On Thursday, Ghanaians were informed through an official statement issued by Chief of Staff, Mr. Douglas Bani that upon Presidential directive, the purported change of the Theodosia Okoh National Hockey Stadium in Accra, to read John Evans Atta Mills Hockey Stadium, effected with fanfare and radio programmes to justify the action by the Mayor of Accra, Dr. Alfred Oko Vanderpuiye, had been reversed.
The statement from the Jubilee House, which is itself a subject of a controversial name change, said the bearded Mayor of Accra has been summoned to appear before the Head of State in connection with the name change.
Hapless Ghanaians reeling under some of the strangest economic policies ever unleashed in the name of governance were not told when Dr. Vanderpuiye would face the Sanhedrin.
A number of people at the centre of the earth though, have been so irked by what many describe as a gross display of impunity from the Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, that the only means by which the political leadership of the nation could appease them, is by pointing the Mayor to the door.
Dr. Lloyd Amoah, a lecturer at Ashesi University in Accra, is already organizing a campaign to get President John Dramani Mahama to fire his Chief Executive of the national capital.
“He clearly does not fit into that office. He is clearly not the gentleman who should be in charge of policy decisions of Accra and so the President must act. We call on John Dramani Mahama to get Alfred Oko Vanderpuiye from his post.”
According to Dr. Amoah, there must be a general review of the historical circumstances under which monuments were named. “This decision is a reflection of a dangerous leadership. If you have an individual who is not capable of thinking through a question, such as the right involved in naming a monument, how do you expect him to re-organize and turn Accra into the capital of the republic, our ancestors fought for? It is a slap in the face and he must go,” the lecturer emphasized.
Quite recently, Dr. Vanderpuiye was riding high after polling 107 out of 112 of assembly members of the AMA, who voted to retain him. On securing the 95.5 percentage vote, one of the highest in contemporary Ghanaian politics, he committed himself and the assembly to the development of infrastructure in Accra.
Dr. Vanderpuiye said he was going to concentrate on the development of schools, markets and the drainage system among others, in line with the agenda of making Accra an attractive city for dwellers as well as visitors.
According to the world-wide web Wikepedia, Dr. Alfred is a Ghanaian politician and a native of Jamestown in Accra. “His Dutch surname reflects his Euro-African descent.
“The ancestors of the Vanderpuiye family originally came from Sint Maartensdijk, on the former Island of Tholen, in the Netherlands. His relative, Jacubus van der Puije, was Governor of the Dutch Gold Coast in 1780.
The web site of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly says Dr. Oko Vanderpuiye was initiated as AMA Chief Executive in May 2009, with an unprecedented vote of 97 percent.
His mandate was “to improve the quality of the people of the City of Accra, especially the poor, vulnerable and the excluded, by providing and maintaining basic services and facilities in the areas of education, sanitation, and offer social amenities in the context of discipline, a sense of urgency and a commitment to excellence.”
The AMA website says further of the assembly’s boss: “Dr. Vanderpuiye has been an active member of the NDC in the USA, serving in many capacities -Chairman of Chicago and South Carolina Chapters – an active participant in national elections campaigns in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012.
AMA lists his achievements as the Declaration of Accra as Millennium City on January 15, 2012, by the Earth Institute of Columbia University, New York-USA and ended the shift system in Accra schools and introduced the Millennium City School Complex.
The assembly says 73 of such schools are under construction in the capital city. He has also led the assembly to score high marks in sanitation and environmental management by the UN Climate Change Conference in 2012, as well as receiving the IBM Smart City Award in 2011.
“The City of Accra under Dr. Vanderpuiye’s leadership,” says an item on AMA website, “was declared the highest growth prospects by global payment leader Master class.”
These achievements though could not be of much joy to city dwellers facing Rubbish Mountains, outbreak of cholera and the failure of the Authorities to lay any planning plans to modernize the city.
Throughout the week-end, Dr. Oko Vanderpuiye and his AMA were on the carpet from city dwellers who appeared frustrated by the tendency of the assembly and its boss to weigh into areas which were clearly beyond them.
On Joy News television’s prime news analysis programme, Newsfile, Mr. Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, Editor in Chief of the Crusading Guide newspaper, said his suspicion on the events leading to the name-change fiasco “is that the failure of the Presidency to reign in the AMA boss since he began changing the names of important monuments in Accra, has unnecessarily emboldened him to take decisions beyond his reach.”
Mr. Baako said the lackadaisical attitude of the Presidency towards the name-changing spree by the AMA, under Dr. Vanderpuiye’s leadership was a clue to the name-changing fiasco.
The editor told his audience that when the Presidency and Parliament refused to speak against the re-naming of national assets, “the seeds of impunity were sown. So we unleashed an octopus in the form of the AMA and its boss to run riots, renaming anything they wanted, sometimes driven by a certain ethno-centric passion. It is such a huge inexcusable blunder,” he asserted.
As Ghanaians await Dr. OKo Vanderpuiye’s date with the President, the verdict on the street is that Dr. Alfred Oko Vanderpuiye, the bearded 58 year-old Mayor of Accra, still clinging to his United States nationality, while managing the capital city of Ghana, has had a ‘bloodied nose’.