By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
STuesday, December 29, 2015
Folks, I am thrilled beyond description at this time of the year because of what Okoampah-Ahoofe, the resident pesky pest of Ghanaweb and other online media, has girded his loin to do with me. It is not the first time, though; but this time, I am more than well-togged for his kind of rhetorical balderdash, guided by his deceptive sense of Akan superiority as an Akyem, even though I hear he has some Ewe blood in him and has ever lived in the Northern part of the Volta Region to discover his bearings in the world.
I have read the opinion piece written by him, entitled “Then why is President Mahama on the campaign trail?”, and laughed it off as the inner-workings of a seriously frustrated mind. It lacked the energy to provoke any thoughtful discussion of issues. All that it did was to expose his own lack of intelligence.
Here is a caveat. For all these years that I have been writing opinion pieces, I haven’t really deigned it fitting to take on any other writer of opinion pieces expressing their thoughts on happenings or seeking to undermine me for whatever purpose. It is all because of my understanding and acceptance of the fact that every writer writes from his or her own perspective (a position of situatedness), not necessarily bent on forcing his/her viewpoints down the minds of readers to be accepted as the truth inviolate. I have tried to rein myself in, even when some won’t do so and rush to attack me for reasons best known to them.
One of them is Kwame Okoampah-Ahoofe, Jnr., of the Nassau Community College (no stranger to anybody conversant with the trend on online media), who has been quick to hide in the shadows, looking for opportunities to attack others and emerging with what he sees as the height of intellectual and rhetorical accomplishment, but which settles flop as a confirmation of his lack of self-confidence and betrays his penchant for counter-productive political jingoism. Sane readers of all that he churns out will quickly dismiss him for what he is, as is evident in comments passed or no comments at all attracted by his pieces.
As a teacher of a graduate-level course on “The Writer and Style”, I have known that language use must be guided by certain factors, especially the currency of words (if they are still in common use and can be readily understood by readers) or whether such words are in national use and not limited to a group of fogeys lagging behind the times. Okoampah is known for using the kind of English that Dr. Samuel Johnson and Co. won’t dare use, even in their time in the 18th and 19th centuries. And we are in the 21st century. Despite comments from his readers to guide him, he is still unmoved. Such a stiff-necked writer can’t successfully teach journalism and creative writing to community-level students. He is endangered.
No need to even talk about how he struggles to achieve relevance, beginning with all that he had earlier thought he was in the Danquah Institute (the worst SHIT-TANK to have surfaced in Ghana); then, forming his own Sintim Missah Ideological Institute (or something of that murky and nonsensical coloration that faded as soon as announced). We are even not talking about why he constantly used the institutional image of the Nassau Community College to back up his personal identity only to drop it for something fuzzy like the “Garden City”, whatever that means.
Isn’t it ludicrous that he would turn to attack anybody emerging with ideas that he cannot accommodate? He has done so to almost all writers in the online media, creating the impression that he fears the prominence that these writers get while he fades. How many people react or respond to his drivel? Zero. I have monitored public reaction to his writings and can confidently say that he has lost it, which explains why he has turned himself into a hatchet man to attack others doing better than him—the hallmark of a typical rhetorical psychopath. Such a celebrated fool has no place anymore. But it provides me the opportunity to take him on.
A reasonable writher will not be as judgemental as Okoampah and others of his low-brow ilk are. Clearly, it is all a matter of the Panopticon conundrum, depending on who is standing where and seeing what!! Chinua Achebe aptly captures it in his perspectival representation, saying that the world is like a mask, dancing. For those wishing to see things clearly, they need to be well positioned.
In reacting to my opinion piece on “Don’t Ghanaians already know President Mahama?’, he characterized me as “a notorious ethnic chauvinist and a National Democratic Congress’ propagandist”. I wonder what I am “notorious” for. Misuse of the word “notorious”? To whom do I qualify as “notorious”? And who says that I am an “ethnic chauvinist”? Of course, I have been bold to say that I am no supporter of the NPP and that I favour the NDC. And I have given reasons to support my stance. Nowhere have I advocated ethnicity as the basis of my political persuasion. So, why should Okoampah characterize me as an “ethnic chauvinist”? Dear reader, go through all my over 600 opinion pieces to tell me what I have failed to see but which Okoampah alone has in hand to paint me black as an “ethnic chauvinist”.
Readers of my opinion pieces who rush to paint me as anti-Akan make me laugh a lot, clearly because they fail to separate reality from their politically jaundiced impressions about me. Indeed, I have written to say that the NPP is nothing but an Akan-based party, drawing inferences from the outcome of elections in Ghana to say that the party has no clear national representation as does the NDC. And in an opinion piece tracing that issue, I asked whether the NPP was Asante and Asante the NPP (which angered so-called “intellectuals” of the Asante extraction to threaten me with whatever won’t cut butter). It’s a long story to be told one day.
Thus, for Okoampah to root his characterization of me in that drivel makes me laugh out really loud. It is so because no day passes by without his own portrayal of Ewes in a manner that does more damage to the very Akufo-Addo cause that he has deceived himself to be fighting through his opinion pieces. He has been petulant enough to brand all Ewes under the term “Trokosi”, creating fertile conditions for a lot of political backlash against the cause for which he is using his daily writing of opinion pieces. It’s just like Victor Owusu’s infamous statement that “Ewes are inward-looking”. The Akufo-Addo that he is projecting won’t benefit from that rhetorical mischief. I pause here to wonder if he really knows what is at stake.
In his opinion questioning my take on the rebranding of the 116 MMT buses, he has left traces for me to know how unbalanced he is upstairs. A stylistic analysis of his opinion piece leaves me wondering whether he really knows what to do as a writer. The first two paragraphs lay the foundation for what one expects him to develop; but he digresses into irrelevant issues only to return to the premise in the final paragraph without developing anything to guide the reader:
“Well, if it were really true that President Mahama had such an unassailable household-name recognition as to be practically and absolutely in no need of having his portraits, together with those of other strategically selected past Ghanaian presidents, sprayed onto state-owned and operated buses, why would Mr. Mahama be frenziedly touring the country and vigorously campaigning for reelection, on the heels of the just concluded “Arise and Build” electioneering campaign tour of the nation by his main political opponent, Nana Akufo-Addo?”
In effect, nothing came from him for us to know why I was wrong and he, right. Talking about President Mahama’s sole candidacy has nothing to do with the matter on board. As to why he would even wonder why President Mahama should be on the campaign trail, I need not comment.
Folks, I do not intend to waste time and energy flogging this dead horse, having already dissected it in an opinion piece that I wrote long ago, entitled “The fuddy-duddy called Okoampah”. If you need more on my take on him, just read it on ModernGhana.com. Then, if you really want to know more, just visit Okoampah’s Facebook page to see how many friends he has. In this advanced age of technology for networking!!
I don’t want to be so personal beyond what happens between us online; but I wish that Okoampah will contact me personally to be told what his own colleagues at the Nassau Community College had told me about him when they participated in events honouring me for winning the most prestigious teaching award of the Long Island University in April 2013. I am more than willing to reveal it all to him so he can shape up properly or be shipped out. Since that time, he hasn’t improved standards. He may be deceiving himself, but the truth of his precarious situation will soon catch up with him.
Then, he may not want to wonder why he settled at a community college (mostly for drop-outs) and not a full-fledged university where one has to go through the rigorous process of recruitment, competing with brains in one’s field of specialization. Those of us who went that way have a lot to share with him to guide him if he ever decides to wet his feet elsewhere when defeated by the fates at Nassau Community College. On a more interesting note, I plan to visit there soon to know him as he is so I can deal with him better. Probably, seeing how his head is screwed on his torso may give me a better panoramic view of him to know why he writes the way he does. Otherwise, I’ll leave him to continue stewing in his foolery.
I shall return…
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