Opinions Sat, 25 Feb 2017

Rejection of the appointment of CEO for Ghana gas - let calm prevail!

There is no single appointment that has hit the media headlines since the incipience of the new NPP administration than that of DR B K Asante as the new CEO of Ghana Gas. First there was an agitation by a section of NPP youth within Ellembellle Constituency, who felt the appointee ought to have been one of their 'own' - an NZEMA per se. The anti-Dr Asante furore thickened through another argument that the new CEO wears an NDC party 'T- Shirt', worked with the former Energy Minister Hon. Emmanuel Armah -Kofi Buah as a Consultant, and therefore he, Dr Asante, is not the 'right choice' for the position. It was learnt that there was fervent preparation for a demonstration against the appointee around the time by another group named as ' The Youth of NZEMA' but for the timely intervention of some opinion leaders in NZEMA. The alleged demonstration was aborted at the very last hour.

Since then there have further been counter reactions in support of the appointee by both splinter groups of the Youth of NZEMA and other people also describing themselves as ' true NPP Youth' of Nzemal land. Over the last couple of weeks it would appear that serenity has prevailed amongst all interested parties accepting the appointment of Dr Asante as the exceptional candidate to occupy the CEO post at Ghana Gas.

It is regrettable that the furore over the appointment of Dr Asante was rejuvenated over last week end by a minimal section of Nzema Chiefs who allegedly expressed their dissatisfaction over the President's choice. While we have no problem with those Chiefs for expressing their democratic rights to speak and voice concerns over an issue that seemingly has become a premier league football match in Nzema, we are vehemently in disagreement with the thrust of the argument expressed by our very most respected Chiefs.

First, our Chiefs were unable to tell the world the failings or lapses in Dr Asante's resume as to whether he meets both the person specification and the job description respectively for the post of a CEO or Managing Director for Ghana Gas. Appropriately, I think we all need to give a little measure of respect to the consideration by the appointing authority and for that matter His Excellency the President who in his very good judgement has chosen Dr Asante to manage Ghana Gas.

Second the mention of Dr Sagary Noku as an alternative candidate for the position of CEO is wishy-washy. As a nation and a community we have not been told about the skills and abilities that Dr Sagary Noku has, and which Dr Asante lacks. The veil argument, though not specifically mentioned, that because Ghana Gas facilities are 'located' in Nzema, and therefore a CEO must necessarily has to be an indigene is a dangerous one. If this argument were to be pursued then the indigenes of Tema Oil Refinery and for that matter Ghana Civil Aviation would also argue to have 'sons or daughters' of their own to be appointed heads over those organisations. This cycle of ethnocentrism is not what Ghana, as unitary state, requires as this moment. Dr Asante, in every respect, is a "cent pour cent" Ghanaian, and he is equally qualified to meet the choice of the President just as any other individual regardless which corner of Ghana he hails from.

Of course, having said all the above, we do believe that both our respected Chiefs and the entire good people of Nzema have genuine fears and consternation about their relationship with the first generation of Ghana Gas administration over the last six years. The principle of local content was poorly managed, albeit fraught with politics, nepotism and cronyism. Technical and engineering knowledge was and is by and large at the bosom of the Chinese contractors to date. Job opportunities from cleaning to engineering were given to individuals who live beyond the catchment area of Nzema at a time unemployment was rife among the indigenes who continue to bear the brunt of the gas plant installations. These facts and conditions are not unknown to Dr BK Asante, the newly appointed CEO. This is the position, I believe, we all need to remind Dr Asante about and to work to improve the cold wedge between the Chiefs and their subjects of Nzema on one hand and Ghana Gas management on the other.

The often sang anthem by the privileged individuals working in establishments located in Nzema that the youth from the area are 'neither qualified nor have the needed skills and abilities' is quite ludicrous. Skills and abilities are not inherent through birth, they are learnt and acquired either through formal education or apprenticeship. Dr Asante, must create the conducive environment within Ghana Gas, create jobs either directly or through ancillary services and linkages and to provide jobs and apprenticeship opportunities for the people. I am very confident that the Ghana Gas CEO can, and is capable of rising up to the expectation of our youth and communities not only in Nzema but Ghana at large.

The adage has that it is difficult to identify a tree which falls into a flooded river; but once the river recedes, people can easily identify and name the fallen tree through the exposure of its leaves. Thus it is too early to judge Dr BK Asante by the fluidity of negativism and political correctness. We urge all the Chiefs and the good people of Nzema to rally round Dr Asante, with our prayers, friendship and emotional space which will enable him to succeed. The furore surrounding his appointment must end now


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Columnist: Nana Bonya Kofi VI