Kunle Awolabi's kind words about Ghana and Ghanaians have prompted A.B. Assensoh, a contributor to our discussions, to offer some
food-for-thought about Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia as we think about the UN security council seat that is being allocated to

For several years, I lived and worked as a professional Journalist in
Nigeria and Liberia, respectively. That is why I consider both places
my second home(s), with a lot of serious affection for Guinea and
Sierra Leone, where I visited often to write about their regional
grouping, the Mano River Union. Anywhere else, therefore, happened to be -- like our time on earth -- temporary abode(s). That also was why
I have  wondered in silent amazement when several contributors to our USA/Africa Dialogue on the two U.N. security council seats,
reportedly, reserved for Africa never felt that Ghana or Liberia
(certainly along with Nigeria, Guinea and Sierra Leone) should, at
all, be considered in the scheme of UN histo-political growth. As I
perused Kunle Awolabi's excellent and honest piece ("Humbling lessons
from Ghana"), I sat back, smiled and said: "Oh, now Ghana is good for
something ...!"

In the past, I wrote for publication some histo-political stuff about
African contributions to the UN in general; the last piece was
published in the erstwhile "West Africa Magazine" of London. In these
published pieces, I mentioned some cogent and respectable African
names that deserved to be featured when discussing the history and
growth of  the UN, which included Nigeria's Chief Simeon Adebo and
Dr. Lambo; Ghana's late President Kwame Nkrumah, Alex Quaison-Sackey and former Deputy UN Secretary-General Kenneth Dadzie; Guinean late President Sekou Toure and Diallo Telli; Sierra Leone's Dr. Davidson Nicol and Dr. Karefa Smart; as well as Liberian long-serving late President W.V.S. Tubman and Attorney Angie Brooks-Randolph.

The other African leaders, like Nkrumah did, for example, send
articulate and seasoned nationals to the international civil service
(in Nkrumah's instance, for example, at the UN and the Commonwealth Secretariat, including sending Mr. A.L. Adu, long before Chief Emeka Anyaoku went to work for the Secretariat); Nkrumah was also a force to reckon with in UN and Commonwealth affairs, regardless of his socialist ideological persuation that irritated some conservative African leaders and friends of the Western world. Tubman's Liberia, for example, was among the founding member-nations of the present UN, and its 1960s' female representative, Attorney (Mrs.) Brooks-Randolph (an excellent lawyer by training) became the first African woman to chair a UN security council session. Dr. Nicol of Sierra Leone did forsake lucrative medical practice, in order to contribute
excellently to the UN in varied ways and as its Executive Director of
the United Nations Institute for Trainining and Research (UNITAR,
where some of us cut our research teeth), long before Brother Kofi
Annan even went to work for the UN; Dr. Karefa Smart of  Sierra
Leone(who was one of the African student leaders that gave Dr.
Nkrumah his early start in African student politics in America and
the UK); and Nigeria's Dr. Lambo, served the World Health
Organization (W.H.O.) with devotion and efficiency; and Guinea's
Diallo Telli, who initially served very well at the UN and, later,
went on to work with distinction as the first Secretary-General of
the erstwhile OAU (now the African Union or AU).

That, indeed, was how I wondered or queried again that Ghana,
Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone were not at all mentioned by anyone
in connection with the search for "qualified" African nations for the
two (and, also, only two?) UN sceurity council seats for Africa! I
sadly felt that the memory of today's African male or female is
deliberately short!! For, as I again wondered, apart from the
apartheid wounds that all of  our countries have helped black South
Africa materially and in solidarity to nurse, what else has South
Africa done for or at the UN for the country to be such a
great-cum-viable candidate for one of the two seats?  I very much
respect Mr. Mandela, Mr. Mbeki and other South African leaders
tremendously, but that is a different matter!

I still remember how, in Nkrumah's Ghana in the 1960s, we (as
stduents) had to learn and sing (or memorize) the South African black
national anthem with eloquence: "Nko sikalele yi Africa...".
Therefore, when it comes to the two security council seats at the UN,
I would say unequivocally about overly deserving African countries:
Nigeria, yes; Liberia, yes; Guinea, yes; and Ghana, yes! Sadly, there
are only two seats, hence some of us also felt that a rotational
occupancy of the seats should suit Africa fine, indeed in line with
the rotational presidency that was once advocated for Nigeria by some of the country's serious and devoted scholars! The funny situation is that the UN is headed by a Ghanaian, whose tenure has succeeded in"fighting" for the two UN security council seats for Africa. Yet, not
many Africans seems to have the moral compuction or caliber of
suggesting that Mr. Anna's own country (Ghana) should also be
considered for one of the seats, even if perfunctorily! Is that not

Well, some of  us -- as historians, political scientists, economists,
geographers, Journalists, et al -- are familiar with Ayikwei Armah's
humorous but moral-teaching book, "The Beaut(y)ful Ones Are Not Yet
Born". So it should be for Africa, as there are yet to be born some
more "beutif(y)ful" nations that may squarely qualify for the two UN
security council seats being given to our continent. Therefore, we
need not cut our throats over those two seats. Instead, before it is
too late, we should again thank Kunle Awolabi, who has seen something good in "old" Ghana, whose March 6, 1957 independence celebrations brought to Africa for the first time several great diasporic black men and women, including Jamaican Premier Manley and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., of  blessed memory (accompanied by his hard-working and devoted widow, Mrs. Coretta Scott King)!