Opinions Sun, 29 Jun 2014

Why Elvis Afriyie Ankrah Was Sacked; Invited By EOCO

The President Has Sacked ELVIS AFRIYIE ANKRAH As Sports Minister. We the NDC Youth With Conviction Of Principles (YWCP) wish to congratulate his excellency John Dramani Mahama for dismissing the sports minister Mr. Elvis Afriyie ANKRAH from his post for his role in the abysmal performance of the senior national team the black stars in the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

This call is in line with the general mood of the people of Ghana as well as the young people of the NDC. We made this demand with a conviction that the sports minister lost the moral high ground to hold such an office for the following reasons: Under the former sports minister, the black stars have had their worst performance since their first appearance at the World Cup in 2006 in Germany.

In 2010, the national team naturally improved their performance in South Africa. However, in 2014, rather inexplicably, instead of improving on the 2010 performance, the black stars team under Elvis Afriyie ANKRAH has recorded disastrous results for Ghana.

When the team qualified to participate in the Brazil World Cup, the sports minister openly took credit for their achievement. Now that the team has flopped at the World Cup, it goes without saying that the same minister should take blame for the failure.

The first two previous world cups in Germany and South Africa went very well without so - called ambassadors. Yet, the team excelled. This year, there were celebrity ambassadors yet we recorded our worst performance ever. This means that the idea of sending ambassadors by the minister was a moot idea.

The essence of sending supporters to the World Cup is so that these supporters can go to the stadium to cheer the players and motivate them to victory. This has been the practice in previous participations. Under Mr. Elvis Afriyie ANKRAH as sports minister, supporters were sent to the World Cup in Brazil only for them to watch the games in their dormitories - thereby defeating the purpose for which the supporters were sent to Brazil by the poor taxpayer in the first place. There cannot be any reasonable explanation to the minister willfully causing financial loss to the state.

What is more? The government of Ghana hired the services of three different travel and tour agencies (Travel Matters, Kenpong Travels and African Origin Travel & Sports Tourism) to handle all travel arrangements towards the tournament in Brazil –another judgment debt in the loom. Yet, we now all know that the minister for sports personally turned himself into a travel and tour agent and took care of the flights from Ghana, feeding in Brazil, accommodation as well as internal transport arrangements in Brazil. The BIG question is: since the minister did all this by himself, who got paid for the services? The travel and tour agencies whose roles were usurped by the minister or did the minister pay himself for the work that he performed personally? To make matters worse, the supporters will confirm to you that the accommodation offered them in Brazil was the worse ever provided to Ghanaian fans during a World Cup participation. Did somebody make profit out of it? The government paid $50 dollars each as a per diem per each supporter and we are told by one of the catering agencies the minister picked they are paid $20 dollars per a supporter daily. Where is the remaining $30 dollar each per diem for the supporters?

It is on record that the sports minister recruited family and friends as World Cup organizing committee members - throwing competence to the dogs. The minister didn't only leave out key party members with competence in sports such as Ade Coker the greater Accra regional NDC chairman, and Harry Zakour, an NDC constituency chairman, he also refused to include a single official from the ministry of youth and sports in the World Cup organizing committee - not even the chief director of the ministry.

As if all this is not enough, the sports minister who was supposed to be representing the President of Ghana at the World Cup, threw diplomacy to the dogs by physically attempting to assault a Ghanaian soccer supporter who he (the minister himself) sent there to Brazil.

According to the state - owned Ghanaian Times newspaper, the minister was sharing US $100 cash to ladies who danced and displayed their buttocks to the minister. As a result, a hungry supporter who hadn't eaten breakfast since he arrived in Brazil openly castigated the minister for his irresponsibility thereby angering the minister to react physically violent. This uncouth behavior put up by the minister in Brazil is a disgrace not only to the President who appointed him; it is also a disgrace to all Ghanaians who paid for his trip.

No fair-minded fellow will disagree that the Brazil World Cup tournament was a complete disaster for Ghana - thanks to the minister of youth and sports. It is obvious from the public's reaction that leadership must take responsibility for that disaster.

If one nut can cause this total disgrace to the people of Ghana, the President and the NDC party, that nut must be removed from the lot to prevent further rot. In some civilized democracies, the sports minister of Ghana, Mr. Elvis Afriyie ANKRAH would have honorably resigned his post by now. But since he is not honorable enough to take such a decision, the President has used the constitution mandate to sack Mr. Ankrah, listen not only to the YWCP but also to the outraged general public, and do the obvious - sack the sports minister with immediate effect. The YWCP is convinced beyond doubt that the sports minister's indiscretion in the organization of the World Cup not only deprived Ghana of honors at the World Cup, but also served to benefit the minister himself personally. We therefore congratulate the President not only to sack the sports minister but also to order EOCO investigations into his personal gain from the World Cup tournament.

We the YWCP will not sit down and allow one nut to spoil the entire NDC party and government.

Signed: Sacut Amenga-Etego
Columnist: Amenga-Etego, Akaabitono SaCut