Opinions Sat, 23 Apr 2016

National logos are integral to our identity

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

Garden City, New York

April 19, 2016

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

A president who does not appreciate the great significance and relevance of the insignias of our statutory institutions has absolutely no business, whatsoever, sitting inside the Flagstaff House and fraudulently pretending to play the role of the conscience of the proverbial Ghanaian personality (See “Debate Over EC Logo Needless – Mahama” Starrfmonline.com/Modernghana.com 4/19/16). Would President John Dramani Mahama also say that taking down the Ghana national flag and replacing it with that of Kenya, for ready example, would not matter one way or another?

It is time for Ghanaians to elect a serious-minded leader and get our country up and running the way it ought to run. By now, it ought to have become clear to the majority of eligible and prospective Ghanaian voters that as long as Mr. Mahama is comfortably and nonchalantly holed up in the Flagstaff House, there is in no end in sight for the virtual stasis that is the country’s development index. The painful fact of the matter is that our president is not a very thoughtful person, else he would not have said to a plenary session of the members of the Council-of-State, Ghana’s equivalent of the British House of Lords, that our statutory symbols are of absolutely no significance to the well-being of our national psyche and temperament.

Well, he may not know this, and nobody can really fault him for the same, but our national insignias embody the philosophy and ethos, or moral beliefs and cultural standards, of the Ghanaian people. It is therefore criminally anti-civilization and pathologically irrational for anybody to presume reason and morality to be alien to Ghanaians. Needless to say, the question for Ghanaians to deliberate upon is not whether the present logo/insignia of the Electoral Commission (EC) ought to be changed and for what purpose or reason. What we ought to be discussing here is the mode or process by which such change, if deemed both desirable and necessary, ought to be effected. Nobody or even a group of persons can sit in the comfort of their offices or homes and whimsically design and introduce any logo/insignia and then cavalierly and undemocratically attempt to impose the same on any cardinal institution of the State and, by logical extension, Ghanaians at large.

What ought to have occurred first and foremost, ought to have been for the Electoral Commission to have invited any Ghanaian so moved or interested to submit a logo design for consideration and adoption by the Commission, such as had been the cases with the choices of our National Flag – what I have termed “The Star-Studded Tri-Bar” – and our National Anthem. But even before such public call could have gone out, the key operatives of the EC ought to have floated a petition to that effect before the legitimately elected representatives of the people. Parliament would then have invited the proponents of the new EC logo to present cogent reasons necessitating such change; after which, depending on the decision arrived at, the members of our august House would then have voted to either approve or disapprove of the same. In the event of Parliament’s approving of the proposed new EC logo, an official call would then have gone nationwide for all interested citizens to create and make submissions.

What we have here clearly appears to have been capriciously originated by either the Chief Resident of the Flagstaff House or the EC’s administrators with the dictatorial complicity of the key operatives of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC). Now, having vigorously had its reckless bluff called by a civically savvy Ghanaian citizenry determined not to be ridden roughshod over, a visibly rattled President Mahama appears before the Council-of-State vacuously ranting about calling a rose by any other name’s having absolutely no substance on the chemical constitution of the same. Our sincere apologies to Mr. William Shakespeare. Indeed, it is inexcusably offensive to hear Mr. Mahama self-righteously accuse a laudably conscientious and civically responsible and patriotic Ghanaian citizenry of “putting unnecessary pressure on the EC.” This is rather absurd, to say little about the patently scandalous.

If, indeed, the EC administrators were intent on diligently effecting the published recommendations of the Atuguba-presided Supreme Court panel that adjudicated the 2012 Presidential Election Petition, as Mr. Mahama would mischievously have Ghanaians believe, why would the EC operatives be so recklessly and cavalierly annoying the Ghanaian taxpayer who, by the way, patiently underwrites their handsome salaries with such flagrant nonissues as the replacement of the old EC logo with a new, too inartistically busy and unsolicited one? And, by the way, was replacing the current EC logo with a new one among the salient reform recommendations of the Atuguba panel? And, also, just what sort of “unnecessary pressure on the EC” operatives is President Mahama talking about?

Come on, Mr. Mahama, Ghanaians are not dupes!

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame