I have been aware of the brouhaha surrounding the Dome-Kwabenya Senior High School between some National Democratic Congress’ operatives and the New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for the area, Ms. Sarah Adwoa Safo, over the past couple of days. But I have been very busy traveling around my locality and attending to some pressing domestic errands and other matters to have paid sedulous attention to the details of this matter, about which I have already come to the quite logical and credible conclusion was largely one that in Shakespearean parlance could be characterized as “Much Ado About Nothing” (See “Adwoa Safo Trolled for Claiming Credit for Mahama Project” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 7/7/17).
I got a bit interested in the matter because I partly grew up at Kwabenya, of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, long before the protagonist and substantive parliamentarian for the area and her main antagonist, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, the former Deputy Education Minister, were born. Indeed, before there was any Senior High School building constructed with financing from the World Bank (what a crying shame!) under the lackluster tenure of former President John Dramani Mahama, there was a Local Authority Elementary and Middle School project that had been abandoned, with its building materials exposed to the vagaries of the elements, in the wake of the military putsch that overthrew the Nkrumah-led indisputably extortionate Convention People’s Party (CPP) regime.
Had the aforementioned abandoned project been built on schedule, yours truly would have been one of the very first pupils to have attended the Dome-Kwabenya LA Primary School, perhaps in either 1968 or 1969, instead of the University of Ghana’s Staff-Village Primary School. Indeed, my late father used to lament that Ghanaian politicians were not savvy enough to have come to the prompt realization that projects initiated by previous governments had been undertaken with the taxpayer’s money and needed to be wisely continued for the benefit of society and country at large. But it sadly and clearly seemed that succeeding governments, especially those whose leaderships were junta-dominated, were morbidly afraid of seeming to have vindicated the wisdom of some of the development policies of their predecessors. That would have meant that the new rulers were unwisely invalidating the raison d’être of their own regimes.
Well, in the Adwoa Safo v. John Dramani Mahama cause célèbre, the issue is not really what the NPP-MP’s virulent political opponents and detractors would have the rest of us believe it is squarely about. Rather, it is about the pathetic petty-mindedness of such former Mahama minions and hangers-on as Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa, who really and seriously seem to believe that building one or a handful of school blocks out of an electioneering campaign promise of some 200 “community day schools,” whatever the latter terminology means, is such a big deal. In reality, such vacuous vaunting inexcusably insults the intelligence of the average Ghanaian citizen and voter, that of the pontifically promised 200 Senior High Schools by the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), not even 10-percent or 20 high school blocks were completed by former President Mahama.
But, of course, I am even far less concerned with the number and/or percentage of high school blocks constructed by the Mahama government than the quality of education provided our children and grandchildren by the Mills-Mahama regime over the past 8 years. This is where very serious leaders ought to be looking for credit to preen themselves or prepare themselves for the mandate of Ghanaian voters. If the shape of a school building is in the form of the letter “E” of our Latin alphabet, but the pupils being housed therein do not have the requisite learning tools and well-trained teachers to seriously prepare them for the highly competitive workplace of our time, then what is the significance or value of whether a particular Senior High School building was constructed by the government of Mr. John Dramani Mahama or not?
Don’t get me wrong: I perfectly understand the concerns of the key operatives of a regime that did a diddly little to absolutely nothing towards the remarkable development and advancement of basic education in the country. The NDC has actually regressed both the quality and reach, or quantity, of the country’s basic educational system, if the dear reader were to ask me. This is what serious leaders ought to be talking about. Are there any serious leaders in Ghana today, my dear reader?
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.