Mfantsipim is known for excellence and its rich tradition and therefore it is necessary to inform the public about the debacle; the unauthorized awards scheme of August 22, 2014 named ?Awards for Exemplary Leadership, Dedication and Valour ? Mfantsipim Brand Icons (2014 ? 2016), which brought discomfort to many people of Kwabotwe descent, and also set the records straight at the same time.
In 2001, Mfantsipim celebrated its 125th anniversary. A planning and implementation committee chaired by Sam Nana Brew Butler, an Old Boy, was established by National MOBA to plan and implement activities for the anniversary.
As part of the events commemorating the 125th anniversary, the planning and implementation committee came up with the decision to immortalize the names of Old Boys by naming excellence awards and meritorious certificates after them.
The awards and certificates were to be awarded to deserving Old Boys every five years or 10 years. The first awards and certificates were made during the 125th anniversary commemoration dinner dance held on Saturday, October 13, 2001 at the Banquet Hall, State House, Accra.
To ensure transparency, an independent adjudicating panel was established to select the prize winners.
The panel had Dr. K.O. Armstrong Mensah (Consultant) MOBA as the Chairman and Mr. Steve Karikari (Public Relations Consultant), old student of Prempeh College as Member/Secretary. Other members of the panel were:
(a)?????? H.E. Kwesi Armah (Member, Council of State and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs in Dr. Kwame Nkrumah?s CPP administration), an old student of Ghana National College, Cape Coast;
(b)?????? Ms. Eva Lokko (UNDP and later Director-General, GBC), an old student of Wesley Girls High School;
(c)?????? Dr. Mrs. Sylvia Boye (former Registrar, WAEC), MOBA and old student of Wesley Girls High School;
(d)?????? Mr. Boi Amporful (Public Relations Consultant and former Public Relations Manager of VRA), MOBA;
(e)?????? Major Abraham Sam (Managing Director, Plant Pool) MOBA;
(f)???????? Mr. Sam Nana Brew Butler (Businessman and former President of Ghana Football Association) MOBA;
(g)?????? Mr. Kwame Gyasi (Chartered Accountant and former Senior Lecturer, University of Ghana), MOBA; and
(h)?????? Mr. Ashim Morton (Architect, IT Specialist and Events Organizer) MOBA.
The following categories of awards and certificates were instituted:
(a)???? Rev. Gaddiel R. Acquaah Excellence Award for Religion;
(b)???? John Mensah Sarbah Excellence Award for Statesmanship;
(c)???? Prof. K.A. Busia Excellence Award for Community and Humanitarian Services;
(d)???? Dr. F.L. Bartels Excellence Award for Education;
(e)???? E.N. Teye Botchway Excellence Award for Sports;
(f)?????? H.E. Kofi Annan Excellence Award for International Relations;
(g)???? Dr. J. A. Addison Excellence Award for Business;
(h)???? H.E. Michael Dei Annan Excellence Award for Public Service;
(i)?????? J.E. deGraft Excellence Award for Applied Arts
(j)?????? Dr. R.P. Baffour Excellence Award for Science and Technology;
(k)???? H.E. Dr. Alex Qauison-Sackey Meritorious Service Certificate.
The names of both the living and deceased deserving members of MOBA were identified and awards and certificate named after them while all attempts were made to cover virtually all fields of human endeavor in the award scheme.
The following general criteria were established for the selection of award winners:
Must be a product of Mfantsipim;Must be aliveMust have brought honour to Mfantsipim or contributed to the welfare of Mfantsipim andMust have made an impact in a chosen field.
In addition to the general criteria, specific criteria were also established for individual awards and certificates. Unfortunately, I do not have enough space to state those various criteria nor the names of the various prize winners. Suffice to state that in all, 37 worthy men and women, all products of Mfantsipim were given awards and certificates during the dinner dance.
Since the tradition has been properly established, it was wrong for any other group of people, no matter how well intentioned, to institute another award scheme, unilaterally nominate some people without authority from national MOBA and confer on them awards in the name of MOBA at a national MOBA function. ?While the action of the group was wrong, one can forgive them. What disturbed the MOBA community was the political angle the awards scheme took and the seemingly arbitrary nature of selection of the awardees without taking into account the sentimentality of our times.
For a very long time, national MOBA has been very dormant and therefore the award scheme could not be instituted every five or 10 years as initially envisage.
The group must have either wrongly or rightly taken the initiative to fill the gap which unfortunately many people interpreted it as an attempt to use the name of MOBA to score a political point.
I hope the awards scheme would be resuscitated in 2016 when Mfantsipim would be celebrating its 140th anniversary, Isha Allah.
In the same light, I suggest that the unauthorized award scheme should be expunged from the historical records of The School. After all, there is nothing spectacular or sentimental about the 138th anniversary of The School which falls this year for an award scheme to be instituted.
Currently, the organizing year groups of this year?s Speech, Prize and Founders? Days anniversary including the group involved in the botched award scheme are far ahead with beautiful plans for The School. An infirmary project for The School has been established as the major assignment for his year?s anniversary. What I expect the executives of the national MOBA to do is to be up and doing to ensure successful implementation of the infirmary project and other activities planned for this year?s anniversary.
The executives of national MOBA should be interested in transparency and proper accountability and ensure the bountiful success of this year?s anniversary. Within three months after this year?s anniversary, the executives of national MOBA should hold Congress to elect new ones who should be charged with the drafting of a new constitution for MOBA and proper functional secretariat for MOBA.
Despite all the cacophony of noises made by members of MOBA, up to date national MOBA has not got an effective functional national secretariat and has to use a single office donated by the Methodist Church in its head office building to house the MOBA Secretariat.
Again let me quote Rev. Lockhart who stated: ?they cannot call us a secondary school until we have a library and science block?. Definitely, we cannot be proud of our heritage as Old Boys until we have a functional national secretariat where Kwabotwe artifacts can be sold and purchased, where Old Boys can meet to hold year group meetings and socialize and where persons seeking for information about The School can make contact. As members of MOBA, we owe a duty to society to bear in mind the great sacrifice society made to provide us with education and knowledge and always keep in mind the words of Albie Sachs, a former Constitutional Court judge and crucial figure in South Africa?s struggle to end white-minority rule: ?your life is not simply about career and ambition, but making your country a better one.?
By Kwame Gyasi