The whole of the Keta township went into mourning when news broke out that the former Minister of Trade, Hon Dan Abodakpi, Member of Parliament of the constituency had been jailed last Monday. According to a reliable source, men, women and children wept bitterly, a number of them wailing loudly and running along the streets.
The Christians quickly grouped and went into serious prayers; speaking in tongues; seeking God's intervention for the release of their idol, Dan Abodakpi. The traditionalists were also said to be pouring libation, calling on the ancestors and local deities to intervene. It was as if a blanket of bad omen was hung over the constituency. Many held vigil, discussing the issue among themselves.
A petty trader, Patience Fattuh who spotted swollen eyes said she had not eaten or drunk anything; not even water, since she heard the matter till yesterday morning. With tearful eyes, she told Daily Guide: 'I think the ten years was too much.
I mean they should have given him a lesser sentence or even released him. We don't want another Selormey,” in reference to the late Mr Victor Selormey who fell sick in prison and died a few days after a presidential pardon. She therefore asked for the intervention of the Government to grant the convict some reprieve.
A medical practitioner who wanted to remain anonymous, described Abodakpi's prosecution as a stab in the back of all well meaning Ghanaians if the so much touted unity of the country was to be taken into perspective. “How on earth do they have to treat such a kind-hearted and humble man like that? This was how Selormey was treated, resulting in his demise and they are repeating the same thing.
How sure will we be that Abodakpi will survive the ten years in prison,” she querried. She argued that many had committed horrible crimes like rape and murder, not to mention the special case of the alleged cocaine barons, some of whom were released for lack of credible evidence. When it was explained to her that the decision was taken by a reliable judicial system, not the Executive, she questioned the neutrality of the Executive. She therefore appealed to President Kufuor to consider the peace of Ghana and release Hon Dan Abodakpi.
Daily Guide learnt that Hon Dan Abodakpi was in the constituency last weekend to chair the 75th anniversary of the Anlo State School, where he donated ¢10 million to the school and another ¢1 million at the funeral of one Mr Ocloo, an NDC member. Majority of the residents lauded his good works in the constituency, indicating that he had touched almost every school and mission in his constituency through donations and other necessary assistances.
It was said that out of his MPs' Common Fund, he had sponsored the education of a number of needy, but brilliant students at Keta. Kofi Ganyo, a fisherman who was at Atiavi, the convicted MP's hometown, alluded that the town came to a standstill when the news reached them. 'People became confused and breathless, some threatening to invoke the gods' punishment upon the New Patriotic Party Administration if their son was not released. He said the Atiavi enclave went berserk with anger and bitterness written on the faces of the residents, some of whom were invoking the 'Torgbi's' for their intervention.
The chiefs, elders and others of the town, he intimated, would be holding a meeting as of yesterday, to discuss the issue and probably send a delegation to the Government to negotiate the jail sentence. A taxi driver also called Dan, deems the whole case a political vendetta aimed at crippling the NDC from coming back to power, by segregating the party stalwarts.
A student, Evans Sodoke of the Anloga Secondary School however, thought differently. He submitted that Abodakpi deserved every bit of the sentence and even more because the issue of corruption was becoming too much” and “we the young ones are suffering.” A clergyman of the Zion mission at Keta gave a divine connotation to the whole saga.
He believed such situations were sometimes allowed by God for a useful purpose which may eventually lead to the sufferer's honour and prestige, but thought the decade-long sentence was too strenuous for the honourable MP.
Regarding the law itself; causing financial loss to the state, an educationist who also wanted to remain unknown, stressed that it should remain in the book because it would serve as a benchmark for the rest to sit up to their responsibilities. He however asked for only 3 years for the convicted honourable legislator.
One fact was evident in all the interactions that many people had the impression the NPP Administration had a hand in the prosecution, causing many to express doubts about the judiciary's independence.
They consequently manifested much bitterness and anger at what had happened, threatening a showdown, come the by-election to elect a new MP. Others posited that even though Hon Abodakpi may be guilty, his sentence should be mitigated.
Daily Guide had a hint that the Keta NDC Constituency executives would be holding an emergency meeting as of yesterday afternoon to deliberate over the case