Ebo Quansah in Accra .
I have had a lot of fun these days about people who claim to love Mrs. Charlotte Osei, the immediate past Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) so much that they are making ugly noises about challenging the constitutional method employed to remove her.
What intrigues me so much is that those swearing to visit all manner of mayhem on this society over her removal, are cemetery silent on the other two commissioners removed together with her. Are Mrs. Osei’s former two deputies – Mr. Amadu Sulley and Mrs. Georgina Amankwa – not entitled to the same treatment as citizens of this nation with Freedom and Justice as its motto?
For me, the removal of Mrs. Charlotte Osei is the best news to hit the newsstands since the proclamation of the Fourth Republic. Her corrupt deals, as exposed by the eminent judges and prominent Ghanaians who sat on the petition to the President, as well as her doggy competence level outlined in the official report aside, this woman cannot be a full-fledged Ghanaian, I dare state.
For a considerable period leading to her appointment as Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Wikipedia listed her as being born in Nigeria with a Nigerian mother. Now the same Wikipedia says she was born at Axim in the Western Region of Ghana. How and when Wikipedia realised that she was born in Ghana is a contentious issue, I dare affirm.,
For me, how Mrs. Charlotte Osei rose to the position of Chairperson of the Electoral Commission is a subject that needs to be researched into. I intend to visit this issue in an article next week.
Today though, is about the conscious or unconscious efforts at obliterating the contributions of Prof. Kofi Abrefa Busia to nation-building, as well as to the political tradition he helped to nurture.
For the records, Prof. Busia was the first African to lecture at the University of Ghana. But the man who led this country as Prime Minister from 1969 until Kutu Acheampong’s coup of January 1972, has only a chair at one of the departments to remind the world of his contributions to higher education in Ghana. Contrast this with the honour done former President Hilla Limann, for instance. The deceased head of state of the Third Republic, was not educated at Legon. He did not lecture there either. But there is a whole hall of residence dedicated to his memory.
I am not suggesting that honouring the memory of the head of state of the Third Republic is wrong. My beef is that Prof. Busia deserves to be remembered in a more pronounced manner at Legon than Dr. Limann, on the basis of the two personalities’ contributions to the growth of the university.
As you read this article, there is only a small statue standing at one corner of the intersection at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra, supposedly honouring the memory of Prof. Busia. It is at such an obscure corner that many commuters and passers-by might be unaware of the stature of the personality whose bust is standing there.
I would like to submit that besides Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the leader of this country at independence who also went on to become the first constitutional head of state of Ghana, no other Ghanaian has contributed more to the emergence of this nation than Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia. But, while the University of Science and Technology, and many other relics, stand in memory of Dr. Nkrumah, there is very little to show for the contributions of Dr. Busia.
If it is not possible to name Legon, where the good old professor was the first African to lecture at the university, surely a department or hall of residence could be dedicated to his memory. I do not believe it is right to ignore all the contributions of the former Prime Minister.
I am a very disappointed Ghanaian to remember the fact that when the Brong Ahafo Region celebrated the fourthieth anniversary of the creation of the region, where Dr. Busia hailed from, nothing was said about him in the whole programme.
If Prof. Busia is not properly remembered nationally, what is happening in the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the ruling political edifice claiming to be inspired by the ideals of Dr. Joseph Boakye Danquah, Prof. Kofi Abrefa Busia and Mr. S.B. Dombo, is even more appalling. Dr. Busia is all but missing in the scheme of things of the ruling party, as members prepare for the polls at Koforidua this weekend.
One does not need any ghost to pontificate on the leader of the party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as leaning more to the Danquah equation, even though his political thoughts were greatly influenced by Busia as well. Officially, the choice of Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia as running mate to Nana Akufo-Addo was influenced largely by his technical know-how, especially as the then opposition leader was tinkering with the idea of circumventing the many economic problems confronting the nation. But Dr. Bawumia’s acceptance by the rank and file of the party owed its genesis to the understanding that his father, Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia, was a founding member of the Northern People’s Party, which merged with Dr. Busia’s Ghana Congress Party and others to become the United Party, fore-runner of the NPP.
The acronym NPP was chosen on the basis of the recognition of the contribution of the Northern People’s Party to the birth of the ruling party of this republic today. The choice of the personalities in public office in the Akufo-Addo regime ought to reflect the character of this tradition, aside of the competent level of such officers. My main problem is that the Busia link in the equation is minimal.
As the party faithful gathers in Koforidua tomorrow to begin the process of electing new officers to run the affairs of the NPP, one would like to appeal to the electorate to remember Kofi Abrefa Busia and what he represents. I hope and pray that those who will cast their ballots will reflect on the missing link in the Danquah-Busia-Dombo equation.
I have nothing against the acting Chairman of the party, who is contesting for the right to become the main man in the NPP. But truth must be stated. The NPP is a conservative party. What this means is that those who have sweated over the years to establish the political tradition and worked to put it in power, ought to take precedent over the latter-day saints.
Mr. Freddy Blay has held the fort well as acting Chairman after the substantive boss, Mr. Paul Afoko, was suspended. But I dare state that his contribution cannot carry more weight than a true-blooded NPP activist like Mr. Steven Ayesu Ntim, his main rival for the top job in the NPP hierarchy, for instance.
Mr. Freddie Blay cannot be more than five years old as a card-bearing member of the NPP. What I do know is that members of the NPP were very generous to him in those days, when the man, once known in the Western Region as Ellembelle Mugabe, contested for a place in Parliament as a member of the Convention People’s Party (CPP).
For the two-terms he served in Parliament, it was the NPP that aided him. The Elephant Family did not field any candidate at Ellembelle, and that was what helped him to reach Parliament House. The NPP also helped to put the late Mr. Kojo Armah, also representing the CPP, in the House.
My understanding is that Mr. Blay out-doored 275 buses he promised for all the constituency offices of the party in this country at a press conference in Accra, yesterday. I will like to state that the gesture is very good, provided the announcement does not turn out to be an election gimmick. I am also aware of all the endorsements coming from regional executive officers of the party throughout the country.
From the grapevine, information is filtering through of many constituency and regional executives smiling all the way to the bank. Apparently, elections in Ghana, in whatever form, have their own co-efficient in the local currency.
There is one other thing I know. In this country, shouting in unison is usually the clarion call. Not many abide by the collective shouting match when electorates are on their own in the ballot box. Remember Sir John and his mantra? “Fear delegates,” my good friend and hall president on campus shouted after losing the 2014 vote.
Many are the claims coming out of the vote expected at Koforidua on Saturday. I learn that one Regional Chairman has had a vision. It is that ghosts of the ancestors of the NPP are directing the electorate to confirm the CPP angle in the NPP jig-saw.
While ghosts are regular features in our traditional beliefs, I am yet to encounter anybody who has actually seen a ghost in the ballot box.
I would like to end by pleading with the electorates to remember Prof. Kofi Abrefa Busia as they cast their votes. That should translate into making Mr. Stephen Ntim, a proud native of the Brong Ahafo Region and a hard-working Busia activist, the next National Chairman of the NPP.
I shall return!