By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
Ghana’s former Minister of Youth and Sports continues to make a big nuisance and a damn fool of himself. And I strongly believe that I am more than qualified, by dint of age, wisdom and relative emotional and intellectual maturity, to make such frank and dispassionate assessment of the young man. Well, in his latest wound-licking outburst, Mr. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah would have well-meaning and progressive Ghanaians believe that the players of the Black Stars disrespected President John Mahama by flatly and aptly refusing to talk to the latter immediately prior to their World-Cup encounter with Germany in Brazil (See “Black Stars ‘Disrespected’ Mahama – Afriyie Ankrah” Graphic Online 7/7/14).
The fact of the matter is that Mr. Afriyie Ankrah, were he ministerially competent, would have striven to dignify both the President and himself by promptly ensuring that the hardworking young men who put their talents and loyalties at the disposal of their country got what was due them financially long before they embarked on their historic trip to Brazil. I also don’t believe that Mr. Afriyie Ankrah paid any remarkable attention to his high school history lessons, else he would have realized that the first Ghanaians and Africans to travel to Brazil during the middle of the last millennium were war captives bound for chattel enslavement.
For me, personally, however, the situation was even more infuriating, in view of the fact that this was not the first time that our dedicated soccer players had been given short-shrift treatment by our leaders. And here ought to be promptly recalled the fact that while he was Vice to the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, Mr. Mahama’s self-acknowledged boss and mentor had the grotesque impudence to abjectly disrespect the members of one of our World Cup-winning junior national teams.
Paid a courtesy call and in legitimate expectation of being duly honored and rewarded for their heroic efforts on the global soccer theater, my good, old Uncle Tarkwa-Atta would rudely and shockingly tell these triumphant players to, literally, go and massage their “You-Know-What,” for “We will reward you at the proper time.” Did such callous reneging on his prior public promise a dignified way for any head-of-state to present himself before our young men?
Among the Akan, whose name Mr. Afriyie Ankrah clearly appears to be vacuously sporting, we have a maxim that says that it is the self-disrespecting, or ignoble, adult who routinely dips his fingers into his children’s cookie jars. We shall shortly deliberate on the globally scandalous matter of the ferrying to Basilia of some $3 million, in hard currency, on Mr. Mahama’s official presidential jet in a belated and nauseatingly amateurish attempt at mollifying the justifiably rebellious 2014 Black Stars’ World-Cup players.
As far as I am concerned, pathologically politicizing Ghana’s 2014 World Cup participation, as done by the reprobate likes of Messrs. Afriyie Ankrah and Joseph Yammin, was largely what effectively jinxed our chances for any remarkable advancement at soccer’s most coveted tourney. But that President Mahama had evidently deemed it all-too-seasonable for Mr. Yammin to flagrantly and divisively deny non-National Democratic Congress supporters of the Black Stars free tickets to Brasilia in support of our national team, is all the more to be pitied. It is also more than good reason enough for our soccer lodestars to have flatly refused to “Skype it” with Mr. GYEEDACRAT.
I mean, here we are in a country where newly elected parliamentarians are readily and routinely afforded individual grant sums of $50,000, in the specious name of auto-loans, and equally humongous sums of home rental and/or acquisition allowances, well before these representative-elects have set foot on the threshold of our august National Assembly, talking about the need for the Black Stars to have privileged patriotism over enlightened self-interest. And you wonder why we are not deserving of our chaotic and scandalous comeuppance?