By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Many Ghanaians may be aptly charged with being blighted by a short memory. Still, an equally remarkable percentage of us are not so amnesiac. He may himself have conveniently elected to forget about this, but it was the same Mr. K. B. Asante, now vehemently decrying the possibility of the designation of a second national capital, who initiated and zealously championed the sort of Ga-Ethnic Nationalism that emboldened the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Accra Mayor to remove the name of Mr. Ohene-Djan from the facade of the Accra Sports Stadium (See "A Second National Capital Is Needless - K. B. Asante" Radioxyzonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 8/6/13).
Indeed, a new national capital, not a second capital, is direly needed precisely because of the proprietary arrogance of people like Messrs. K. B. Asante and Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, the Accra mayor. The same arrogance would embolden the latter to invidiously attempt to rename the Theodosia Asihene-Okoh Stadium after the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, under the dubious pretext of the deceased premier having been a great lover of the sport.
Contrast the preceding picture with the fact of Mrs. Asihene-Okoh having chaired the National Hockey Federation for some two decades, during which period she is widely known to have hired the first world-class hockey coach to successfully prepare our male and female national teams for prestigious international tournaments, including the Olympic Games, and the unpardonability of Mayor Vanderpuije's affront cannot be gainsaid.
Mr. Asante ought to further explain himself about the statement widely attributed to the former Nkrumah lieutenant that, somehow, "It's not necessary for a new capital city to be designated for the country." Personally, I think it is about time that Ghana's official capital got relocated to Kumasi, or even Sunyani, which is far more geographically convenient and central than Accra, which primarily served the political convenience and interests of the erstwhile British colonial administration.
Needless to say, the choice of Cape Coast as the first capital of the Gold Coast Colony - the credit may actually belong to Elmina - was a British idea. Selecting and designating Kumasi as Ghana's official capital would, therefore, be the first creative indigenous initiative and a practically sensible choice by Ghanaians themselves. And Kumasi ought to become the country's new political and/or administrative capital rather than commercial and/or cultural capital, as some are wistfully suggesting. For not only is Kumasi much older than Accra and historically far better established; as a regional capital and the country's second-largest city, Kumasi is already fairly well equipped for the purpose.
That traditionally, the Eastern Region has played a central role in the academic and cultural development of the country cannot be gainsaid. For instance, the oldest teacher-training college, The Presbyterian Training College (Akuapem-Akropong PTC), is located in the Eastern Region, as formerly was also the University of Ghana. Dodowa is also significant for having birthed what later became known as the Ghana National House of Chiefs; and presently, I believe, it is the official headquarters of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs. If it is not, then Parliament and the Government may do well to relocate the National House of Chiefs at Dodowa, for both historical and equitable national landmark distribution reasons. Needless to say, the concentration of most cultural and political institutions, as well as historic sites and monuments, in Accra is not socioeconomically, politically and culturally savvy. And I think Mr. K. B. Asante is smart enough to appreciate the preceding.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
August 6, 2013
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