Is It About Your Job or the Right Thing?

Thu, 6 Mar 2014 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

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

I couldn't laugh off the silliness of it all well enough, when I read the news report in which the now-outgoing Eastern Regional Minister, Ms. Helen Adjoa Ntoso, was reported to have sternly warned Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives under her command to expedite the street-naming and property-addressing exercise being currently undertaken by the Mahama government, or she stood the risk of being relieved of her post in the offing (See "I Don't Want to Lose My Job - Minister Warns MMDCEs" Todaygh.com / Ghanaweb.com 3/3/14).

What makes Ms. Ntoso's warning rather risible is the fact of its being simultaneously infantile and sophomoric. In brief, the minister seems to be far more concerned about retaining her portfolio than the functional significance of making postal and travel points/locations more readily accesssible to entrepreneurs, motorists and the general public. What is more, Ms. Ntoso appears to be far more intent on ingratiating herself with President Mahama, who originally issued the directive and gave each and every regional minister 18 months to complete the project, than the fact that the project, when completed, would facilitate the rapid development of communication networks across the country, thereby bringing Ghana into auspicious technological and cultural alignment with the rest of the world.

For instance, having street names and property addresses rationally designated would enable motorists to access GPS (or Global Positioning Systems) technology to significantly cut down on both travel time and fuel costs. It would also significantly enhance the way that business is conducted around the country, as well as enable policymakers to readily pinpoint areas in dire need of motorable roadways and health and other sociocultural and economically relevant amenities and facilities.

The other problem appears to be the glaringly pathetic fact of Ms. Ntoso's not having clearly and firmly established any foothold in her evidently oversized portfolio of regional minister. If she had, she would not be so deeply worried about the single exercise of street naming and property addressing, almost as if the latter endeavor were the only means by which to demonstrate her competence as a chief regional administrator to her boss.

That she absolutely has no worthwhile intellectual depth and vision for the region, besides that which is directly dictated to her by her boss from Accra, is scandalous. But on an even deeper level, the likes of Ms. Ntoso strikingly, if also dispiritingly, reflect the generally lackluster caliber of the president's appointees. Even more disturbingly, it inescapably reflects the abysmally low caliber of the man whom Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Ghana's longest-serving, albeit grossly incompetent, Electoral Commissioner, and the Atuguba-presided Supreme Court panel that adjudicated the Election 2012 impasse, dubiously claim to have been legitimately selected by the majority of the Ghanaian electorate as their leader.

Even as one media operative recently had occasion to joke about President Mahama's State-of-the-Nation Address, the true state of Ghana is most poignantly reflected by the virtually impassable Suhum section of the Accra-Kumasi road. And Ms. Ntoso could not pretend to be totally unaware of the fact that the last desirable project required by the largely ignored inhabitants of the Eastern Region is a road-naming and property-addressing project.

That the home region of Nana Akufo-Addo and the immortalized Doyen of Modern Ghanaian Politics, Dr. J. B. Danquah, is also the most neglected region in the entire country can hardly be gainsaid. In her all-too-self-serving cautionary address to the local government administrators, Ms. Ntoso was also reported to have said that "Though the president has given [us] eighteen months [to complete the road-naming and property-addressing project], I want you to finish the exercise within fourteen months." She is further reported to have added, "Any [district] assembly which fails to comply will face the consequences."

Needless to say, the more likely scenario is that Ms.Ntoso will be relieved of her post long before she has any chance to pounce on her minions. As of this writing (3/3/14), President Mahama was reported to be considering another reshuffling of his regional ministerial appointees. And at the time of this typing, the president was reported to be simply playing a game of musical chairs, by returning the once shuffled regional ministers back to their original posts. I strongly believe that this is a tactical feint aimed at putting the likes of Mr. Rawlings, an ardent critic of Mr. Mahama, in their place. The real reshuffle will follow several weeks from now. And I bet Ms. Ntoso's tightly "turbaned" head will be among the very first to roll.

The problem, though, is that this lady does not seem to have a neck long enough to be easily lopped off by Mr. Mahama's scythe. Or is it a langalanga?

____________________________________________________________ *Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. Department of English Nassau Community College of SUNY Garden City, New York March 4, 2014 E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net ###

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame