I have often advised my students that "You are only as safe as the goodwill and sanity of the members of the company that you keep." And then, I would deliberately and solemnly add that "Each and every one in this classroom is as safe as the goodwill and sanity of each and every student plus me, your professor." I have been teaching college-level English, Social Science, African History and African-American Studies for close to a quarter century. And during this period, I have once been held at gunpoint and have a pistol flashed at me by two different Jamaican-born ex-convict students, each of whom had served a prison term for murder at New York City's Rikers Island Maximum Security Prison.
For the moral instruction of those who may not fully appreciate the dire implications of having former Rikers Island inmates as your students, let me offer you a few sobering statistical figures. Located in the Borough of Queens, New York, Rikers Island contains nearly 15,000 inmates with nearly 10,000 monitoring prison wardens/officers. It is one of the ten most notorious prison establishments in the United States. Its most famous "graduates" include Tupac Shakur, Lil Wayne, David "Son-of-Sam" Berkowitz, Plaxico Burress, DMX and Sid Vicious. Rikers Island is the flagship of New York City jail facilities; it consists of ten separate jail facilities or the equivalent of what may be aptly termed as a complex.
In other words, we are talking about the geographical equivalent of the University of Ghana campus composed entirely of prison houses. Maybe I am exaggerating a bit; but I simply want the dear reader to appreciate the fact that I have a remarkable understanding of what happened to Mr. Adams Mahama, the acid-slain Upper-East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). That it may have been an insider job makes this heinous act all the more heart-wrenching. Maybe the Mahama Presidency and Parliament have to come up with an Adams Mahama Law strictly regulating access to and use of the lethal chemical called acid.
The "up side" of Mr. Mahama's tragic demise regards the fact that the deceased, who expired in the morning of Thursday, May 21, 2015 had been able to live long enough and been surrounded by all the right people and credible witnesses to hear his final first-hand account regarding the identity of his assailants and the precise nature of his fatal assault. And those "right" people and credible witnesses, we are reliably informed, included the wife of the deceased, who had allegedly gone to the rescue of her beloved husband, police officers charged with investigating the incident, friends and other members of the family of the deceased.
The testimonies of these witnesses ought to lead to a positive outcome, in terms of the apprehension and prosecution of the criminal suspects and their sponsors. For it quite clearly appears that the two alleged male assailants who fatally doused Mr. Adams Mahama with liquid acid were acting, either obliquely or directly, on behalf of some principals who may well be highly placed officials of Ghana's main opposition New Patriotic Party (See "'I Warned Adams About His Safety A Day Before He Died'" MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 5/22/15).
At this juncture, about the strongest lead to the effective and airtight cracking of the Adams Mahama case is that which has been made public by the NPP Nasara Club Coordinator, Mr. Kamal Deen Abdulai, who reportedly claimed to have picked up reliable information pointing to the imminent endangerment or threat to the life of Mr. Adams Mahama. Mr. Abdulai reportedly claims to have envisaged the slain man as an elder brother for whom he regularly went to bat. And so we expect Mr. Abdulai to relay or retail the source(s) of his evidently solid information on the threat posed to Mr. Mahama's life to the appropriate investigative authorities, as well as the right leaders among the executive ranks of the New Patriotic Party.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
May 22, 2015
E-mail: [email protected]