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29.05.2019 Feature Article

Class EBS Diaries: Akufo-Addo and his darling boy, Baby Jet - V. L. K. Djokoto

Class EBS Diaries: Akufo-Addo and his darling boy, Baby Jet - V. L. K. Djokoto

The Class Executive Breakfast Show panel, second to none, has been duly convened once more for another thrilling program from 6.30am — 10.00am! As Ghana’s most reliable and result-oriented social advocacy platform, within the Fourth Estate, we offer you a unique perspective with unparalleled access to prominent figures. On the Class EBS, we never shy away from taking on the crook-coddling political establishment!

‘Mr Speaker’, the affable host Benjamin ‘Dapper Ben’ Akakpo; the sharpest, most authoritative voice on primetime radio, is in the chair. He is joined by ‘Cosy Phillip’, the audacious Felicity, the bold Karim and yours truly. Today, the invisible hand, our producer Robert Israel, is seated unassumingly behind the console with a mug of expresso. He has clearly burnt the midnight oil!

The central issue for our discussion on the show this morning is the Black Stars, Ghana’s senior men’s football team.

I am sure you have already read, if not heard, that Asamoah Gyan, our very own Baby Jet, has reconsidered his decision to retire from the Black Stars. Eugene Arhin, the man responsible for communications at the Presidency, and more often than not, the bearer of bad news, has confirmed this. President Akufo-Addo made an eleventh-hour call to Baby Jet and seduced his dear darling boy to remain a part of the national team. How sweet?

Jordan Ayew must be having sleepless nights though! There is no doubt that he would have been the man to lead the frontline of the attack for the Black Stars throughout the entire African Cup of Nations (AFCON) competition, as a regular first-team player, if Gyan had stuck to hanging his boots. I can relate, Jordan. And although he may never confess this publicly, so can the Vice-President, Bawumia; that’s exactly how he is going to feel when Akufo-Addo unflinchingly announces his bid to run for a second term as President of Ghana.

Dapper Ben thinks Mr President has no business telling Kwesi Appiah how to run his team. “He had better focus on more pressing issues”, Ben whines. Yes, he is right on-point. But, let us consider this, they may just be bosom friends after all. So, perhaps, it wasn’t that the President was manipulating the team selection. Mr President probably just made a casual call to Baby Jet saying “I have an offer you cannot refuse, buddy”.

I am sure you can all remember when President Akufo-Addo visited Asamoah Gyan during his highly publicised house-warming party – at a time when Baby Jet had been fighting a rape case in court – leading up to his campaign bid for the Presidency, in 2016.

His campaign team clearly, for some strange reason, saw no danger in aligning their candidate with an alleged rapist. In hindsight, Gyan was vindicated and the New Patriotic Party landed a massive victory. That, right there, provides great insight into the bromance between Nana and Baby Jet; they’ve fought together through their lows to the higher-ups and are still going strong!

So, I am not surprised at all that Nana has intervened. After all, to wit, there’s no other player on the team that he’d much rather enjoy running up and down the field, soaked in sweat, and kicking a ball about than his beloved Baby Jet. And the fact of the matter is that, Akufo-Addo and Baby Jet find themselves in a similar position: they’re both entrusted with hitting the target!

Crucially, why would Nana intervene? That’s pretty obvious: it is a core part of the President’s agenda to land the first AFCON that the Black Stars have won since 1982. Akufo-Addo, presumably, needs this milestone at all cost! I am all for this.

Although Ben doesn’t endorse Nana poking his nose into the internal affairs of the team, we both agree what an AFCON victory could do for a hopeless and depressed people. Things are not looking up, times are hard and even with a magnifying glass, it is difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. If the Black Stars can deliver the cup, after almost four decades, the morale of the general public would be lifted.

Meanwhile, Felicity and Karim are terribly pessimistic this morning: they hold a jolly twisted and unpatriotic position that an AFCON victory for the Black Stars would be a huge distraction from the realities that peasant-Ghanaians face. Baloney! They believe a victory for the Black Stars would result in some sort of nationwide amnesia about the underachievement of the Akufo-Addo government, within its first term of holding office. That is bunkum! If you ask me, they’re just a bit bitter bunch of doubting Thomas’.

However, Phillip’s tactical analysis is spot-on today and strong enough to neutralise the two naysayers. The phone lines are hot! Sports enthusiasts are calling in and showering phrases on his views. But seriously, is he marketing himself as a prospective member of the Black Stars management team? I have found myself nodding in agreement with all his arguments, which is rather rare. The most convincing one is this: Asamoah Gyan is our highest goal scorer of all time, with 51 goals in 105 matches.

Whatever your views are, the numbers are on his side. Phillip rounds up with an inspirational speech in a manner that deserved a standing ovation, saying “Baby Jet can ginger us on to victory at the African Cup of Nations. A house divided against itself cannot stand, so let us put our weight behind the Black Stars and bring the cup back home,”. Well, posterity will judge his 15 minutes of fame.

Data Politico
Data Politico, © 2019

This author has authored 62 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: DataPolitico

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