnily enough, not too long ago the almighty Sepp Blatter and his cohorts were hauled before the law and banned from football activities for one corrupt activity or the other – if you think you’re all powerful just remember how the mighty are soon fallen.

Over the years, activities of the Ghana Football Association are shrouded in some secrecy – an element that breeds suspicion – a suspicion that further becomes mother of the tag, “mafia”. The whole show is like the proverbial monkey – see, hear, talk, and if possible smell no evil; for instance, the last election that gave Nyantakyi the nod to continue as the President of the FA was done behind closed doors. Beggar’s belief!

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There’re structures in every organisation. These structures must be allowed to work without undue interference in the performance of its duties. But not when there’s the need for some accountability to be rendered to the real stakeholders – Ghanaians.

Nyantakyi and Nii Lante may not have seen eye to eye but there’s more to it than meets the public’s eye. Nii Lante may have had good intentions; however, he may have used the wrong antidotes to solve the right problems, thus he stepped on toes unnecessarily and all sorts of interpretations read into his actions.

On another level, Nyantakyi and all the guys at the GFA may not have had anything to hide at all, but the posture of a lot of its activities shrouded in secrecy may be giving a bad reputation to the FA – a mafia institution. The new Minister of Youth and Sports designate must be able to rise to the occasion and work adeptly hand in hand with the GFA.

All issues need some approach – one can set out to change the perceived ills of a system without making enemies – thus it’s said, “with patience one can dissect an ant”.

In my final year in the University for Development Studies, Wa Campus, I took over the leadership of a theatre troupe. In the department that I was, there’re two student bodies – UDS Theatre Troupe and the Development Communication Students’ Association – the latter had been in existence long before the former – the former was formed by students who were members of the latter.

Although, leaders of the two student bodies had always worked together in previous administrations, the theatre troupe had always been “bullied” on one occasion or the other.

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Immediately I took over, I crossed swords with the President of the departmental students’ association – words were exchanged – civility walked out of the window; cynicism ruled, and very good friends became cat and dog. What was the beef? The president felt that since I was not “voted” for but “appointed”, I had to render to him an account of the decisions that my executives (a three person executive, myself and two other diligent and intelligent ladies) and I took. It didn’t make sense to me.

All said and done, with the help of my two executives and the patron, I raised funds for the running of the troupe and staged a play that’s still on the lips of members of the troupe. There’s one thing I have learnt from my grandfather, CK Gudzetse Blege – diligence and responsibility – before we handed over, we left a good amount of money that can help the new executives initiate moves while they raised funds on their own.

I may have achieved some success; but some relationship was sacrificed – some diplomacy and tact would have made my success a memorable one.

The writer is a freelance journalist.

kw.ameblege@hotmail.com/kwameselom12@gmail.com

Source: Blege, Alex