Why the Economic Hardship Logic Does Not Fly with the National Cathedral Project

Feature Article Why the Economic Hardship Logic Does Not Fly with the National Cathedral Project
FEB 4, 2023 LISTEN

He has done a lot of things that make President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo handily a peerless leader on the National Development Front. And then, as it is to be naturally expected, he has also done and continue to do things that many Ghanaian citizens may virulently disagree with. Which, by the way, is all well and good and unimpeachably natural because we live in the fallible realm of humanity. We also, all of us, have ideological differences, both as individuals and groups of individuals affiliated with the various political party establishments in the country. Which is why the controversy surrounding Nana Akufo-Addo’s decision to construct the National Cathedral in Ghana’s capital city of Accra comes as only a matter of course or a controversy that is all to be expected.

Which is also why facile arguments predicated on the fact of the snail-paced economic recovery rate of the country as a sound argument over which to slam the brakes or put the kibosh on the National Cathedral Project does not hold water or fly in the face of common sense and existential reality. The fact of the matter is that virtually every single project of fundamental utility or major national significance, including the construction of the Accra-Tema Motorway, the finest highway in the country to-date, was constructed at a time when the economy of Ghana was not much better developed or in a any significantly better shape than it is presently. And yet, the relatively nonesuch visionary that he was among his peers and extant generation of Ghanaian leaders, President Kwame Nkrumah wisely ignored ardent political cynics and critics like the future Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia, the main parliamentary opposition leader and went right ahead with the project.

Today, when it comes to any critical discourse on the subject of the general caliber of the country’s leadership and Ghana’s development, his enormous personal foibles and epic character flaws and all, President Nkrumah still stands tall and unquestionably in a class all by himself. But what I really want to highlight presently is the widely held American concept of “Multitasking,” which simply means that both as individuals and groups of individuals in society, each and every one of us is naturally wired to be able to do or undertake a multiplicity of tasks at the same time. For example, you can go to college or even middle school and high school and at the same time work for commensurate salaries and wages, contrary to what my 60-year-old-plus generation of Ghanaian youth was taught by our parents and grandparents and our leaders while we were growing up.

It is, in short, this practical inability to multitask that is the bane of our existence and practically to blame for the unsavorily snail-paced development rate of our country. Thankfully, in progressive and visionary leaders like “The Little Man from Kyebi,” we, finally, have the kind of leadership that Ghanaians really need and definitely deserve. That is, we have leaders who can within a nanosecond’s flick of a switch move the country from the grossly benighted and neo-primitive or neolithic age of “Dumsor,” as typified or exemplified by former President Mahama, to the present Golden Age of “Sor-Sor.” You see, except for his scandalously capricious intransigence vis-à-vis the imperative necessity to removing Mr. Kenneth “Agyabone” Ofori-Atta from the functionally and administratively oversized Finance Ministry, Nana Akufo-Addo has absolutely no “classmate” when it comes to evaluating the relative individual achievements of all five of our Fourth-Republican Presidents.

Which was also why it came as absolutely no surprise to your truly when recently he came across a news story in which Candidate Alan Kyerematen, on a pre-2024 presidential electioneering stumps, in the Asante regional capital of Kumasi, reportedly claimed to be the mirror image and, in effect, the ideological and political younger twin-brother of the very Candidate Akufo-Addo that Alan Cash, as Mr. Kyerematen is also widely and popularly known and called, unforgettably and inexcusably betrayed in the heated runup to the 2008 Presidential Election and, again in the leadup to the 2012 Presidential Election. Back then, as this author vividly recalls, in the proverbial playbook of the Kumasi Mafia Capos – comprised of Messrs. John “Gentle Giant” Kofi Diawuo Agyekum-Kufuor; Kwadwo “Amunamuna, the Perpetually Scowling” Mpiani; and, yes, you guessed right, Dear Reader, Alan “The Prince of Presidential Entitlement” Kyerematen – Candidate Akufo-Addo was a desperate born political loser who was having an extremely difficult time coming to terms with the fact that he was not destined to ever be elected President of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana, a title and a majestic patrimony, we were told, that almost exclusively belonged to the membership and the leadership of the Kumasi Mafia.

At any rate, Dr. Henry Herbert Lartey, the founding-leader of the so-called Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), comes to the National Cathedral Debate rather much too late, and then to so lamely raise the patently pedestrian and facile argument of Ghana’s present economic hardship being too fragile to warrant the construction of a National Cathedral. His argument is lame and at once farcical and downright comical as well. You see, other than the one brief a fleeting moment of the slain Lt.-Col. Ignatius Kwasi Kutu Acheampong-led National Redemption Council (NRC) junta of the globally celebrated Operation Feed Yourself (OFY) agricultural bonanza, there has never really been anytime since the immediate postcolonial era when Ghana was not under any major or significant economic stress, the worst of which, in our own time and generation, was the apocalyptic period of the late Chairman Jeremiah “Jerry” John Rawlings-led Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) junta, from 1983 to 1990, when Ghanaians were literally faced with extreme starvation.

You see, we need to be truthful to ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. As my late mother used to say: “The one great problem with us, Ghanaian citizens, is our morbid fear of the truth.” Let the truth set us free, as the immortalized anonymous sage was known to say.

*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
February 1, 2023
E-mail: [email protected]