A.B. Assensoh comments on the true African Spirit in the latest postings from Professor Kwabena Akurang-Parry and, partly, Independent Scholar, G.G. Adjei. We will drink palm wine and "ogogoro" (Akpeteshie) under the Nim Tree while savoring copies of Amos Tutola's great book, "The Palmwine Drinkard".
This is where African scholars of the traditionalist mode should smile and also shine because Professor Kwabena Akurang-Parry, a scholar that I have for a long-time respected, has come back in a brotherly-cum-gentlemanly way to show that he was not simply out to quarrel with me over Kutu Acheampong and some of our past leaders, whose actions have had cumulative effect to cause some of the problems for many of us to become what Professor Wole Soyinka philosophically calls "Ancient Exiles."
Above all, I also smiled at Independent Scholar G.G. Adjei's submission, although I wish to add that I mentioned what happened to me (under Kutu Acheampong's rule) to buttress the point I was about to make that Kutu Acheampong's rule in Ghanaian history was "no rule' at all but, as many Ghanaians agree, that it was an era of simplistic leadership and for comic relief. That is one of the reasons that prompted me to quote my late father's advice that we should allow even a crazy person to have a say (under freedom of speech) so that, by listening to such a crazy person, we may know how NOT to be crazy!
In fact, all Ghanaians as well as many African brothers and sisters knew that, under Kutu Acheampong's leadership, Ghana was a huge joke. There are many examples to substantiate this: for example, I remember coming out of a lecture hall at University of Stockholm (Sweden) to find my Nigerian and Eritrean friends having a field day with the announcement that Ghana's then Electroal Commissioner (Mr. Abban, under Acheampong's rule) was in hiding back in Ghana. "Why?" I asked. Because Mr. Abban was afraid for his life, as he knew that the so-called "Unigov" referendum did not go the way that Acheampong and his cronies wanted, and that the opposition to "Unigov" had triumphed. Imagine that episode, which could happen only in Ghana under Kutu Acheampong's watch!
Imagine this, too: Mr. Joe Appiah, as an enlighened lawyer reportedly informed Kutu Acheampong one morning at the General's office that the Ghana Bar Association might go on a strike. "Oh, if chop bars close, my wife Faustie will cook for me, and your wife, Peggy, will cook for you. Let the bar go on a strike. Why worry, Joe?" It never dawned on Acheampong that Mr. Joe Appiah meant the lawyers of the Ghana Bar association, but certainly not a bar or a "chop" bar!
Again: When university professors visited Kutu Acheampong's Christianborg Catle office to discuss an impending university students' threat to march against his NRC/SMC regime and also go on a strike, Kutu Acheampong, as a national leader, could not sue for a compromise but, reportedly, said: "Look, these students are getting degrees. I have no degree. If they want to strike, we will close the universities, and all of us will be the same, no degrees."
Then: Fela Ransome-Kuti, our brotherly musical great from Nigeria, came to entertain Kutu Acheampong and the Armed Forces brass of Ghana. The next day, the Ghanaian newspapers published headlines like: "Kuti Entertains Kuti at Burma Camp..."; "Ghana's Kuti Meets Nigeria's Kuti...". Acheampong panicked that people would think that he (then called Kuti Acheampong) was a Nigerian, given his middle name; so, he caused his middle name to be changed from "Kuti" to "Kutu".
Now this: Reportedly, a relative of Kutu Acheampong went to tell him that the relative's son was coming back to Ghana with animal husbandry degree; therefore, the new graduate needed a job to do. "We don't have jobs for young men who study useless things like animal husbandry, marrying animals..." Kutu Acheampong was reporetd as having said, as he had no clue about the true meaning of animal husbandry. Couldn't his agricultural commissioner or secretary tell him?
Above all, it was during Kutu Acheampong's rule that many beautiful Ghanaian women reportedly received "Golf" cars as gifts from his office, hence the notion of "Bottom Power or "
B.P." And, indeed, with all such comical side of Kutui Acheampong, will any patriotic Ghanaian say that he or she prefers Kutu Acheampong's leadership to that of any other Ghanaian leader? If so, then may God bless and save Ghana!
Of course, many of us in and outside Ghana still hope that former Ghanaian leaders -- who are still alive (and, indeed, how many are still alive now?) -- will behave in such a decent way that they would receive their public due and be treated as Elder Statesmen! Otherwise, a modicum of respect for them won't hurt!!