Ben Ephson Is a Waste of Time and Brains!
5/20/2012 1:44:28 PM -
For a momentary while, I took to studiously reading his takes on the heady Fourth-Republican Ghanaian political scene, because Mr. Ben Ephson, Jr., reminded me of another Ephson, a lawyer and a remarkable historian who used to have his series of portraits of distinguished personalities of both colonial and postcolonial Ghana regularly published in the country's favorite weekend newsmagazine, The Mirror. That Ephson, who is very likely a close relative of Big Brother Ben, actually got me interested in reading the biographies and autobiographies of great Ghanaians of the Twentieth Century, including Drs. James Emmanuel Kwegyir Aggrey and J. B. Danquah, and, of course, the rather presumptuous autobiography of Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first Prime Minister and President.
I must also promptly confess that I particularly relished the biographical portraits of the great and progressive invested traditional Ghanaian rulers, among them Nana Ofori-Atta I, Nana Ghartey (of Winneba, I forget which number on the Efutu stool) and Nene Azu-Mate Korley, of whom my maternal grandfather, the Rev. T. H. Sintim, of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, fondly spoke and deeply respected. I don't know whether such affection had anything to do with the fact that some of my aunts had attended Krobo Girls' Middle Boarding School (and spoke fluent Krobo) as well as one or two uncles having attended PRESEC, when it was located in Somanya. I also enjoyed the biographies of several other equally significant invested Ghanaian rulers whose names presently escape me in the Ephson series.
And then shortly thereafter, I firmly, albeit rather sadly, came to the conclusion that this obviously younger Mr. Ephson could not be taken with even half the seriousness with which I had approached the esthetically fluid historical writings of the older and far more studious and astute Mr. Ephson. If memory serves me accurately, the older Mr. Ephson must have sported the first-name of 'Isaac' or some such ancient Biblical name.
Anyway, what makes the younger Mr. Ephson dramatically different from the older Mr. Ephson is that the younger Mr. Ephson woefully lacks the objective and scholastic temperament of his older relative. This is hardly an accident; for the world of Fourth-Republican Ghanaian journalism is decidedly one of bread-and-butter orientation, if the kind reader knows exactly what I mean. And so all too sadly, I have watched Big Brother Ben recklessly veer from one discursive angle to another, largely based on political expediency. On this score, Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (1469-1527) could not be prouder of his avid Ghanaian student.
Anyway, the subject that we are presently dealing with concerns the Daily Dispatch managing-editor's observation, barely a month ago, that short of the active participation of ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, it would be nigh impossible for a Mills-Mahama National Democratic Congress ticket to re-clinch the presidency in Election 2012. Now Big Brother Ben has gone public, once again, this time rather rascally claiming that, indeed, Messrs. Mills and Mahama have a far greater chance of winning Election 2012 primarily because of the gaping absence of the former strongman-turned-civilian who adamantly and quixotically pushed the candidacy of my good, old Uncle Tarkwa-Atta through three electoral seasons when almost every Ghanaian citizen with adequate gray-matter under her/his skull had virtually concluded that Togbui Avaklasu had a far greater chance of winning an Olympic marathon, butt-naked, than doggedly and persistently pushing the DOA (Dead-On-Arrival) candidacy of the now-President John Evans Atta-Mills.
What is also amusing about Big Brother Ben's take on the political fortunes - or rather misfortunes - of my good, old Uncle Tarkwa-Atta between Elections 2000 and 2008, is his argument that since the then-Candidate Atta-Mills lost both Elections 2000 and 2004 with the full campaign support and active participation of Togbui Avaklasu, it stands to reason that my good, old Uncle Tarkwa-Atta has a far better chance of winning Election 2012 without the active engagement of Monsieur Rawlings, whose 'overactive' participation in Election 2008 actually caused Nana Akufo-Addo to narrowly lose his hitherto razor-thin edge over then-Candidate Mills in the second round of the process!
Well, the Akans have a maxim which says that once you have successfully ferried/forded a river riding on the back of a crocodile, you reward your benefactor with the most fitting insult. And that insult is that King Crocodile has a huge and ugly knob, or protuberance, on the back of his head.
Also, amazingly, albeit deliberately, forgetting that many Ghanaian voters still remember the now-President Mills' lurid play of the sub-ethnic (or Fante) card - (Remember the 'Adepa Wofie a Oye' mantra?) - to wit, a good thing deserves to be kept closely guarded within the family, Big Brother Ben now claims that the Central Region went massively in favor of its now-favorite son, primarily because the people had become convinced that a substantive President John Evans Atta-Mills would brook no interference from his former boss, mentor and patron.
As the Ga-people are fond of saying: 'Wo baa kwee,' we shall, definitely, God willing, be witnesses to the validity of Mr. Ephson's Tuesday-Morning Quarter-Backing, as New Yorkers are wont to say.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of 'Danquah v. Nkrumah: In the Words of Mahoney.' E-mail: email@example.com.