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03.05.2015 Feature Article

KNUST Prof. Amoako Baah's Teaching is Almost Useless (3)

KNUST Prof. Amoako Baah's Teaching is Almost Useless (3)
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We understand that Dr. Amoako Baah obtained his doctorate from the University of Tennessee, USA. Much of Tennessee is in the service area of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a water distribution and "electricity-dam" constructed by the US government as a development-cum-electricity-cum-industry-cum-anti-poverty program for Tennessee and surrounding States. We imagine Professor Amoako Baah used TVA electricity while he was a student in Tennessee. But now, Prof. Amoako Baah has a problem with infrastructure - electricity, buildings, dams, roads, etc., constructed by the CPP under the leadership of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

Further, Prof. Amoako Baah's statement that Lincoln, "...the best president the...USA...has ever had..." never built anything is startling for one who earned his Ph.D. in the US and is now in fact the head of a History Department in a university in Ghana. The statement is at once illogical. It is not based on any level-headed fact, certainly not on history.

The idea is, it is "leaders" of nations, not the "young", who provide funds by whatever means and order to be built facilities and monuments, precisely the type we call public goods, (e.g., TVA, Akosombo, Tema Harbor, etc.). We are not talking about Mobutu-size mansions for the greedy, or Boigny-cathedral-mosques, for those who fawn at foreign religions.

No!. Public goods, in the secular sense, serve all the people but do not lend to equal individual responsibility for development, payment, upkeep, or renewal. In fact, even within this construct, there are always power relations (who will get what, how much, when, how (Lasswell, 1936). Bizarrely, in the Prof. Amoako Baah scheme of education and development, we can teach-and-talk, and talks-and-teach, and teach-and-talk some more. But, we will never get to build anything worth the public pesewa. After all, logically, in a strange twist to "Murphy's Law", our professor would have us learn that today's "young" who will be the "leaders" of tomorrow will also teach-and-talk, talk-and-teach, and teach-and-talk some more, and not have to build "Nothing"!

Further, to say that President Abraham Lincoln, US Civil War commander, who was president 5 short years (1860-1865) and was assassinated by a confederate secessionist merely 6 days after the surrender of the southern States in 1865, to say that Lincoln "built nothing" is a sign of laziness of thought, lack of historical perspective, and myopic vision.

By our count, there were 13 American presidents before Lincoln, thus Lincoln had a path already trodden, even with the attempted confederate secession. But, Lincoln re-built and repaired the Union spirit when he saved the Union. Further, because of the (1) plural character of the people, (2) institution of slavery and (3) suspicion of governmental power, etc., the Founding Fathers crafted a Constitution that severely limited the role of the "Federal Government". In that sense, and with the benefit of hindsight, the US Founding Father themselves were myopic. Even so, Lincoln taxed. Lincoln taxed to build!

The rundown has it that Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin at Sinking Springs Farm, Kentucky, in 1809. He was shot in Washington DC 14th April, 1865, and died a day later. Is Prof. Amoako Baah ready to tell us Lincoln lived in log cabins as his education and career took off and evolved in space - from Kentucky to Illinois, to Washington, DC?

Not so fast, professor! In fact, in 1837, when Lincoln first took up residence in Springfield, IL, he reportedly moved into a "row of newly built brick buildings at Hoffman Row." Significantly, as a member of the Illinois legislature, Lincoln was a primary force, that same year, behind the relocation of the Illinois state capital from Vandalia to Springfield, the current state capital where President Obama declared his candidacy for President in 2008. Then in 1856, "the Lincolns" had their residence re-built, from One-and-Half Story to 2-Stories, in Springfield. On the state capital thing, just ask the Nigerians what they did in Abuja and Suleja when they moved their national capital from Lagos in 1976. You build buildings, roads, bridges, and lifes when you relocate capitals. That is what you do!

In 1861, after being elected President, Lincoln approved a 3% federal income tax (the first in the US) on incomes more than $800.00. The next year, Lincoln signed the "land grants" law known as the "Homestead Act" precisely for the purpose of building-up the United States, going West. Notably, President Lincoln approved the first major segment (1,087 mile (1,749 km)) of the Union Pacific rail track for the US Transcontinental Railroad, from Council Bluffs, Iowa (on the eastern side), to the Missouri River). In fact, the record shows that Lincoln himself selected the Missouri River as the "..."Transfer Depot" where up to seven railroads could transfer mail and other goods to Union Pacific trains bound for the west..."

From here, all fair minds will conclude that the idea that Lincoln built "Nothing" is a farce. In fact, the same fair minds will surmise that Lincoln would most likely have built a lot more for the US after the devastating Civil War. But, Lincoln was overthrown by murder through an assassin's bullet, at the hand of a confederate sympathizer in, 1865.

Lincoln built, and Lincoln saved the US "Union".

But Kwame Nkrumah, as a Pacesetter, was Ghana's "George Washington", right from the start when there were no roads trodden in all of Africa. Nkrumah led others and founded the Ghana Nation we know today, the same that has stood the test of time since 1957.

Let no one fool anyone! In the 27 March article referenced in Part I about Dr. Nkrumah's "One-Man-Show" and "almost useless" education, our professor proposed that: "...instead of competing with Ivory Coast...whose resources are almost the same as Ghana’s...(both)...can join forces as the world’s largest and second largest cocoa producers...to sell their produce to a cartel...".

Here, the historical panache and critical lens of Prof. Amoako Baah are shamefully exposed: Chairman Prof. Amoako Baah has no clothes.

The professor is exposed because according to Ghanaweb commentator "United Ghana", in fact "...Nkrumah built huge silos so Gh & I. Coast could control price of cocoa but the Ivorian govt eventually backed out on the orders of their French overlords..." In fact, African history shows us the Ivory Coast, like most "Francophone" African colonies, did not sever the umbilical cord to their French colonializing power, France. As a result, the independence of the Francophone countries since Gen. Charles de Gaulle has always been a farce - "neo-colonial", as understood by Nkrumah, way back then. Indeed, France spearheaded the overthrow of Nkrumah because of their (France's) own "permanent interests" in a colony that was next door to Nkrumah's Ghana: France did not want a union of African nations that potentially could threaten French (and western interests).

So now, Ivory Coast, after suffering from civil wars in 2002-2004, then 2011-2012, and xenophobic strife, and with fewer of its hinterlands developing on account of their own choices, now sees it beneficial to take Ghana to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea over a parcel of sea at Cape Three Points that has always been within the orbit of Ghana, even as the world has been turning since 1957. Did Ghana make an enemy of the Ivory Coast, professor?

Strangely, in 2015, our professor is proposing Ghana form a cocoa cartel with the Ivory Coast.

How absurd! Today, Prof. Amoako Baah should look at the Ivory Coast as a neighbor best separated by a Euclidean fence beginning at Cape Three Points, as a neighbor whose puppet masters still remotely control their African lands, as a neighbor with mostly unshared, incompatible, interests.

Fact is, Ghana has always been richer and safer compared to so many other African countries that were poorer without the Nkrumah vision, without the CPP development agenda, without the African-centered universal ideologies at bottom of all the physical and human development that were crowned by "the best of education" Africans could get in Africa during 1957-1966.

So go figure that one out for us, Prof. Amoako Baah!

Finally, we can state that Prof. Amoako Baah fails even basic lessons in Ghanaian history and more. Seems to us our professor may have forgotten all the lessons he took: Lessons in geography; economics; business; law;' political-economy; regional planning; etc. Those would have been on topics such as demographics, amalgamation, personal income, economies of scale, employment, market size, education, and Rural-Push/Urban-Pull. That is , assuming our professor bothered to take one or more of those courses in the first place. You see, according to our professor, "...Nkrumah would have found it very difficult to implement some of his ideas in modern times looking at the growth in the country’s population from 4.5 million as at independence to 25 million in 2010..."

Here, Prof. Amoako Baah fails our elementary data accuracy test, in addition to rigor of analysis and inference.

The historical data shows that the population of Ghana at independence in 1957 was not 4.5 million, but rather 6 million, an under-estimate of 25% by Prof. Amoako Baah. On the other hand, while his data for the population of Ghana in 2010 is bother-line accurate, we nonetheless wonder why Prof. Amoako Baah presented 2010 data while he was standing level-footed on the ground at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi, in 2014.Shouldn't a professor of his caliber, one with many graduate assistants working under him, shouldn't the professor know Ghana's population, if he must attack the dead and others still living in a public forum?

But, all that said, we must inform the reader this: That is just half of the problem with respect to Dr. Amoako Baah's population theory!

History tells us most of the support for Nkrumah were in the urban centers, with massive support from workers, retired soldiers, and market women in those areas. The urban areas supported Nkrumah sooner, and more massively. Further, the same history, urban theory, regional geography, etc., inform us there are factors known as rural-push/urban-pull. In short, cities have been getting bigger in size, and bigger in population. The population of Ghana increased from 6 million in 1957 to 26 million in 2014 when Prof. Amoako Baah spoke. During that period, the urban areas (places with 5,000 or more people) increased their percentage of the population from about 23% in 1957 to about 55% in 2014. Consequently, how is it that we cannot expect Nkrumah to have done even better, or found the road a little bit easier, in 2014, when the "urban" areas were represented by over 50% of the people? (Or, is our professor signaling about the size of modern bombs in the hands of confederate secessionists?)

Nice try, professor! So, as opposed to the theoretical, the fundamental "practice" question for Prof. Amoako Baah is this: When did "very difficult" become synonymous with inaction, failure, cynicism, 20/20 hindsightism?

In closing, while we strongly believe that Prof Amoako Baah has the freedom and the right to say whatever he wants consistent with law, we also know that as a public employee and the head of a major university department in Ghana, Prof Amoako Baah has moral, ethical, professional, and legal responsibility to be reflective and balanced in his public utterances. KNUST is not an NPP or PP university. The professor ought not to make one-sided critiques against other political "traditions" on the peoples' cedi. His public utterances and teachings, as detailed in this multi-part essay, are bald-faced one-sided, illogical, devoid of facts, and in some cases, mere conjecture. In fact, as the Head of the Department of History and Political Studies at KNUST, Prof Amoako Baah is gradually becoming a public agent and apologist for the Danquah-Busia-Dombo-NPP confederates some of whom do not even believe in a Unitary Ghana. From our vantage point, this is not an appropriate mode of public liaison for a professor who is funded by all the people, especially when he does not take time to to tell the people those are his own opinions, and not that of KNUST.

Again, Prof. Amoako Baah's arguments reviewed in this essay are off balance and illogical. Further, they fail the test of history on many fronts. They violate ethical standards of professional social science organizations. More important, in totality, those arguments make little theoretical or scholarly sense. To boot, leadership is not a theoretical object for arm chair prognosticians! Now in 2015, the mess on the webpages of the KNUST History and Political Studies Department, proves that, simple as it to do, even with the "lazy thinkers" nor under Professor Amoako Baah, in that department.

For an African who in the past wrote about complexities and the relevance of context in social analyses, practically little of Prof. Amoako Baah's 2014-2015 statements can be said to be founded on reflection and critical thinking. Our professor no longer recognizes the same complexities in social, economic, political, and cultural arenas, precisely the place where practice must occur.

In fact, it is bewildering that in totality, political scientist Prof Amoako Baah does not appear to even recognize or respect the significance and influence of "power" and "control" in national affairs, as well and in the affairs between Nation-States, beyond the individual who may have charisma. What, after all, is the usefulness of "not creating enemies", when your own nationals and colleagues are in cahoots with foreign agents to secede and/or subvert your Parliament-sanctioned national development and security agenda? How many bombs did the Confederate South lobe on Lincoln before that tragic event in that Washington theatre?

We think that by his serial pro-NPP-centered utterances, Prof. Amoako Baah has crossed the ethical threshold. If we may remind Prof. Baah, even if he is not a member of the American Political Science Association (APSA), their recommendation that "...Departments should adhere strictly to the rule that those faculty members who wish to endorse or sponsor a political position or activity do so in their own names...Departments as such should not endorse political positions...", is a reasonable one for any one in his position earning a paycheck through public taxes and other public means.

Again, when was the last time Prof. Amoako Baah told the media he was speaking just for himself?

More significant, we believe that students working under Prof. Amoako Baah are not being fairly or properly served in the spheres of critical thinking, independence of thought, and balanced /reflective analyses.

There is nothing challenging of students, there! In fact, it is a mighty short road from these one-sided utterances to bullying of not only the students, but in addition, of Prof. Amoako Baah's fellow faculty members, teaching assistants, and employees of KNUST at large. In fact, these careless pronouncement may not positively motivate prospective students, potential faculty members, or donors. They do not inspire confidence in the entire Department of History and Political Studies at KNUST.

Regretfully, we must submit that all these Prof. Amoako Baah "teachings" are "useless". More important for this age, there is little that is corroborative, or affirming, or theoretically-grounded!

We suggest the professor pay some attention to real scholarship and how his entire department communicates with the public and the media, to practice beyond talking in the classroom. He could start by being more reflective and by re-vamping the department's online presence to make those webpages more effective, informative, and full of "useful" details about publications, research proposals, awards, and real and effective "collaborative" initiatives . We are saying Prof. Amoako Baah ought to re-assess his public profile as a respected member of the Ghanaian university community, the academy at large, and whatever professional organizations he may now be a member. Fact is, we'd really hate to think that Chief Psychiatrist Dr Akwasi Osei of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has a point there - with a university professor in a public university!

Yes - the students, faculty, and employees at KNUST deserve better!

Kwame Nkrumah's Ghana deserves a lot better!! SOURCES (Updated from Part I): 1. HORST W. J. RITTEL and MELVIN M. WEBBER: Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning, Policy Sciences 4 (1973), 155-169

http://www.uctc.net/mwebber/Rittel+Webber+Dilemmas+General_Theory_of_Planning.pdf

2. Harold Dwight Lasswell, Politics: Who Gets What, When, How (1936).

3. Paul J. Magnarella: Assessing the Concept of Human Rights in Africa: A review of Human Rights in Africa: The Conflict of Implementation by Richard Amoako Baah, https://www.du.edu/korbel/hrhw/volumes/2001/1-2/baah-magnarella.pdf.

4. Nonso Okereafoezeke, Africa Today, Volume 50, Number 1, Spring 2003 , 121-123, Baah, Richard Amoako. 2000. Review of Human Rights In Africa: The Conflict Of Implementation, http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/africa_today/summary/v050/50.1okereafoezeke.html

5. Abraham Lincoln Chronology: The Papers of Abraham Lincoln,

http://www.papersofabrahamlincoln.org/resources/abraham-lincoln-chronology

6. David Amoah Boateng, Ghana the failed state, Ghanaweb, 24 April 2015, http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=355590

7. First Transcontinental Railroad, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Transcontinental_Railroad.

8. American Political Science Association. A Guide to Professional Ethics in Political Science, Second Edition, Revised 2012.

9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Ghana#Urban-rural_disparities

10. www.GhanaHero.com/Visions 11. www.GhanaHero.com/FOIB - Are You Pickable, Mr. Politician - The Pan-African "Freedom of Information Bill" song. Listen to it! Get a FREE copy!

©Prof Lungu is Ghana-centered/Ghana-Proud. Prof Lungu is based in Washington DC, USA. Brought to you courtesy www.GhanaHero.com©1 May 15.

Professor N. Lungu
Professor N. Lungu, © 2015

The author has 183 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: ProfLungu

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