The twice-defeated candidate of the New Patroitic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo is back in the news again for all the wrong reasons. He has once again come up for mention after making an ethnically explosive comment at the Brunei Suite, SOAS, University of London recently. This comment would have pass without notice but judging from his previous ethnocentric outbursts, this issue has been elevated to the front pages of public discourse. Hear him: “Our illustrious chairperson, Lord Paul Boateng of Akyem and Wembley, respected Ghanaian Foreign minister, Hannah Tetteh, Ghana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Prof Danso-Boafo”
“To complete the protocol, let me use this occasion also to congratulate publicly (albeit belatedly) our chairperson for his membership of the famous British House of Lords. It is a fitting tribute to a distinguished career in British politics. As a fellow Akyem, I am happy to note that he is flying the flag in that august body.”
I find Nana Akufo-Addo’s referral to Lord Boateng as a fellow Akyem as the expression of ethnic sentiment.
Much as l agree that Lord Boateng should be accorded all the privileges that go with his title, I disagree vehemently with Nana Akufo-Addo’s introduction of the ethnic flag after his acknowledgment of Lord Boateng.
There is no dispute as to the request made by our compatriot to the Queen to use the title-Baron (Lord) Paul Boateng of Akyem and Wembley, when the later decided to honour him with a life peerage. However, there is everything wrong with Nana Addo sounding tribalistic with words such as “a fellow Akyem,” at the event. How about a fellow Ghanaian? I do not begrudge individual excellence of members of the British ethnic minority, so, l respect Paul Boateng’s attainment politically, albeit in moderation. With regards to Nana Addo’s tribal sentiments, it is obvious he reveres Akyem and that is to be understood. He is a native but if you are a political leader courting votes from all Ghanaians to become President, and you want to acknowledge a successful Ghanaian who happens to be an Akyem just like you, it requires tactfulness.
Couldn’t Nana Addo address Lord Boateng by his title and leave it as such? What does he mean by “my fellow Akyem?”
Nana Akufo is recognized globally as a Ghanaian political leader. Nobody in England cares about which tribe he belongs to. It was pure pettiness for him to make that connection between himself and Lord Boateng. It also smacks of ethnic bigotry and political faux paux. If you want to be a leader of an entire nation, you carry yourself in that manner.
Nana Akufo-Addo was petty. He is behaving like the 18th century Bourbons of France. He has not learnt his lesson and has forgotten the trouble his infamous “Yen Akanfuo/all-die-be-die gaffe created for him. That is the truth.
Every Ghanaian has a heritage and ancestral lineage. We all come from one tribe or the other but Ghana must come first. Ghana must come first because it is the state that gives us all passport for us to travel around the world. We don’t have an Ashanti passport; neither do we have a Ga passport, Akyem passport, Anlo passport, or Dagbani passport. Ghana comes first because it is the republic we all expect to provide us with security, education, good health care, better roads to travel on, etc, etc. There will never be a Fante water Company, An Akyem Electricity Company or an Ewe police force.
Indeed, there is no Akyem state in Ghana, no Ashanti Kingdom, no Fante Confederacy and there’s definitely no Anlo state. The new reality is that all tribes have been subsumed by the republic called Ghana and Ghana must always come first.
Ghana trumps Ashanti, Dagomba, Ga-Dangbe, Kusasi, Akyem, Nzema, Anlo and all other tribes. No tribe is better or more important than the other and we all have no choice than to put our tribal allegiances aside and join hands to build a better Ghana.
If, therefore, you think your tribe (whichever it is) comes first before the Republic, you are very sick with an identity crisis. If however, you are not ready to place Ghana above your ethnic interest, I’d suggest you take your tribe and go and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine and leave us to build a better Ghana for our children’s children.
Nana Addo will do himself a world of good if he realizes that his Akyem tribe is part of a sovereign state called Ghana. Some of us are very keen on building a prosperous nation in which our diverse, ancient tribes work together to form a beautiful, tightly-knit tapestry of a modern, progressive nation. Enough said.