Dr Kwabena Akurang-Parry dismisses a comparative approach between Ghana and Nigeria to evaluate His Excellency, Jerry Rawlings:
Obi Nwakanma is truly a political architect with chameleon-like tools:
he has craftly sanitized and re-sculpted the sanguinary despot, Jerry
Rawlings, into a god by comparing him to "evil" Nigerian politicians.
I must confess that I have studied the colonial history of Nigeria, but
my views on Nigerian postcolonial politics and history, weighed in the
comparative political scale-pan of Nwakanma, may be sophomorically
evanescent. For this reason, I would accept Nwakanma's request and,
indeed, gladly ask Ghanaians and their gods, who ritually sent Rawlings
to his political Hades, to resurrect him for epic "transparency and
accountability" crusades in Abuja. I can assure Nwakanma that even in
his resurrected state, Rawlings would overnight lead all those "evil"
and "angelic" Nigerian politicians back to his political Hades!
In 1979 and in 1981 when Jerry Rawlings used the barrel of the gun to
attain power, the Ghanaian educational system, from primary to
university, was intact and doing an excellent job. The collapse of the
University of Ghana (Legon) began in 1982 when Rawlings sent hired thugs
to occupy the campus, and they remained there for several months. The
simple reason was that by 1982, students who had initially supported
Rawlings' bogus "transparency and accountability" political invocations,
had realized that he was a dupe. Thereafter until the 1990s, every
term/semester, Rawlings found it convenient to close down the
universities because students were on the charted pathways of
anti-Rawlingsian politics. Today this anti-intellectual, who failed his
GCE and went on to destroy the Ghanaian educational system, is
globe-trotting, happily paying for honorary doctorate degrees from
backyard educational institutions!
If Ghanaians besieged Nigeria in the 1970s and the early 1980s, it was
not due to the collapse of the educational system. For one thing, the
educational system was overproducing graduates who could not get jobs in
Ghana. What served as a magnetic attraction to Ghanaians was the
Nigerian oil boom, and it certainly attracted not only Ghanaians, but
also other nationalities in the West African sub-region. For another,
and perhaps more importantly, thousands of Ghanaian professionals and
non-professionals alike sought refuge in different countries because of
the political persecution and intolerance mounted by Rawlings.
Let me assure you that if Ghanaians in Nigeria and elsewhere had
returned home, it did not occur under Rawlings' watch. Most of those
Ghanaians returned home after the 2000 elections that brought to an end
Rawlings' 19-year political adventurism and mayhem.
May be Nwakanma should dabble in his personal aggrandizement and
political deification of Rawlings and leave out all other Nigerians. For
it is intellectually bankrupt to situate Kwame Nkrumah and Jerry
Rawlings in the same province of achievement and eminence. Long Live
Osagyefo [Warrior] Long Live Nkrumah!