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Ghanaians Have More To Celebrate Than A Speech Gaffe
 
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10-Jan-2017  
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Flashback, the years 160s, "at the end of the time set by the king [Nebuchadnezzar] to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar.

The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom", Daniel 1:18-20 says.

Supersonic fast forward to 2017, and I want to believe the wisdom in the events of Daniel 1:18-20 is what informed President Nana Akufo-Addo's choice of a speechwriter and other team players - that he found them better qualified for the task ahead and to help with what would have been an unimpaired investiture.

Except for the gaffe of plagiarism and perhaps some other minor blunders that may have escaped the slipping spectacles of the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, Saturday, January 7, 2017, swearing-in and inauguration ceremony of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia showcased some of Ghana's best.

Clearly missing was the absence of Okomfo Anokye to command the Ashante Golden Stool [Sika 'dwa] to descend from out of space to rest on the lap of Akufo-Addo - to further awe the dignitaries, non-Ghanaians and may be some Ghanaians who are bereft of history.

Some 'Akpl3' and 'Fetiridetsi' [Ghanaian delicacy] would have made the 'Onaapo-Day' complete.

Ghana's matchless culture including the spirited drumming of the Fontomfrom accompanied by the old-age Adowa traditional dance left me jaw-dropped.

One couldn't be better mesmerized at an occasion such as what many witnessed on Saturday; the flaunting of the unique and sacred Kente [nwentom] cloth, worn by the dancers, some of the attendees and the Chiefs alike, that of President Nana Akufo-Addo, whose Kente is designed to represent the different tribes, traditions and the unity of Ghanaians - as well as the presence of all three former Presidents - added to the event the glitz of grandeur.

On an enviable history marking occasions that saw Akufo-Addo sworn in as the fifth President of the fourth Republic of Ghana, we have the individual and collective responsibilities to hold high the torch of this great nation.

The wise would learn from from both the rights and wrongs.Those who fail to remember the wrongs of our history and take a cue from it would be condemned to repeat it.

Well so - the events of Melania Trump, wife of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who faced accusations after portions of her speech at the Republic National Convention was said to have 'plagiarized' Michelle Obama, that of Nigeria's President Buhari and the international ridiculing that followed makes Ghana's avoidable speech blunder unpardonable.

Failure of the speechwriter or writers to acknowledge the so-called 'owners' of lifted portions in Nana Addo's speech has without a doubt taken the much of shine off of the event, here at home and in the international space.

And just like the many scandals characterized by the sea of social media trolls which marred previous state functions here and elsewhere, the new breed of #AgendaSetters, thus Social Media subscribers, took over the online space and narratives days after the inauguration ceremony.

This was easily enabled partly by the absence of a national media agenda to brand everything Ghana before, during and after the investiture. And to without an apology, push down the throat of the outside world, new Ghanaian perspectives via both the tradition and new media: that being a Ghanaian has been redefined, that Ghana is back to work for investments, that our country is where dreams come true, that Ghana is the shinning star of Africa and that our country has the best to offer in terms of culture and tourism.

Sad to pen down that even after an apology from the Director of Communications at the Presidency that sought to beat down the embarrassment caused our beloved nation, some major members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) were still on the defensive.

Attempts by so-called neutrals and some NPP apparatchiks to win the social media war of words or arguments was awkwardly abysmal; their ship sank before it sailed.

Their equally arrogant response of labeling every critic as an opponent fueled the unpatriotic narratives regarding the bizarre "plagiarized" speech which in no doubt was orchestrated by persons who intend to be everything but not "spectators".

One had to cringe in disbelief reading the weak arguments of comparing apples with frogs, the silly mockery and marking of different views as opposing the current government from the day - get go.

Popular journalists and some public figures with some noticeable number of social media followers equally failed to seize the day and take control of the narratives to promote the success story of Ghana.

Don't get me wrong - I am not asking people to call a spoon a shovel. But sometimes the national interest must transcend the noise of band-wagoners.

It appears we undermined our individual and collective ability as media practitioners and the Fourth Estate of the realm respectively, to "influence the salience of topic on the public agenda" and what people post on their personal platforms.

But what is rather nerve racking and has cause me to ink my thoughts is the failure of the transition team to see the BIGGER picture; to have synchronized the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Creative Arts, other stakeholder institutions and the media to push the agenda of branding Ghana.

You may agree or disagree with my assertions. But one thing you can not deny is that when we had the world's ATTENTION to tell a better story about ourselves as a NATION, we chose to tell the dark part.

Funny us!

What ever robs on the Presidency, yesterday and today, positive or negative, robs on us all. And for those who relish the failure of the current Akufo-Addo-led administration would be shooting themselves in the foot.

While we continue to gleefully wash our dirty linen in public - the so-called international media are at it again, feeding on 'negative' narratives from this part of our world - partly as click baits and also to further their agenda of demonizing Africa.

And I dare say you don't have the right to complain; with every negative word you typed, you gave them the lead that would best aide their cause and to sell their outlets as well.

But chill.

In spite of the brouhahas, we have more to celebrate than the ineptitude of a speechwriter.

Ghana has had a relatively peaceful 2016 elections, a transition of a ruling government to another and a beautiful investiture.

My solemn prayer is that at another God given time and day, when we have the attention of the international community to tell our best stories, we [Ghanaians] should tell those parts that would make Ananse story-tellers appear wise!
 
 
 
Source: Nathaniel Crabbe
 
 

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