Mahama Simply Had No Other Choice

Sun, 11 Aug 2013 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

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

It is perfectly understandable that Mrs. Theodosia Asihene-Okoh would express her profound gratitude to President John Dramani Mahama for reversing the patently criminal decision by the Accra mayor and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to rename the hockey stadium fittingly named for her after the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, who did virtually nothing significant for the development and advancement of any major sport in the country (See "Mahama Is A Sensible Man - Okoh" Montiefm.com/Ghanaweb.com 7/30/13).

Not only has Mayor Vanderpuije's ill-fated move deeply traumatized a sizeable percentage of patriotic Ghanaians, it also ironically boosted the otherwise dormant image of the woman who designed unarguably the most symbolically significant icon of our national identity as Ghanaians. It is ironic because the clear intention of Mayor Vanderpuije and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly was to effectively humiliate this genius daughter of Kyebi-Adadientem and the Ofori-Atta/Danquah clan. And let no one be the least bit mistaken; the culprits knew precisely what they were doing.

In all the preceding, however, two significant names are astonishingly missing that ought to have been foregrounded in the nationwide controversy surrounding the Theodosia Asihene-Okoh Outrage. And those names are Messrs. John Agyekum-Kufuor and K. B. Asante. The name of former President Kufuor is worth highlighting because it was he who upgraded the National Hockey Stadium and duly named the latter after the woman who has been called the Joan-of-Arc (or foremost Shero) of the development of Ghanaian field hockey.

Anyway, now that the dastardly attempt to effectively obliterate the heroic achievements and memory of Mrs. Asihene-Okoh has been successfully defeated, it is time to heartily and gloriously celebrate the woman who imaginatively designed our tri-color National Flag and Black Star and, in effect, globalized our national identity. I quite don't know the form that such celebration might take or ought to take, but even as one commentator on the Asihene-Okoh outrage opined, maybe we, as a nation, ought to begin erecting a statuary monument in celebration of our 91-year-old shero.

We may also begin to consider naming some schools and colleges after the Kyebi-Adadientem royal. Now, let no one write some bleeding-heart articles and comments gratuitously faulting me for being naturally proud of my Akan ethnicity and Akyem-Abuakwa sub-ethnicity. I was not the one who initiated this scandalous wave of mnemonic obliteration. And this where the name of Mr. K. B. Asante, the former head of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly comes in. If memory serves me right, it was this arch-lieutenant of President Nkrumah who first launched the entire assault on non-Ga-descended national heroes who had any landmarks and/or monuments named after them in the Greater-Accra Region.

Mr. Asante would successfully lobby for the name of Mr. Ohene-Djan to be removed from the marquee of the Accra Sports Stadium. I had originally endorsed the move not on ethnocentric grounds, as Mr. Asante had vehemently agitated, but squarely on grounds that the late Mr. Ohene-Djan, a dynamic sports administrator of genius in Ghana's First Republic, to be certain, had been legitimately convicted of a criminal offence of treasonous proportions and duly incarcerated for acts of fraud and theft involving the squirreling of a remarkable amount of the country's wealth for his own private benefit. And this is a perfectly legitimate reason to have Mr. Ohene-Djan denied even the posthumous honor of having the Accra Sports Stadium renamed for him.

I also vividly recall that having registered my utter displeasure at the renaming of the Accra Sports Stadium after Mr. Ohene-Djan, I also indicated the imperative need for a monuments board to be promptly established for the honorable national purpose of immortalizing our heroes and sheroes. With Mrs. Theodosia Asihene-Okoh, there appears to have clearly been no tangible reason for Mayor Vanderpuije and the AMA to have so divisively and flagrantly attempted to desecrate her memory. And one wonders what would have happened if Mrs. Asihene-Okoh had predeceased this national outrage and effectively been unable to fight back.

Was her crime merely because she had fallen in love and married a Ghanaian man of Ga ethnicity? Or was it merely because she had herself not been born a Ga? Well, I choose to envisage her stature in terms of the many African nations that have used the Ghana Flag as a template to design their own. This is incontrovertibly where the larger-than-life icon and personality of Mrs. Theodosia Asihene-Okoh ought to be measured.


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

Department of English

Nassau Community College of SUNY

Garden City, New York

July 31, 2013

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net


Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame