The 'Volta Virus' is Deadlier than I Thought!

Sun, 25 Jan 2009 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

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

Last Saturday (1/10/09), my wife’s cousin, Vice, called to urge her to advise me to be careful with these reams of articles I keep hammering out onto the press titled “The Volta Virus.” I have become quite fond of Sister Vice a lot and almost spend more time talking to her on the phone, on the occasions that she calls (maybe thrice or four times a month), than I talk to my own wife at any one particular moment.

With my wife, oftentimes, our conversations entail the seemingly inordinate number of hours that she believes I spend clicking away at my Personal Computer (PC) keyboard than the time I spend with her and our two boys, Nana Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe III and Osofopanyin Papa Yaw’be Sintim. And as always, I would promptly apologize and promise to take them to either an amusement park or a plush shopping mall; a department store or restaurant that recently opened up in our neighborhood. And then, you guessed right, I would get right back to work on my computer.

On the last occasion that she called, Sister Vice did not ask to speak to me; but I could readily sense, from the way my wife kept looking at me, both frontally and from the corner of her eyes, that there was something amiss somewhere, maybe quite an intimate family matter so grave that Sister Vice was in no mood to chat with me. Often the topic of our conversation would range anywhere from the vagaries of the weather in our part of America – she lives in Memphis, Tennessee – and the hectic and harrowing existence of an African immigrant in these United States of America.

Sister Vice is well aware of the fact that I write quite a lot. But she primarily knows, based on the fact of a volume of poetry that I wrote for and dedicated to my wife – titled “Odo Ye’wu: Love is till Death” – not quite awhile ago, that I do compose a lot of poetry, romantic poetry, to be precise.

Sister Vice, I suppose her name is an abbreviated variation on Vincentia, although I may have to clarify up this with my wife, had told my wife that her husband, Brother Rowland Anku, had been surfing Ghanaweb.com, or some such website with informational relevance for Ghanaians abroad, and come across this seemingly controversial article titled “The Volta Virus,” authored by somebody whose name seemed rather familiar and quite similar to that of Doris’ husband. Actually, Doris, which used to be my wife’s first name, is now her middle name; she officially calls herself Dolly now, with her name Doris being mostly written as an initial these days.

That pretty much explains why I overheard my wife tell Sister Vice that the author of the slew of articles Mr. Anku had been reading on the Internet was none other than her husband. My wife, to my utter delight, was also quick to add, perhaps, the most significant fact that I would have promptly observed to Sister Vice, beforehand, had I gotten the chance to speak to her the last time she called: which is simply that both professionally and avocationally, I have been practicing journalism for some twenty-two years now; and that I have written tirades about Messrs. Bush and Cheney and their grossly ill-advised policy on Iraq, and even Afghanistan, and almost gotten in trouble with some gung-ho nationalists at my workplace who had not, evidently, taken kindly to the fact that this “immigrant” and “economic refugee” from an African country with no name and barely larger than the size of a period, or full-stop, on a global political map, would brazenly presume to take advantage of our near-unfettered democratic freedom of expression to disrespect us.

Once, a very quiet-seeming student in one of my classes asked me to go back to my damn stinky Africa if I felt so strongly and negatively about some bad-ass American leaders. I promptly riposted that, perhaps, the quality of life in America would be remarkably enhanced if the speaker and her ilk could also just pack up and go back to Europe and leave African-Americans and their indigenous American relatives in peace. She seemed to have readily gotten the message, because she never again called for either my physical removal or voluntary departure from these great and heavenly United States of America. Indeed, I was in the sobering process of reconsidering my “Volta Virus” theory and literary fare, when I shockingly read about the savage and brutal beating of the brother of Ms. Elizabeth Ohene, the well-known former editor of Ghana’s newspaper of official record, The Daily Graphic, during the country’s most recent general election. Ms. Ohene also served as Tertiary-Education minister, as well as working in the office of President Kufuor until Old Sleepy Eyes handed over the reins of governance to the National Democratic Congress’ President Atta-Mills on January 7, 2009. Ms. Ohene’s brother, Dr. Sammy Ohene, a practicing psychiatrist and head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Ghana, had committed the felonious crime – at least in the pathologically tribal-nationalist imagination of some fanatical supporters and sympathizers of the NDC – of getting himself certified as a New Patriotic Party polling agent in one of the Ho parliamentary constituencies, at a place called Dededo, in Ghana’s Volta Region.

The fact that Dr. Sammy Ohene was himself born and raised in the Volta Region – at Abutia, the hometown of my father-in-law – was absolutely of no consequence at all. In Ho, where some Ewes appear to have a quite different understanding and appreciation of Ghanaian democracy, Dr. Ohene promptly converted himself into a mortal political enemy of the local residents once he decided to serve as a volunteer polling agent for the then-ruling New Patriotic Party. In most of the Volta Region, it appears to be a capital crime for any Ghanaian citizen to be registered as a bona fide member of the NPP; about the only political party extra-constitutionally sanctioned by the traditional and local authorities, is the Anlo-Ewe dominated National Democratic Congress, hermetically owned and chaperoned by Togbui Jeremiah John Rawlings (a.k.a. The Butcher of Dzelukope).

On election day, Ms. Ohene writes in an article sarcastically captioned “Look On Your Handiwork, Ye NDC, And Rejoice Or Gloat As The Mood Takes You” (Ghanaweb.com 1/12/09). I suppose the latter is a sardonic take on “Ozymandias,” Percy Bysshe Shelley’s classic poetic commentary on political vanity, the vintage trademark of the pathologically vindictive and nauseatingly self-righteous National Democratic Congress. I have often argued, to the horror of many a Ghanaian friend, associate or acquaintance, that only a very good taste of Rwanda, Congo (DRC), Biafra, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire would definitively and permanently cure the mass ideological lunacy that is the operational essence of the ironically named National Democratic Congress. And, indeed, on the day that he, reportedly, refused to concede victory/defeat to the NDC presidential candidate, I was almost fully certain that Nana Akufo-Addo was on the glorious verge of fulfilling my prophecy. I told my wife that it was Divine Providence Him-/Herself who took care of the aged and incapacitated and the helplessly young – and that I wouldn’t mind departing the hospitable shores of these United States, where the NDC had held yours truly an involuntary hostage and prisoner for some twenty-four years now, and acquiring some basic military training in order to help, once and for all, in liberating my perennially hijacked and raped motherland.

Then, alas, less than twenty-four hours later, the apocalyptically anticlimactic news came. Nana Akufo had conceded! And then my darn glorious prophecy got painfully stuck between my teeth. Still, I am not in the least bit despondent; for, as our sages have said: “Longevity is not eternal.” Like pre-Civil Rights America, Ghanaians will one of these days rise up and liberate themselves and their country from the impudent devil’s advocate and unconscionable killer machine that is the so-called National Democratic Congress.

After the savage mauling of Dr. Sammy Ohene, I am now fully convinced that the “Volta Virus” which I recently identified is still alive and even more widespread and dangerous than I initially believed. Perhaps, Dr. Ohene would have suffered far less bodily harm if he had been born a Tsikata or an Anyidoho. I am, of course, just speculating here, for there are also the Kwabena Adjeis who are in abject denial of this deadly anti-Akan “Volta Virus.” Dr. Obed Asamoah recently saw the light and so, hopefully, it shall not be very long before the Kwabena Adjeis of this world also see the light. Till then, may God bless our one and only homeland Ghana!

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of 18 books, including “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@aol.com. ###

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame