By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Monday, Oct. 10, 2016
Folks, after monitoring the public discourse on the United States’ steps toward Election 2016, I am more than persuaded that personal integrity is a major ingredient in the factors determining candidates’ fate on the basis of the electoral decisions made by voters. We in Ghana have our own cup of tea, especially considering the quality of candidates vying for the highest office of the land.
The EC’s disqualification of 13 aspirants for violating the electoral laws speaks volumes. So also do public concerns about the integrity of those such as the NPP’s Akufo-Addo who have been under the searchlight all this while.
The controversy surrounding his status as a trained, qualified r certified lawyer will not end today or tomorrow just because his “attack dogs” are out of leash. It will continue to rage on for as long as it will take for it to be addressed. Those of us who have openly thrown our thoughts into public discourse about it aren’t bothered about the hatchet job being done by his ill-informed hirelings or overzealous apologists writing to insult and threaten us.
Ever since the lid on the controversy got opened in 1977, there has been ample reason for it to be pursued and unpacked for a good purpose. Only Akufo-Addo can end that controversy. Unfortunately, he has no guts to do so. He is running away from his own shadow. Too bad for someone seeking the highest office of the land.
I have been monitoring everything going on about the matter and can say at this point that all that has been churned out by his hirelings and apologists doesn’t solve the problem for him; it complicates it rather. They come out to insult us instead of giving us what we need to know so we see the light.
Apart from the outright insults and stated misrepresentations to obfuscate matters, all those responding to our opinion pieces on Akufo-Addo are persistently thickening the controversy to prove that there is a lot for him to worry about, even if he has chosen the cheapest means to escape scrutiny. He has been mute instead of boldly stepping forward to set the records right.
Is anybody even questioning how he studied French and where/when after leaving London during the period that he should have been studying at the Middle Temple? Yet, when he boasts of being fluent in French, his benighted supporters applaud him with senseless glee. When did he “graduate” from the Middle Temple to enter Sorbonne in Paris (France) to study French (all between 1971 and 1975 before returning to Ghana to be enrolled into the Ghana Bar without any law qualifying certificate)? Another window of controversy opening here?
Over the years, the controversy has put Akufo-Addo in a bad light in public discourse about his status; but he hasn’t been bold to react for us to know what we need to know. We are not the kind to abandon the cause just because his hirelings and apologists are quick to use insults and outright ignorance about his particular circumstance to deflect t attention from the reality that he has been running away from.
I remain dogged in my pursuit of the cause that seeks to get Akufo-Addo to prove his worth as far as his training, qualification, and certification to present himself as a lawyer in good standing as he has done over the past 40 years.
Let me note here that the opinion piece written by Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare that I reacted to in my two-part opinion piece raised more questions than answers for Akufo-Addo. I have also read what a fellow columnist (Professor Lungu) has written to suggest that there is something basically wrong that only Akufo-Addo can set right if he will be bold enough to grab the raging and ravaging bull by its horns and not attempt sneaking behind it to touch its tail.
So far, Akufo-Addo has been looking for the tail of that bull. He isn’t bold enough to join the conversation or to provide the concrete evidence (if he has it) to shame us. What does that fatal escapist approach tell us? Yet, he has been quick to react to comments about his health and many others. Why is he running away from the aspect regarding what has made him what he has been all these years?
Folks, I stand my ground to say that Akufo-Addo is running away from the reality that threatens his final Attempt at biting the political cake. There are too many fuzzy aspects of his status that must be unpacked by him, not his hirelings or apologists. They have failed to clip our wings. Thus, we won’t be perturbed at all. Let them hurl insults at us for daring to question the integrity of their sacred cow. It won’t wash with us because it is vain, just like pouring water on a duck/drake to scare it away!!
Foolishly, they don’t even know how to disarm me, particularly. A lot of them who respond to my probing quests into the controversy about Akufo-Addo ask how I came by my Ph.D. (This ad hominen kind of rhetoric won’t hurt or deter me from going after Akufo-Addo. He has a lot to hide.).
I am a proud product of the Ghana Institute of Journalism, the University of Cape Coast, and the Illinois State University’s English Studies programme, the first Ghanaian to have passed through with much approbation (Why can’t these lazy-minded NPP people Google me and see what I accomplished in my Masters and Ph.D. studies at that respected institution?).
The Website of the English Department of that university has everything about me for them to cure themselves of the abysmal ignorance that hurts their attempt at vilifying me. Let them visit that Web site and be informed that I genuinely earned my academic credentials!!
I return to track about Akufo-Addo. Why is it difficult for him to prove his academic worth? Those misrepresenting my viewpoints and narrowing them down to what they don’t know are causing more credibility problems for him. There is no doubt that he was enrolled at the Inns of Court at the Middle Temple in 1969, even if wrongly adjudged as a Bachelor of Arts candidate. Many indicators raise red flags all over Akufo-Addo, which I have sought to draw attention to.
He earned 3rd class in B. Sc. Economics from the University of Ghana in 1967. How can that he should be enrolled on the basis of a Bachelor of Arts? Then, the missing links crop up as the red flags pop up all the more. Which particular area of law did he specialize in? Here, I will refer to the reaction of one Kwabena Yeboah, one of the many respondents to professor Lungu’s opinion piece:
“There are two types of lawyers—barristers and solicitors. Barristers must gain admission to the bar, but solicitors must have a distinct practising certificates (law degree). Every aspiring lawyer in the early days would have three distinct opportunities to become a lawyer; a) by obtaining a law degree, b) passing a bar exam, c) serving in an apprenticeship.
“Barristers ‘Read the law’, and as Prof. Asare explained, Reading the law consists of an extended internship or apprenticeship under the tutelage or mentoring of an experience lawyer. Some States in the US still allow this practice today. Solicitors must however, obtain a degree and pass Bar exams before they are permitted to practice law…”
Can we be told by Akufo-Addo which of these two areas he went into? I know it for a fact that Mr. Samuel Okudjeto is proud to be a constitutional lawyer, which he openly declared when a critic questioned his credibility. Many others have openly come out to declare their worth in specific branches of the law—and they are respected as such. Not so for Akufo-Addo. What was his area of specialization in the scheme of the Middle temple’s training?
More seriously, did Akufo-Addo go through the apprenticeship option? Was that what obtained at the Middle Temple at the time that he got enrolled? No!! So, why bracket everything around apprenticeship as Prof. Asare and this Kwabena Yeboah have done? Granted that Akufo-Addo even chose the apprenticeship option (if it ever was part of the curriculum at the Middle Temple), could he have been deemed to have successfully undergone his training without being certified?
I don’t think that the Middle temple is so cheap as to single out Akufo-Addo for any preferential treatment that is now bouncing back to hurt him and the institution’s image. I have written to the Middle Temple and received an interesting response.
Don’t tell me that regardless of our concerns about his professional status, he has pleaded and won high-profile cases at the Supreme Court or that he successfully operated the law chamber, Akufo-Addo and Prempeh, to train lawyers now parading the landscape as geniuses. Once the question mark hangs around him, he has to unravel it. After all, those who had their training in his chamber (Lawyer Odame and Co.) will fight to protect him (as they did when Justice Kpegah broached the suit) because of the negative repercussions. They would lose their credentials if Akufo-Addo were to be exposed and disrobed!!
Folks, let me be brazen here to say that my interest in this Akufo-Addo conundrum has nothing to do with my hatred for him but a lot to do with what I consider to be integrity-related. I don’t pursue this matter because I want to belittle him or play the tribal card. I do so with a clean conscience for the truth, knowing very well what professional training entails. That is why I am motivated to pursue the matter until Akufo-Addo himself provides the closure.
If he thinks that he can fare better by not responding to our rib-jabbing inquiries, he will not end well. In every instance of biting controversy of this sort, the individual puts an end to everything by levelling up and producing the evidence that will shut their critics up or put them before the law court. Why is Akufo-Addo not bold enough to help us solve his own credibility problem?
Don’t tell me that he has no need to do so or that he has no time for us. We are not mere irritants but people monitoring everything about him and ensuring that he come clean. If he hides behind his huge smokescreen to seek political office, he will regret the repercussions. Let it be noted here that it takes just a flip of the coin to determine the fate of characters like him. No elaboration.
True, I want good leadership to move Ghana forward; but I must be sure that the desperate character seeking to undo the good that the incumbent leader is doing comes with clean hands. Let Akufo-Addo and his followers take note that what has been in motion all these years about him will not fizzle out just because they are stridently warding off genuine probes.
Probably, they don’t know that by running away from the truth, they are doing a good job, setting the stage for what they cannot contain. And we will continue to poke them where it hurts most—until they crumble to tell us the truth that we have been searching for all these years. That moment will definitely dawn.
I shall return…
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