National Cathedral Project Must Go On!
It has been debated ad nauseam by supporters and critics alike, so I would not dwell on the question of whether the Akufo-Addo-proposed National Cathedral is a good proposition at this time or not. On the other hand, what I have learned from this debate is the insufferable arrogance of both supporters and opponents of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo across political and religious divides. At the end of the day, what matters is the fact that unlike what some of us have learned about the illegal decision by the Mahama regime to collaborate with the Turkish government to build a Mosque in Accra, the Christocentric National Cathedral proposed by the President is a private-tribute project to God, or Divine Providence, that is to be wholly funded by philanthropists and the project’s proponent or advocate himself (See “Akufo-Addo Pledges Ȼ 100K for National Cathedral” GraphicOnline.com / MyJoyOnline.com 12/28/18).
It was quite fascinating to read volumes of protest articles in which the authors presumed to lecture Nana Akufo-Addo on what God, or Divine Providence, desired from His/ Her supplicants. Some have even spoken to the issue of the policy priorities of the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party (NPP), when it is quite obvious that the present Administration is the most policy-focused and responsive of all our Fourth-Republican governments. What is important and instructive to learn here is the fact that the proposed National Cathedral is a multipurpose facility that, when completed, will cater to the needs of all Ghanaian citizens without regard to religion or creed. Indeed, about the only argument that I have been convinced to ponder over a bit is the question of Eminent Domain, or the peremptory local-space rights of the proposed National Cathedral vis-à-vis that of other official taxpayer-funded buildings presently occupying the land space earmarked or proposed for the National Cathedral.
Here, too, I find most of the criticisms to be too cynical and invidiously jaundiced to be taken seriously. Indeed, the utilitarian value of the proposed project in the long haul, far outweighs the estimated cost of either relocating and/or demolishing the architectural structures currently occupying the proposed site. I am also quite certain that this is not the first time that any architectural structures, official or private, have been marked down for demolition to make way for the construction of other more modern structures deemed to relatively more significant than the ones before then. We also learn that just this past December 28, 2018, a Special Fundraiser for the construction of the National Cathedral was held on the forecourt of the State House, as part of what had been dubbed The Full-Circle Festival, a collaborative celebration of the global African community, which brought home Hollywood mega-stars like Idris Elba and the renowned international fashion model Naomi Campbell.
The afore-referenced event was also reportedly attended by Mr. Ebro Darden of the popular New York City radio station 97.1 FM, also known as Hot-FM. Among the dignitaries on the local political scene to attend the fundraiser were Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia and Ghana’s Parliamentary Speaker and retired political scientist of the University of Ghana, Prof. Mike Oquaye, and Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo. At any rate, what is significant to observe here is the inescapably central role that Christianity and Divine Providence plays in the life of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; which is not to imply here that Ghana’s former Attorney-General and Justice Minister is parochially Christocentric, for Nana Akufo-Addo is equally open to all other Theocentric faiths, including Islam, the second-most-important major established religious faith in the country.
Of course, we all recognize Ghana as a constitutionally liberal and secular democracy. But it is equally worth underscoring the fact that the values upon which our highest and most sacred instrument of governance is based is Judeo-Christian-centered which, ultimately, implies a heavy foundation of Traditional African Humanism going back to the great Ancient Nile-valley Civilizations.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
January 13, 2019