Here in the United States of America, for example, his ratings would literally have shot through the roof, as it were. Unfortunately, in Ghana, when the popular comedy act by the name of OB Amponsah, in his New Year’s Edition of what was “Hip-Hopically” dubbed as a “Decemba2Rememba,” joked that the last name of the once witheringly defeated Presidential Candidate of the country’s main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), meant “corruption” in the Hausa language, the most widely spoken language in the West African sub-region, Mr. Amponsah, who is a professionally trained optometrist, was swiftly issued death threats via his cellphone, text-messaging system and his electronic-mailing system as well (See “I Received Threats, I Was Devastated – OB Amponsah Opens Up on ‘Mahama Joke’” Ghanaweb.com 12/28/19).
The irony here is that the propaganda shills of both the former President and the opposition political party which he is leading to near-certain irrecoverable defeat in the December 2020 general election, are still going around peddling the patent falsehood that their candidate is the most tolerant of all the candidates currently vying for the Presidency and Jubilee House. “It was tough. There was a point [during which] I cried,” the embattled standup comedian told a reporter with Ghanaweb.com recently. He went on, “The threats were crazy. I don’t know how they got my number. When they call you and they don’t get you, they text you the insults…. At one point I was [really] scared for my life.” What I have deliberately left out of the preceding quote reads as follows: “But I had some NDC folks calling me [and telling] me that they’re trying to calm nerves. It really got me [to tell you the truth].”
Well, I decided to cut out the latter part of the quote because it curiously and predictably sounds as if the besieged comedian was under duress to give his would-be-assailants and possible killers an undeserved diplomatic facelift. As well, while putting together the present piece, I came across another news headline, I did not pause to read the detailed contents of the same though, in which the infamous National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for the Ningo-Prampram Constituency, in the Greater-Accra Region, was reportedly threatening to report the popular comedian to Charterhouse. I suppose the latter establishment is the sponsor of OB Amponsah. Now, that is a vintage exhibition of the much-touted NDC tolerance for you, Dear Reader. Now, as to why virulent party hacks like the Ningo-Prampram Member of Parliament would have this popular comedian’s entertainment career frozen in its tracks, just as our subject appears to be fast rising to the auspicious level of an institution in his own right, is anybody’s good guess.
The comedian himself has given us some clues. Here is the most striking among them: “It took a lot psychologically.” I suppose what this veritable victim of the virulent backlash of an otherwise totally harmless political-entertainment joke means is that the barrage of harassment has taken a significant toll on his mental health. For, this is what he had to say about this rather savage onslaught in his next breath: “I think [all] Ghanaian acts need [the assistance of] psychologists to finetune [their minds] before [they] go on stage because I really needed that yesterday. I was down. I was [completely] broken.” I suppose what Comedian OB Amponsah actually meant was that anybody living in Ghana today who is seriously considering a career on the standup comedy circuit needs the services of a professional psychologist or therapist, that is, a clinical psychologist, to psych him or her up; that is, to mentally fortify them against terrorist threats like the NDC operatives’ before deciding to mount the stage to deliver the best and most-controversial performance of their life.
But, of course, what OB Amponsah undoubtedly means here goes well beyond the personal or individual concerns of a single very successful comedy act like himself. Rather, it points to the fast-rising tide of the tactical and strategic use of the politics of intimidation by the key operatives of the country’s main opposition National Democratic Congress to literally decimate our entertainment industry, because one standup comedy act or two may be standing in the way between Jubilee House and the veritable Animal House that is the Kokomlemle Headquarters of the National Democratic Congress. And then having effectively eviscerated the country’s entertainment industry, the same antisocial and antilabor terrorists would turn around to virulently fault the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party for being a Brother-Kill-Jobs.
Ultimately, the bottom line here is that at least for the next several weeks or months, Comedian OB Amponsah may be in dire need of some form of police protection, with certified bullies and political terror-mongers like Mr. Samuel George Nartey in hot pursuit and hellbent on stopping this brilliant and fine comedic act in his tracks, well before OB Amponsah becomes too well established and popular to be easily intimidated or totally canceled out by political rodents, vermin and criminally minded parasites like Sam George. We hope the Inspector-General of the Ghana Police Service (IGP), Mr. James Oppong-Boanuh, is listening intently and studiously watching.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
December 28, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs