Lee Ocran Is Not Leveling Up With Ghanaians

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

???????????? Assuming, momentarily, for the sake of argument that the Minister of Education is dead on target that Nana Akufo-Addo?s proposed free-education policy from Pre-K through 12th grade would cost ? 1.2 billion (Cedis), and not the alleged ? 78 million (Cedis) rough estimate by the Akufo-Addo campaign, what really prevents the country?s leadership from taking this visionary initiative right now, in order to reap a bumper harvest in the form of a highly literate and productive society tomorrow? (See ?Ambassador Lee Ocran Reacts to Nana Addo?s Free SHS [Policy]? Modernghana.com 9/11/12).


According to Mr. Ocran, the ? 78 million estimate only covers one term; and since the elementary and high school system in Ghana runs on a trimester schedule, or three terms a year, at least as I have recently been made to understand the same, the total cost of the SHS program works up to ? 234 million (Cedis), and not the ? 1.2 billion (Cedis) that the Education Minister would have Ghanaians believe.


The great surprise here, though, is far less of whether, indeed, Akufo-Addo has been working with the wrong figures, than the insufferably scandalous fact that the erstwhile Mills-Mahma government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) appears to have had absolutely no qualms at all in recklessly signing off on a check in the behemoth sum of at least ? 51 million (Cedis) in? wrongful judgment-debt payment to Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a widely alleged NDC campaign underwriter, for performing absolutely no contractual obligation for the Ghanaian taxpayer whose money went into the payment of the most outrageous payola racket in the history of Ghana.


To-date, Transitional-President John ?Paradigm-Shift? Dramani Mahama has only tentatively promised to ensure that each and every wrongful judgment-debt payment would be retrieved. ?Fat chance!? as New Yorkers are wont to say. And here, also, it bears underscoring the fact that this is only an election year?s campaign promise. In short, if Mr. Mahama wants to be taken at his word, he had better set himself up to the unarguably noble business of retrieving these criminally disbursed public funds before the first ballot paper is cast in Election 2012. For, needless to say, even as Mr. Lee Ocran has aptly observed, ?Talk is cheap.?


It is also quite ironic for the Education Minister to invoke the name of President Nkrumah as a forensic proof that free-education up to Senior High School is not economically feasible, else Ghana?s first president would have ?undertaken the same. Needless to say, Mr. Ocran shamefully lost his parliamentary seat to Ms. Samia Yaba Nrkumah precisely because he had had the temerity to tell the incontrovertible, albeit insufferable, truth about the fact that President Nkrumah initiated little economic-improvement projects? in his own home region and, in particular, among his native Nzema kinsmen and women.


?For this author, however, what needs pointing out is the fact that in cynically making an electioneering campaign propaganda out of the foregoing, Mr. Ocran was also significantly pointing out the fact that like all mortals, Ghana?s first premier had his fair share of political and policy implementation limitations. We must also highlight the fact that key operatives of the so-called National Democratic Congress vigorously kicked against the feasibility of the Kufuor-minted National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Today, even as we speak, the government, members and supporters of the National Democratic Congress have become the prime beneficiaries of the NHIS.


The Minister of Education also appears to be fixated on statistical bottom-line figures presented by UNESCO and other international bodies whose broadly generalized academic and cultural prescriptions may not be necessarily what the proverbial ?Doctor Mustapha? ordered. In other words, it is an abject lack of patriotic self-interest that makes key NDC operatives like Mr. Lee Ocran refuse to think and imagine outside the proverbial neocolonialist box of marginal and half-hearted policy initiatives. Once again, it is worth quoting Dr. Albert Einstein: ?If you think the cost of education is prohibitive, you try ignorance.? The NDC, of course, has made its position clear on the intellectual and cultural development of Ghana; and it is up to the Ghanaian voters to show selfish politicians like President Mahama and Mr. Ocran the exit back onto the gray margins of Ghanaian society come December 7, 2012, by giving Nana Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party a one-touch victory. No more indiscriminate grave-digging at the Flagstaff House and in the destiny of our youths.


In the final analysis, we need to also highlight the fact that the so-called Nkrumah?s Ghana of some 55 years ago, was relatively far less resourced than the oil-rich Ghana of 2012. And I am quite certain that were he alive today, President Nkrumah would be more ideologically in alignment with the people-oriented policy programs of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) than the Cash-and-Carry and Woyome payola scam-artistry of the so-called National Democratic Congress. Mr. Sekou Nkrumah clearly seems to remarkably appreciate this irrepressibly progressive aspect of his immortalized father?s spirit.


Source: *Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

(Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of ?Ghanaian Politics Today? (Lulu.com, 2008).)


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