The heading of today’s piece may come as a big surprise to many readers of this column. Knowing me to be a dyed-in-the-wool member of the Great Elephant, many are those who will wonder what has shaken my faith and trust in the big animal.
Indeed, I’ve sometimes wondered why some sympathizers of the Elephant would even contemplate questioning the need to die for the party. I used to think such persons were traitors.
But now I know better. Experience has taught me not to blame them. I’ve now felt their pain and I know how it feels. No wonder the saying, “He who feels it, knows it”.
Abusuapanin, you know your nephew is one who rarely discusses personal issues in this column. But he begs to be excused because his beef today is personal, although it may resonate with many folks in the Elephant fraternity.
As you may already be aware, I was among the hardworking few who graduated with master’s degree at the University of Ghana last November. Soon after graduation, I quickly worked on few applications in the hope of gaining admission to pursue a PhD programme in a very good foreign university.
For sure, anyone who knows will tell you that a doctorate application process is a very tortuous one, whether home or abroad. Aside the strict academic requirements, which include gaining a master’s GPA of 3.0 or above, one must also, provide academic references from two supervisors or professors to vouch for one’s competence. In my case, I also had to go through a two-hour interview via Skype.
You can, therefore, imagine my joy when I received an e-mail from one of the universities notifying me that I had been offered a place to study a PhD programme. Considering the fact that University of Ghana, which is the highest ranked in the country, was ranked in the 801- 1000 band in the world in 2018, I felt elated getting the opportunity to improve upon my research skills from a university rated among the top 20 in the world. But my happiness was short-lived as all efforts to get a scholarship to fund my programme came to naught.
With the exception of ‘Protozoa’, who helped to get my application to the scholarships secretariat, no party executive or government appointee was ready to help. What happened at the scholarships secretariat is a whole topic for another day. How a secretary, who has no clue about what a PhD programme entails, is made to interview prospective candidates on phone still beats my mind. Obviously, the charade of an interview, which lasted not more than 3 minutes, was a clever way of rejecting those of us who have no godfathers in the corridors of power.
You see, I did not complain when I lost a similar opportunity to study for a master’s programme under the eagle- headed Umbrella. I consoled myself that I lost the opportunity because my party was then not in power. I’m therefore very shocked to see my own party folks treat me like a ‘leper’.
My love affair with the Elephant started 27 years ago when I was in sixth form. I’ve since served the party faithfully and never demanded anything in return. If today I have such a life-changing opportunity and the Great Elephant is treating me like an outcast, then it is only natural that I rethink my love affair with the strong animal.
I’m particularly pained not only because my party has left me in the lurch, but also because my external family members, most of whom belong to the Umbrella stock, sneer at me. They do not say anything to my face, but the wry smile is enough to tell me they laugh behind my back.
I’m not alone in this. Many folks riding on the Elephant find themselves in the same situation. A few weeks back I was at the Jubilee House, where I chanced upon many aggrieved party folks. Most of them felt neglected by the very party they love. Looking at their sullen faces, I wondered how anyone could convince them to evangelize and spread the good works of the Elephant government in 2020.
Am I sad? Yes, and even more. I’m livid, disappointed, frustrated, shocked and irritated. But my love for the Elephant is unconditional. My only worry is that, like many other aggrieved party folks, I wonder where to get the motivation to preach the gospel according to Nana Dee in 2020.
I know some may accuse me of washing the party’s dirty linen in public. But I’m only inspired by the Akan saying which literally translates, “If you do not sell your ailment, you won’t get a cure for it.”
Maybe, just maybe, a big fish in the ocean will read this piece and come to my aid. Until then, I cannot help but continue to wonder if the Elephant is worth dying for.
See you next week for another interesting konkonsa, Deo volente!