The inaugural address of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the 5th democratically elected government leader of Ghana’s Fourth Republic, was presented almost without any glitch or hitches, except for those critical moments when the protocol division of the presidency demonstrated ingloriously that it still had a way to go by way of executional professionalism. Here was the newly sworn Head-of-State delivering his maiden and, perhaps, most important official policy synopsis and coughing fitfully and there was not a single presidential aide or orderly to offer him a bottle or glass of water. It was not until his fourth coughing bout before somebody appeared out of nowhere with a glass of water by which time, even as some savvy media operative of the Accra-based Joy-Fm multimedia station tersely put it, Nana Akufo-Addo had already negotiated his turbulent takeoff into autopilot range.
Such primitive ceremonial and cultural blunders are fast becoming an integral aspect of Ghanaian sociopolitical events. Which is why his statement to the effect that “posterity will not settle for third-world standards,” could only have come as inescapably ironic (See “We’ll Not Settle for 3rd World Standards – Nana Addo” Citifmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 1/7/17). And here must be vividly recalled the fact that in March of 2016, the program brochure prepared by the protocol division of former President John Dramani Mahama’s government had Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta listed as “His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Ghana.”
In the coming days and weeks, one hopes the necessary changes will be made to remarkably enhance the quality of the delivery of the protocol department of the Akufo-Addo Flagstaff House, presently renamed Jubilee House, as intended by former President John Agyekum-Kufuor, the man under whose quite prosperous tenure the former Flagstaff House was rebuilt almost from scratch, with a generous combination of grants and loans from the Indian government. And so I guess in terms of protocol, Ghana still has a way to go, as it were. I was, however, flabbergasted that the speech writers of President Akufo-Addo had dared to omit the name of Mr. Kofi Annan, the country’s only Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former Secretary-General of the United Nations.
This omission, for me, was at once egregious and unpardonable, because Mr. Annan is far from a “has been.” Indeed, even long before about 24 hours after the 2016 general election, when he solemnly called on the Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei, to officially announce the results of the presidential election, in order to spare the country needless tensions and the possible outbreak of violence, the most renowned and distinguished Chancellor of the country’s flagship academy, the University of Ghana, was very busy working at the globally famed peacekeeping institute named after himself.
I guess what I am trying to say here is that when it comes to the regard and respect that we routinely afford the most prominent and distinguished personalities among us, Ghana is decidedly still a Third-World country with a long way to go before taking our seat among the comity of the most culturally advanced and civilized nations of the world. In all likelihood, President Akufo-Addo is well aware of this disturbing cultural trend, as in his speech the former Foreign Minister was quick to underscore the fact that 60 years after the British colonialists officially departed the shores of the erstwhile Gold Coast, there is not much that Ghanaians can point to with pride vis-à-vis the remarkable material development of the country, though he felt that the past 24 years had witnessed some level of “consistent development.”
But, of course, in terms of the country’s development index among the league of nations, the former President of the UN Security Council would have a hard time convincing most of his countrymen and women. The country’s 5th Fourth-Republican premier also recognizes the fact of his work being literally cut out for him, when it comes to the professional skills training and job creation for the youth: “We have exuberant and young growing population that wants the best of what the world has to offer and will not settle for third world and developing world standards. We have an adventurous people who are in a hurry for success.”
Clearly, Nana Akufo-Addo has little time to celebrate and/or gloat over his hard-fought and hard-won presidential-election victory. The real test of whether he deserves to celebrate his phenomenal political achievement will pretty much be dependent on the extent of his administrative achievements four years from now. As usual, we shall be studiously watching; and we shall be calling the shots as we clearly and objectively witness the same.
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