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Opinions Mon, 9 Jan 2017

There is nothing jokey about Akufo-Addo’s acceptance speech

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

May I take this delightful opportunity to congratulate the outgoing Parliamentary Minority Spokesman on Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie-Akoto, for having been reportedly chalked down for the cardinal portfolio of Minister of Agriculture by President-Elect Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (See “Dr. Afriyie-Akoto Likely to Be Next Agric Minister – Nana Addo” Citifmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 12/31/16). Coming from the proverbial horse’s own mouth means that the news report of Dr. Afriyie-Akoto’s nomination is decidedly beyond debate.

I am, of course, congratulating the man because those of my readers with a remarkable memory capacity may recall yours truly making the prediction that in the highly likely event of Nana Akufo-Addo’s acceding to the presidency, the outgoing Kumasi-Kwadaso (Koradaso) New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament was apt to play a major role in the Akufo-Addo Administration.

I made the prediction primarily based on the classy and mature manner in which Dr. Afriyie-Akoto handled his defeat in the party’s parliamentary primary, at a time when the anti-Akufo-Addo faction was fervidly scheming to rock the boat, as it were. There were even some front-row appointees of the erstwhile J. A. Kufuor Administration who were seriously pondering the possibility of putting their names on the ballot as Independent Candidates.

Some were also casting aspersions and innuendoes, suggesting the likelihood of the party’s three-time flagbearer and his staunch supporters’ having engineered their defeat. Not Dr. Afriyie-Akoto!

Back then, the first statement that the Minister for Agriculture-Designate made was to candidly and laudably reach out and congratulate the candidate who had just defeated him and pledge his full support for the same. But what piqued my admiration and respect, though, was Dr. Afriyie-Akoto’s solemn pledge to invest all his energies and intellect into ensuring that Nana Akufo-Addo gained a foothold in the Flagstaff House, presently renamed Jubilee House.

And so in every sense of the word, Dr. Owusu Afriyie-Akoto could be aptly said to have earned his keep. I hope the man becomes as significant to the development of agriculture in Ghana’s Fourth Republic as the legendary Col. Frank Bernasko, of blessed memory, was to the Acheampong-led junta of the erstwhile National Redemption Council (NRC), later renamed as the Supreme Military Council (SMC-I). I did not know anything about Dr. Afriyie-Akoto at the time, but he promptly came off to me as the kind of patriotic and honest Ghanaian citizen and statesman direly needed in our time.

Well, as the caption of this column states, this piece was supposed to be a rejoinder to the cynical contents of an article that I recently came across on one of the Ghanaian media websites, which sought to rudely portray President-Elect Akufo-Addo’s “Victory Speech” as a joke. I did not read to find out the specific reasons why the writer thought Nana Akufo-Addo’s speech did not deserve half of the attention that it had gotten in the media. Instead, I decided to fish out and read the aforesaid speech for myself and draw the relevant conclusions.

Well, as I had anticipated, I found absolutely nothing wrong with the speech, except the largely pro-forma expression of gratitude to the irredeemably bloody Chairman Jerry John Rawlings and the latter’s lock-stepping clansman and Chief Executioner, Capt. (Rd.) Kojo Tsikata. But even so, I quickly came to the realization that the comfortable safety of distance had obviously afforded me the luxury of being readily able to pick and choose what to Nana Akufo-Addo or anybody on Ground Zero was decidedly inescapable.

In other words, if you have to manage the affairs of a house or country populated by a critical mass of the key operatives of Murder Incorporated, then, of course, you might just as well strategically sue for peace and quiet by diplomatically acknowledging the sinister presence of the same.

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame