The Deputy Coordinator of the National Youth Council, Prince Derrick Adjei says Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo may not have been acknowledged during the Oguaa Afahye festival by President J.E.A. Mills because he was probably drowned in the crowd owing to his height and stature.
Organizers of this year’s Oguaa Fetu Afahye in the Central Region have been accused of sidelining the NPP flag-bearer during the course of the festival even though Nana Addo was invited by the chiefs.
President Mills is also reported to have ignored Nana Addo when he was greeting the people. He refused even to mention Nana’s name when reading his speech.
Other members of the ruling government, including regional minister Ama Benyiwa-Doe, also refused to recognise the flag-bearer of the largest opposition party, while the President’s special aide Nii Lantey Vanderpuije is reported to have stopped Nana Addo on his way to greet the chiefs, claiming the government was in charge of the festival.
Speaking on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana programme Monday, Mr Adjei rationalised the apparent state protocol breach, saying whatever took place would not have happened if Nana had stayed within his limits and had not wanted to be accorded a status he did not deserve.
He explained that President Mills is the only President of Ghana and that nobody should attempt to outstage him, especially by a leader of one of the many political parties in the country. Mr Adjei claimed that some supporters who accompanied Nana Addo were smelling of alcohol and so were stopped from going to certain places they were not supposed to go.
He added that it is the government’s prerogative to acknowledge people and that there is no hard and fast rule about whose name should appear in speeches.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s spokesperson and Member of Parliament for Bimbila, Dominic Nitiwul, took offence with Mr Adjei’s comments, insisting that it was an insult to the about 46% of supporters who voted for Nana in the 2008 elections.
Mr Nitiwul claimed that despite all that had happened, Nana was not disconcerted about his being snubbed by the President and his officials during the festival. Rather, Nana Addo is thankful and grateful to the chiefs and people of the Central Region for acknowledging and supporting him by inviting him to attend the festival, said Mr Nitiwul.
He added that though Nana Addo is not upset, he is worried about the display of arrogance by some government officials and their effrontery to turn a festival organised by the indigenous people into a government controlled programme.
He said “whether the NDC acknowledges him [Nana] or not, whether Nii Lantey Vanderpuije stopped him from greeting the chiefs, that would not stop Nana from being loved by the people of the Central Region and 2012 would surely show”. The MP concluded that if he were President Mills, he would be worried about the cheers Nana reviewed from the people as against what he [the President] had.