Oh Why Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom?

Fri, 13 May 2016 Source: Kwarteng, Francis

Paa Kwesi Nduom, founder of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), reportedly walked out on an audience of Accra Polytechnic students to whom he was to have delivered a lecture, titled “Entrepreneurship: Preparing Student Leadership For Corporate Leadership,” and would actually have done so with the agreed-upon program schedule but for the sudden appearance of Samual Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Deputy Minister of Education in Charge of Tertiary Education, on the same venue—the campus of Accra Polytechnic.

Mahamudu Bawumia, the presumptive Vice President of NPP’s Akufo-Addo, was also there at the same venue—Accra Polytechnic—probably the day before where he presented the lecture “Youth Unemployment, Causes And Solutions.”

This lecture has generated a national controversy for the office of Seth Terpker, the substantive Minister of Finance and Economic Planning (MOEP), with Bawumia calling on the latter to resign his post as a matter of principle.

Terpker has, on the other hand, since stood his ground promising not to resign anyway because, as he confidently puts it, he believes he had not breached any law(s) since he made the decision to transfer that huge amount, US$250 million, to a private bank based—the United Bank of Africa—on expert advice. Fact is, this explanation may or may not sit well with many people.

It looks as though opposition critics of the NDC are turning up the heat on incumbency. And the office of incumbency appears to be feeling the heat—correspondingly.

Thus, it is in this general milieu of inter-partisan controversies and acrimonies that the possible reason(s) for Nduom’s unexpected decision to boycott the lecture could, perhaps, be sufficiently explained or explored, although it is hard accepting Ablakwa’s presence as the sole reason for that unfortunate decision.

And yet Ablakwa’s sudden presence could as well constitute the sole reason(s) for Nduom’s behavior.

The fact is that whoever invited Ablakwa on the blindside of the organizers and Nduom may have actually done so on the basis of intimate grasp of social psychology—social perception to be precise—and power dynamics.

Sadly, Nduom and his people may have missed this point.

Evidently those anonymous characters who extended that secret invitation to Ablakwa may, once again, have done so in the hope that he had better serve in a capacity as a “public” shill, most likely to chaperone Nduom.

For the kind of spin doctor that Ablakwa certainly is, descriptively fits Rawlings “NDC babies with sharp teeth.” And Nduom knows too well how verbally “sharp the teeth” of the likes of Ablakwa, Felix Kwakye-Fosu…are.

Likewise, Yaw Osafo-Marfo, ex-Finance Minister under the Kufuor administration, allegedly boycotted a national conference in which the NDC had sent the paedomorphic Felix Kwakye-Fosu to represent it.

These spin doctors and their peculiar approach, of rhetorical intimidation, to national political discourse is proverbially wicked.

Thus, Nduom knowing this very well may have taken to a tactical avoidance of Ablakwa as a means to forestall the latter verbally reducing him to a laughable grotesque caricature, an obscenity of a threadbare punching bag—a laughing stock, that is.

On the other hand Nduom should have held his ground as Vern Gosdin’s song “Toe To Toe With The Devil” says, for he had an important story to share with his audience and therefore should not have allowed the intrusive or formally uninvited presence of Ablakwa to deny the students a great opportunity—a high quality audience with Nduom for that matter—for intellectual, entrepreneurial, and political exchanges with the business mogul.

Of course, such intimate public exchanges are extremely crucial as they take the attention and expectations of students away from the claustrophobic realm of pure abstraction, to a more practical world where raw ideas truly enjoy a testable status of reified empiricism.

How sad and regrettable that politics destroyed or snatched this golden opportunity from those impressionable students!

Even more interesting, perhaps, is the concomitant notion that Ablakwa may, himself, have picked up one or two indispensable innovative ideas from a potential Nduom lecture. And vice versa.

Equally, all in all, those impressionable students on the one hand and on the other hand, Nduom and Ablakwa may have learnt from each other through a separate session of “questions and answers,” as knowledge acquisition works best through the interpersonal filter of symbiotic osmosis.

Such is the experiential foundation of the tired phrase, “no man is an island.” Late Jacob Miller’s and Groundation’s roots reggae song “Each One, Teach One” preaches this pedagogical philosophy!

Nduom’s outsized ego, his grudging apprehension of partisan mudslinging got the best of him—apparently.

As it were some of the same people, who have attributed Nduom’s financial and business success story to crapitalism, may interpret his Accra Poly (mis)behavior as one coming from a condescending elitist, which may not necessarily be the case. They could be right nonetheless.

Let us not forget that he went there to talk about tantric sex or about “Kama Sutra.”

And let us also not forget that Ablakwa may as well have been sent there by his bosses, to forestall Nduom’s lecture degenerating into another controversial partisan politics in the vein of Bawumia’s—a preemptive policing of sorts on the part of Ablakwa and the scheming leadership of the NDC.

Accordingly, Nduom’s tactical boycott of the lecture, also a tactical loss for the PPP, translates to a strategic win for Ablakwa and the NDC.

Politics is fundamentally about who ultimately wins by taking advantage of a profound situational crisis—or crises—such as this, Nduom’s infamous lecture boycott at Accra Poly, whose benefits overwhelming accrue to one’s comparative advantage in competitive politics.

Therefore Ablakwa’s presential silence won the day.

Nduom may therefore have to reschedule this lecture to re-engage the students and Ablakwa.

In other words, Nduom should not behave from a platform of moral, emotional, and intellectual weakness.

He [Nduom] has a standing command of the moral high ground to demonstrate true leadership to the youth, of which Ablakwa is potentially a part of.

In the final analysis, Nduom needs another opportunity to demonstrate to the impressionable world of the youth that he is, indeed, capable of more than moral leadership under the harshest and unfriendliest of circumstances.

Of course, again, the cruces of our arguments do not totally ignore the fact that Nduom is not a saint.

Neither Ablakwa.

Nor this author.

In other words at this momentous stage of our discussion, we do not necessarily see it as our place, a place that affords us an opportunity to go into the facts of and plumb the controversial question of whether Nduom is a Machiavellian and opportunistic politician, a chameleonic character representing the hypocritical, destructive contradictions and tendencies of both the NPP and the NDC, given the additional fact of his having worked and collaborated with both parties in different capacities—in the not-too-distant past.

For us these characterizations are of no immediate consequence in this matter, as far as his boycotting the lecture for Ablakwa to claim the political and moral windfall therefrom goes.

For politics is a more complex venture than this simplistic joyride of running away from one’s perceived or potential political nemesis.

How is Nduom going to debate President Mahama, Ablakwa’s boss, then?

Given that entrepreneurship, business management, product design, advertising, and business diplomacy are fiercely competitive, how does Nduom engage his business competitors?

Or does he think it is beneath him, a primarily entrepreneurial politician, to sit on the same platform with his younger colleague politician?

Or is it a simple special case of haphephobia or ephebiphobia?

Such experienced public figures as Nduom and Osafo-Marfo do not have to fear the mudslinging bug of attack, adversarial journalism when the public calls upon them to debate Rawlings’ “babies with sharp teeth.”

It is such a sad situation that Ghana’s schadenfreude political system is based on attack, adversarial politics and hatemongering.

Nduom, please rethink your decision for we need to bridge the generational gap in knowledge, expertise, wisdom and intelligence, emotional maturity, social and political consciousness, and entrepreneurial politics.

Let Nduom make time and listen to Bob Marley’s and Peter Tosh’s “You Can’t Blame The Youth.”

We shall return…


Ghanaweb. “Nduom Boycotts Accra Poly Lecture Over Ablakwa’s Presence.” May 9, 2016.

Ghanaweb. “Terpker Doesn’t Know His Role As Minister—Bawumia.” May 10, 2016.

Ghanaweb. “I Won’t Resign—Terpker To Bawumia.” May 10, 2016.

Kwame Botwe-Asamoah. “Adieu To Dr. Nduom’s Machiavellian Tactics To Get Ahead In The CPP.” February 25, 2012.

Ghanaweb. “J.J. Goes Wild; Sack NDC Babies With Sharp Teeth.” August 31, 2012.

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis