The Great Akufo-Addo

Feature Article of Saturday, 12 January 2013

Columnist: Avorkliyah, Selorm Kordzo-Aheto

Dear fellow Ghanaians,

Sometime quite early in the first term of Kufour’s reign, I saw for my own eyes the great Akufo-Addo for the very first time in person. I believe it was a government PR debacle of some sort, something about meeting with the press and allowing everyone a chance to poke questions at the government. Of course before Kofi, Kwasi and Opare were given a chance to ask their questions, there were some “notable” speakers at hand to set the tone with their own furlong of speeches.

I remember I yawned and fidgeted as the lengthy speeches and the drab introductions of the speakers rolled on until it was the turn of the great Akufo-Addo. The ever dapper chap strode with the grace of Zeus himself and assumed a self-assuring pose behind the pulpit like an Olympian on a dais about to receive a medal. His confidence was as potent as the gas released in Auschwitz and it had all of us at the National Theatre on that faithful day in 2001, “dying” for him as you’ll directly translate from twi.

Everything about him pointed to someone who noticeably has not been living off the pittance of the civil service and neither did he look like one of those hogs fattened off years of graft in the “service of the nation”. He looked a person who had attained success from being extremely good at something and his very existence was one to take pride in. The suit he wore spoke volumes and the way he wore it was simply glorious. Even the queer habit he had of tucking his handkerchief into his sleeves was one that kept me open-mouthed.

And then we were treated to his eloquence. Ohh mine! Brofo nie!! I don’t quite remember the content of his speech, but I can conclude it was the usual rhetoric the NPP was palming off then about being so much better than the NDC and ushering in a new era of “change”… yada yada. From what I remember of it however, the sound of his speech was musical, even his dramatic pauses and stresses were well timed as if it was at the cuing of a virtuoso symphony conductor.

If my memory serves me right, during the buildup to the 2000 election, Akufo-Addo and John Mahama were both hosted on a talk show on TV3. I vaguely remember Mahama trying to hold his own though his arguments were weak but Akufo-Addo was in his elements pounding the jaded Mahama into a fine pulp. The NDC didn’t have much going for it in 2000 and the formidable might of Akufo-Addo’s court-trained tongue could have debunked the notion of time itself. The ironies of this life-today we have one as a president, a pure conspiracy of fate, and one as an embittered litigant-the divinities do have a sense of humour.

I have over the years heard so much about the great Akufo-Addo since those “early” days. I don’t give much credence to the rumour mill so I have tried my best to play down the lot I have heard. From snorting coke to smoking wee to womanizing, the man has been discredited with so much alacrity, the saying that every smoke has a fire has to be somewhat excused in his case. But for his professional credentials… well… Akufo-Addo as another PhD will do Ghana very little good. Everyman has the inalienable right to have flaws. But I really do wish I knew more about the man.

For from what I am seeing, any stance taken by either the NPP or the NDC on an issue becomes the gospel which is sermonized into a creed for what could easily be one half of the population of the nation. The sharp dichotomy in views, which is fashioned at the whims and emotional commotions of political party leaders and party propaganda machineries, is very dangerous for our country. Until our people make that choice to question things for themselves and not just tow a party line, it is important we do a critical study of our so-called leaders to know their true motives because they could well be propagating strife among us for no good reason, if there is ever a good reason for strife.

Some very intelligent and discerning friends of mine have also seen reason in Akufo-Addo’s quest to challenge the presidential results of the recent election. I for one, I still remain befuddled by the whole thing. We have had allegations of electoral malpractices in the past and counter allegations to boot. But the fallouts from the last election remain just beyond my pay grade, I guess. Parliamentary results have been accepted and MPs have been sworn in but the presidential result of the same election is being challenged with legal maneuvers and boycotts and press confabs. What more, most NPP sympathizers (now the word sounds appropriate) feel so legitimately aggrieved, I’m hearing high-moral talk about upholding truth and seeking justice. Hmmmm!!!

I do pray and hope there is some merit to the case the NPP is waging at the Supreme Court because it would be a colossal embarrassment to the entire nation to have this whole “rigging” debacle be looked back on, sometime to come, as an instance of one man’s vituperations putting a whole nation on the edge..

Selorm Kordzo-Aheto Avorkliyah

Asia Pacific

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