Deciphering Akufo-Addo’s Understandable Anger

Feature Article Deciphering Akufo-Addos Understandable Anger
FEB 14, 2024 LISTEN

Hmmmm. life!
If only we mortal we realize what our ancestors deciphered a long time ago - everything in life is, ultimately, vanity.

It ever ceases to amaze me whenever I see ordinary human beings, when invested with some power, however little, strut around with the flamboyance, ego, and pomposity of a peacock.

I saw this with former President John Kufuor. Called the Gentle Giant, he was anything but gentle given the way and manners he (ab)used the state’s power to humiliate his predecessor, the late JJ Rawlings.

Yes, let’s rake old muck; lest we learn nothing from history.

Mr. Rawlings was no Saint John, he pissed off so many people in his time, but the sight of a former president of the Republic of Ghana lugging his own luggage at airports, because he was stripped of normal protocols, ridiculed the country. The withdrawal of normal Embassy courtesies to a former president is condemnable.

Put simply, presidents should not consider state facilities as personal properties to be dispensed at their whims and caprices. Now bound to his wheelchair, the once-dominant Kufuor must have regrets over some of his actions.

A few days ago, a friend sent me two videos with the same content but of different durations.

It was a video of an address the current president of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo gave at an occasion. It was a spectacle to behold. I watched in surprise as a forlorn, worn-out, and dejected NAADA lambasted his party members who were fast abandoning his fast-sinking ship. Gone were the president’s normal buoyant, arrogant, belligerent, and often pugnacious mien. NAADA cut the picture of a man cut down to size, and humbled by the future that awaits him as he enters the twilight of his, let’s not pretend to be polite, abysmally-inglorious rule.

Sorry, Nana, I could have told you so. A man with your education and your exposure should have known that power, like life itself, is transient.

You were given the chance and the opportunity to redeem a life ambition to rule Ghana, what did you do with it? You failed miserably and comprehensively. It is simply impossible to be charitable and rate you beyond mediocre in any index that we choose to adjudge your tenure in office.

No, sir, do not attempt to blame those who chose to abandon you as your ship began its slow descent into the abyss, you should rather try to blame yourself.

The good people of Ghana gave YOU their mandate. You disappointed them big time. Please, do not be crossed if your lieutenants decide to run away from you. They are not responsible for YOUR failures; you are.

No one likes to be associated with failures. Have you asked yourself what you would have done in their stead, Mr President?

My Yoruba people say: Ẹsẹ̀ gìrìgìrì nílé Ańjọ̀fẹ́, Ańjọ̀fẹ́ kú tán, a ò rí ẹnìkan. / Lots of feet always rush into the home of a generous person, but all ceased upon his death. [Be perceptive: not all those who associate with or hail you love you deep down; some it's for what they can get.]

A digression: My young comrade and friend, Marcus Lindsford, was among fellow panelists on our Amsterdam Radio Frititi Sunday programme who accused me of rooting for Akufo-Addo when he squared off against John Mahama in the 2016 elections. In vain did I try to convince them that I simply was doing my job as an impartial analyst. I told them that, unlike them, I live in Ghana and even though some top NPP people have told me about NAADA's uncompromisingly vindictive and petulant character, I still predicted his victory. My reason was simple: like his then counterpart in Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, John Dramani Mahama turned out to be a huge disappointment to those who believed that their (mine) generation would save Africa from the perennial embarrassment of governance deficiencies.

End of digression.
Now, that we have put NAADA in his place, let’s turn our attention to the main object of the president’s understandable anger and lamentations - his Vice President, Muhammadu Bawumia.

I don’t like to talk ill of people, living or dead, but the VP has always appeared to me like one unsavory character with neither credibility nor dignity. Bawumia also simply does not inspire confidence.

In one of my articles, I even questioned how one with his lack of seriousness and with the integrity of a famished hyena managed to earn a PhD. As evidenced by numerous videos one can find on the internet, Vice President Bawumia is one SHAMELESS LIAR. The best advertising firms will have problems in selling Bawumia as a paragon of credibility.

While one could pardon a lying politician (it can be said to go with the territory), what is unpardonable in most African cultures is disloyalty and betrayal.

In my Yoruba culture, the two are considered among the most grievous of sins. Let me illustrate with two trips down the memory lane.

When on the 28th of July 1966, the northern elements of the Nigerian Army embarked on their counter-coup to avenge the January 15, 1966 Igbo-led coup that wiped out the political and military leaders of the Northern and the Western regions, the then Head of State, General Aguiyi-Ironsi, an Igbo man, happened to be visiting Ibadan, the capital of the Yoruba Western Region. His host, Colonel Adekunle Fajunyi, refused to surrender his guest to the coupists. The duo were bundled into a jeep and killed together.

Fajunyi merely did what any noble Yoruba person would have done; protect your guest at all cost. Fajuyi was no celluloid hero, but he knew that there was no way he could have lived with himself or with his Yoruba people if he had betrayed Aguiyi-Ironsi. After all, the Yoruba people say: Iku ya ju esin lo / Death is preferable to ignominy.

The second story transpired during the Shagari kleptomaniac rape of Nigeria in the 1983 pseudo-elections. SDhagari's National Party of Nigeria (NPN) which rigged its way during the elections miscalculated very badly when it believed that it could placate the people of Ekitiland by giving the stolen governorship mantle of the then Ondo State to an Ekitiman in the person of Akin Omoboriowo, instead of the winner, Pa Adekunle Ajasin, an indigene of the smaller Owo ethnic group. The rest of Nigeria outside Yorubaland was shocked when the Ekitis rejected the results and embarked on mammoth riots which were ended only by a military coup that brought General Muhammadu Buhari to power.

The Ekitis pride themselves on their principled stance for justice and equity. Although they love their culture, the Ekitis abhor clannishness or ethnic bigotry; they believe that every individual must be given the chance to prove his mettle in free and fair contests.

Another story that is worth mentioning in illustrating the premium that the Yorubas place on loyalty is the sad saga of Chief SL Akintola and his boss, the revered Chief Obafemi Awolowo, regarded as the greatest Yoruba after Oduduwa. Despite his tremendous oratorical power, Yoruba never forgave Akintola for his betrayal and traitorous acts against Awolowo.

Let’s also consider the case of the twice president of Nigeria, General Olusegun Obasanjo. Despite his military, political, and personal achievements, no Yoruba person will ever mention the Obasanjo name among the Greats of Yorubaland. Again, the reason is simple; Obasanjo is considered a Traitor. In other places, Obasanjo would be hailed as a hero, but not so among his Yoruba people; he is not Omoluwabi (The child begat by god) enough for them.

A people of proverbs, plenty of Yoruba proverbs encapsulate the emphasis that the people place on not only integrity but also on fidelity. These two are germane to our discussion on treachery and betrayal:

Kókóró tounjẹ ẹfọ, inu ẹfọ ló ngbé / The insects that eat the vegetable reside under the vegetable.

Bi iku ilé o ba pani, todé o le ri nipa / If internal death does not kill us, external ones cannot kill us.

A friend with whom I discussed the issue told me that our people in Northern Ghana are also noted for their sense of loyalty. He wondered what they would make of their prodigal son.

Let’s round this piece up with this note that I penned on VP Bawumia a few months ago:

A Note on Ghana’s VP M. Bawumia
Mark Twain is the wittiest satirist I have ever come across.

Take this: “There are lies, dammed lies and statistics.”

The Vice-president of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is one fella who likes to throw statistics around. That’s understandable when we remember that he’s a much-touted economist and a former Central Banker. What is difficult to understand is when a politician like Dr. Bawumia, who purports to represent citizens, appears to live in a parallel universe that makes him look totally out of touch with the reality of his people's lives.

While the VP gallivants around and beams like a Cheshire Cat that stole the canary, the sad reality is more and more citizens are sinking deeper and deeper into economic quagmire.

Of course, for high state officials in Africa like Bawumia who take as much freebies from the state as they can get away with, life in Ghana is one bed of roses.

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that things continue to get harder and harsher for the average Abena and Kwabena.

I took a walk around my neighborhood in Kasoa today and discovered that more businesses are boarding up and closing down. The Yoomart Mall is gone, and so is its giant warehouse. The nearby bank has closed shop, ditto the pharmacy. The pictures didn’t project an economy that’s on the right trajectory like Dr. Bawumia is claiming.

VP Bawumia will do well to remember the admonition of the late African Economist, Professor Adebayo Adedeji: Any economic policy that marginalizes people is doomed to failure.

“But while they prate of economic laws, men and women are starving. We must lay hold of the fact that economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings.” Franklin D. Roosevelt.

There is simply no way that Bawumia can successfully dissociate himself from the monumental failures of the NAADA regime. Like Nixon’s deputy, Spiro Agnew, Bawumia was the favorite unleashed attack dog of NAADA's government. While the president seldom veered into personal insults, Bawumia was all over the place ridiculing and lambasting his opponents with veritable personal insults unworthy of his office.

Having benefitted so tremendously from the largesse of Akufo-Addo, including the lavishing of state resources on his wife, Bawumia should be called out for his treachery.