Why president Mahama is wrong on Okudzeto Ablakwa

Wed, 20 Mar 2013 Source: Quashigah, Korshie

This piece is a track record analysis for a key appointment and not a personal attack on the person of Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa nor is it on the right to appoint ministers by the president. It is written out of a deep concern and passionate love for my country, her current vision and direction and the impact of these for the attainment of the much talked about middle income status, with particular reference to those nations (Singapore, India) that gained their independence with Ghana at the same time, but have since advanced far ahead of us.

My reasons for disagreeing with President Mahama’s nomination of Hon.Ablakwa as deputy minister of education at such a critical junction of Ghana’s education development journey is due to the current very deplorable state of the educational sector and system namely, massive failure rates, huge drop out rates due to cost of education, lack of infrastructural facilities, manpower and inadequate skill provision made it the key election issue for the first time ever that an election in our country was seriously fought on issues by the two main political parties in the country, and picked on to a large extent also by the other minority parties, as the one most crucial sector requiring a well thought out and focused priority attention if Ghana is to train, develop and tap the potentially rich human resources of her people to be able to take adequate advantage of modern employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in national development.

One would have thought then, that education would have occupied the pride of place on the President’s list of ministerial postings by the quality of men and women that he assigns to that particular ministry.

I would like to set the stage, by making a comparison with the Attorney General’s Ministry (AG’s) some time ago, to show the level and weight of importance that one experienced and technically competent person can bring into a ministry, by drawing from serious expertise, inside knowledge, clout, relevant background and discipline that Martin Amidu, by himself, brought to that office, in spotting, stopping and exposing the rot at the AG’s, even with the TECHNICAL PRESENCE of directors in that ministry.

The point above, shows that though the constitution does not specify as in the AG’s who should occupy the education ministry, the NDC would have shown in form and substance, its genuine intention, if any, to adequately rescue the country’s poor educational system with the appointment of a non propagandist, cool headed and technically experienced hands as a deputy to the sector minister and thus competently help her to deal with the issues that beset education in Ghana.

I know there are those reading this piece, who, would think or say that Ablakwa’s position is only political and that there are sector directors in the ministry. To those, I say, why pay a political head all that goes with his office, for a suffering ministry if we are a serious country, and expect directors to do the work in that ministry. Why not take advantage of the role to bring in that other minister whose own skill, experience and technical insight can help the minister with relevant advice, particularly when for example, as political sector heads, inexperienced Okudzeto Ablakwa can veto the advice of experienced career sector directors. A clear insight, knowledge and an understanding of education matters is a necessary ingredient to ensure a turn around of that ministry. That sector needs a solid technocrat with tried and tested performance to show, not another political pen pusher in the person of Hon. Ablakwa. Educational sector of any nation at this point in the 21st century is no YO-YO business, nor is it another job for the BOYS.

Again, for those who still think that after all, he has been a deputy minister once so would be capable, I think we should get real. Mahama Ayariga, was a deputy minister in a more serious ministry before is current one, but has goofed so much his competence is in question right now, but why Ayariga’s repeated goofs, serious as they may be, do not bother me so much, is because I personally have not seen any relevance for such a ministry and most importantly that events in that ministry do not in any way , in the short to long term, harm the country’s developmental fortunes, as the decisions in the education ministry would, so for me, Ayariga can goof all he can and refuse to resign, in fact dare critics, but the education sector in my humble estimation has overbearing consequences for determining the future of the next generation of students and leaders to take us into the middle income bracket.

I do not speak here, against the nurturing of youth in government, definitely not, but there are make or break sectors in every nation that must NEVER be used as political nurturing ground no matter how the President loves Hon. Ablakwa, and our education ministry, particularly now, is one such sector. The man, in government, was known only for attacks and propaganda on the political scene and when he ever settled to work at all, it was the famous call he is said to have made to the then AG, Mr Martin Amidu to expedite action on judgement debt payment because he himself had been SEEN to already to compromise him and also see if he could do same with Martin Amidu, who stood his grounds against such acts of impropriety. His professional ethics was thus brought into question even before heading now to the education ministry. If as deputy information minister, he was only busy contracting himself out as a lobbyist for judgement debt payment, then on what meaningful performance is he now being upgraded on to deputise in a much more critical sector?. I shudder to think what my country has come to so soon under President John Mahama, with his consistent inconsistency. My nation is at a cross road and needs a forward thinking, visionary leader.

May God Bless Ghana.


Columnist: Quashigah, Korshie