Imitating Houphouët Boigny to build a cathedral is senseless

Nana Akufo Addo Houphet Boigny President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the late Ivorian president Félix Houphouët-Boigny

Tue, 3 Aug 2021 Source: Joel Savage

After the pile of multiple taxations on the heads of common Ghanaians in a country with no jobs for labourers, let alone graduates, Ghanaians received the most shocking embarrassment and betrayal when the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, asked the people to contribute to the building of a Cathedral.

Successive Ghanaian governments are often criticized, accompanied by insults, and the criticisms have been particularly acute concerning poor performance and rampant corruption.

If the media is not behind you, you'll lose favour. This is precisely what happened to the former Ghanaian leader, John Mahama, losing his second-term presidential race to political rival NPP.

Obviously, Nana Akufo Addo doesn't want to experience a similar fate, and therefore, would like to impress Ghanaians, starting with developmental projects.

However, it is worth asking Nana Akufo Addo the significance of constructing a 5000-seater national cathedral in Accra when hospitals have no beds, thousands of Ghanaians are unemployed.

Is it true of what the white man says? According to white people, Africans are lazy and, therefore, always expecting miracles from heaven. We can't ignore such degrading utterances because we have proved them to be true.

It doesn't really make sense for a government to embark on a 5000-seater Cathedral project when the cost can create employment for the youth or improve the fragile educational and health sectors.

Just imagine Ghana's poor sanitation, open sewage, and stinky gutters. Akufo Addo has ignored all of those problems generating malaria in the country and planning to build a Cathedral?

May God give African leaders some wisdom to rule the suffering masses without building a Cathedral.

Nana now dreams big and wants to impress Ghanaians by imitating the late Ivorian president Félix Houphouët-Boigny. Houphouet-Boigny was ruling an impoverished country in dire financial straits, then like Nana Akufo Addo, one day, he decides that it would be a good idea to build a second Vatican dome in his poverty-stricken hometown of Yamoussoukro.

In the midst of high rate of unemployment, illiteracy, and excessive corruption, similar to the present situation in Ghana, an almost exact replica of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City, completed in 1989, measuring 30,000 square was constructed and named 'Basilique Notre-Dame de la Paix de Yamoussoukro. The whole project cost the government 300 million dollars.

After the 30 acres of marble was delivered by an Italy firm and the glass also brought in from France, Houphouet-Boigny was asked how he is going to finance the church since his government was in financial straits, he replied: "a deal with God has been done, and all the 7000 seats are also individually air-conditioned."

Three years after the Vatican replica was completed, Houphouet-Boigny dedicated it to the Pope who consecrated the church in 1990.

Did Houphouet-Boigny ever regret such a religious investment in a country where more than two-thirds of its people aren't even Christian? Why are African leaders wasting their resources in the search for self-recognition?

Frankly speaking, in regards to the current economic turmoil in Ghana, such a Cathedral isn't necessary at all. It would not serve any purpose, just like how Houphouet-Boigny's African Vatican didn't serve any purpose. Who is Nana Akufo Addo undertaking this project for, Ghanaians or himself?

If he is building it for Ghanaians, then I will remind him that Ghanaians need jobs and the sick need hospital beds; however, if the building is to immortalize himself and his presidency, then that philosophy will lose its significance and be short-lived.

Columnist: Joel Savage