Let’s call this much ado about shame. I am talking about Nii Lante Vanderpuye’s ax-picking with the executive operatives of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), on grounds that the outgoing Minister of Youths and Sports was not given a heads-up on a meeting between a delegation led by longtime Akufo-Addo spokesman, Mr. Mustapha Hamid, and the members of the senior national team, the Black Stars. The delegation carried a message of felicitations from His-Excellency-Elect, in particular his desire for the Stars’ players to end the country’s long nightmare of championship drought and famine with a win at this year’s African Cup of Nations’ Tournament, AFCON 2017 (See “Nii Lante Peeved! ‘I Wasn’t Informed About Akufo-Addo, Black Stars’ Meeting’” MyJoyOnline.com / Modernghana.com 1/2/17).
This eleventh-hour ax-grinding would be amusing if the personality involved were other than the former Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development. I followed a bit of his political antics when the National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for the Odododiodio Constituency, in Central-Accra, held the latter junior cabinet portfolio. Other than incessantly poor-mouthing his political opponents, I don’t remember that much of anything remarkable that Mr. Vanderpuye contributed towards the indescribable filth that threatened to swamp the nation’s capital. This was during the height of the open-defecation season in the giant open-gutters and, indeed, the entire drainage system of our nation’s capital.
I am also quite certain that Mr. Vanderpuye did not leave much, by way of memorable and readily recognizable footprints, in the sands of the country’s rural development terrain. What I remember most about Nii Lante Vanderpuye is his scandalous and patently criminal attempt to stop the legal demolition of private homes and squatter residential structures constructed in river beds and waterways, fingered by city engineers to have been primarily responsible for seasonal floods that had cost the lives of several hundred Accra residents going back at least the last five years. I vividly remember Mr. Vanderpuye standing in front of bulldozers and other earth-movers, like a Chinese student at Tiananmen Square during the late 1980s, obstructing the court-ordered and government-sanctioned demolition exercise, on the cynical grounds that failure to stop the demolition exercise stood to profusely bleed the Mahama regime at the polls.
Nii Lante would actually re-demarcate the swathe of the demolition exercise right on the spot, without any regard, whatsoever, for expert advice and /or opinion. For him, it was all about the votes. At any rate, his obstructive politics appears to have paid off, somewhat, as he was able to hold onto his Odododiodio parliamentary seat amidst the December 7 Akufo-Addo-captained massacre of the Mahama forces, that saw the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lose its parliamentary majority.
We also know that Mr. Vanderpuye is lying when he claims not to have been informed about the Hamid delegation’s meeting with the Black Stars’ players, because the spokesperson for the GFA, Mr. Ibrahim Sani Daara, tells us that the Protocol Director of the GFA had sent a note way beforehand, informing the Sports Minister about the impending courtesy call on the Stars’ players by a delegation dispatched by our President-Elect. We know Nii Lante is a pathological liar because his public and widely reported verbal abuse of Nana Akufo-Addo does not make him out to be a man who is likely to honor an official invitation to meet with the Black Stars in the presence of the man whom Mr. Vanderpuye scarcely a month ago described, in Rawlingsean terms, as one who was far too short to occupy the Flagstaff House.
The fact of the matter is that Nii Lante Vanderpuye is a shameless “Takashi” man who even in the face of his party’s epic defeat, still finds a luxury in ineffectual rank pulling. To hear him display his trademark proprietary arrogance makes for primetime drama at the Efua Sutherland National Theater, the real name of the National Theater, were Ghanaians enlightened enough and respectful and mindful of the great significance of our national heroes and sheroes.
Dear reader, just take this reading from Nii Lante and draw your own conclusions: “As the sector Minister empowered by the Constitution and the President of our august Republic, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, I ought to have been the first person to have been informed about any contact between the Black Stars and the delegation from Mr. Dwarf. I think I deserve to be appreciated for going around looking for money for the Black Stars to be able to go to camp in Gabon.”
Well, the last time we saw him in the news, Nii Lante’s deputy was swearing to show Mr. Kwasi Nyantakyi and his men at the GFA “where real power lies” after the December 7 general election. Of course, now we know where real power lies – in the Nima residence of President-Elect Akufo-Addo. Then again, who said his arms were long enough to box with God?
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