Don’t Promote National Unity on the Basis of Lies and Deceit
Indeed, the greatest bottleneck to our collective, cross-ethnic cohesion may be more the problem of deliberate and calculated ignorance, geared towards the scoring of cheap political points, than the fact of Ghanaian students at our various educational institutions congregating along ethnic and sub-ethnic lines during their leisure hours. For in the final analysis, what makes us bona fide members of a country and nation called Ghana is primarily predicated on the fact of our being affiliated with any of the legally recognized ethnic and cultural sub-polities across the land.
Of course, the preceding reality in absolutely no way rules out the equally authentic Ghanaian identity of those ethnic non-Ghanaians, or even non-Africans, who have voluntarily and admirably opted to become responsible citizens of our great country. And to be certain, this latter group has, by and large, established a remarkably progressive presence that far predates the declaration of Ghana as an independent postcolonial sovereign state. Oftentimes, these modern Ghanaians go by such readily recognizable labels as Lebanese-, Syrian- and Indian-Ghanaians.
In essence, what we really ought to be discussing as a nation is precisely what motivates our youth who, ordinarily, are supposed to be more cosmopolitan and global/transnational in outlook and temperament than their elders, to clam up and seemingly defensively begin to congregate around the regressive polarities of ethnic and linguistic affiliations. Needless to say, our convicted hypothetical contention here is that it is invariably a woeful failure of responsible national leadership that engenders such apparent cultural hyper-myopia among our youth.
We make the foregoing observations based on an editorial recently published by the Ghanaian Chronicle newspaper which also appeared on the website of MyJoyOnline.com (Updated 11/16/09). Captioned “Professor Kofi Agyekum Is Right,” the Chronicle editorial writer shamelessly attempted to insult the intelligence of his/her Ghanaian audience by staking out the following mendaciously extravagant claim: “Ghana has remained one united piece, largely because of the boarding school system introduced by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's Convention People's Party (CPP) government, a novelty that cannot be found in most [sic] countries.”
It is not clear whether such flagrant purveyance of abject mendacity came from Professor Kofi Agyekum or the anonymous Chronicle editorial writer. Either way, the criminal mendacity of such gross misrepresentation of historical facts and reality cannot be allowed to pass without remark. To begin with, the Ghanaian boarding school system, largely the bona fide creation of European Christian missionaries, and which the Chronicle facilely, luridly and erroneously attributes to deposed President Kwame Nkrumah (to speak much less about the outright obscene), far predates the birth of postcolonial Ghana's first premier.
To be certain, in 1910, when this author's maternal grandfather, the Rev. T. H. Sintim, and Dr. J. B. Danquah, his paternal great-granduncle, were pupils at the Akyem-Begoro Presbyterian Middle Boys' Boarding School, the future Ghanaian dictator was barely a year old. Couple the preceding with the 1843 founding of the Akuapem-Akropong Presbyterian Teachers' Training College, Ghana's flagship academy prior to the founding of the University of Ghana, and the abject historiographical depravity of the Chronicle editorial writer becomes even more unpardonable. Interestingly, even in the late 1920s when the future Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah attended the Achimota School, the latter was a boarding institution!
In sum, while it cannot be reasonably gainsaid that Mr. Nkrumah and his Convention People's Party (CPP) remarkably contributed to the development of our nation's academic culture, still, it amounts to a criminal and gross historical distortion for anybody wanting his opinions to be reckoned with any modicum of seriousness to stake such curious and intellectually bankrupt claim.
Needless to say, it was precisely this kind of epistemic bankruptcy that prompted somebody to fatuously suggest, several days ago, that the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) be renamed after Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, the man who most unforgivably betrayed the democratic aspirations of the Ghanaian people and almost single-handedly initiated a half-century of one-party and military dictatorships, and may well have done more than any other African leader to seriously undermine the continental African onslaught against Apartheid and white-minority rule in southern Africa.
It is also ironic that Professor Kofi Agyekum teaches Linguistics at Ghana's flagship academy, the University of Ghana, whose de facto founder, Dr. J. B. Danquah, tirelessly and extensively promoted indigenous African languages and cultural values, as a salutary means of guaranteeing the continent's development and respect among the global comity of nations.
*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 a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and the author of 20 books, including “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Atumpan Publications/Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: [email protected]
Development / Accra / Ghana / Africa / Modernghana.com