“A Legon Man” Sounds Better
July 18, 2014
I read Mr. Yaw Asamoah’s article captioned “An Oxford Man” (Spyghana.com 7/16/14) some forty-eight hours ago, as of this writing, and was quite amused by its decidedly jaded nature. It is about a debate whose steam has long gathered droplets of cold water. In short, I was not going to respond to it; I would prefer to have simply chuckled and snorted it off. But I felt that the writer, who bears the same name as one of my Akyem-Amanfrom uncles, and a former employee of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC-2/GBC-TV), needed to appreciate a few things.
First of all, inasmuch as Oxford and Cambridge universities have coveted global cachets, nevertheless, these two most ancient of the leading British academies, do not have exactly the same aura of distinction and/or appeal for each and every individual, including, of course, the subject of Mr. Asamoah’s plaint who evidently dropped out of Oxford before graduation. In other words, Oxford does not have the same degree of cynosure for the family and relatives of Nana Akufo-Addo because even as the writer himself acknowledges, Justice Edward Akufo-Addo, the father of our subject of discussion, had attended the same institution a generation earlier.
The critic also appears not to know what the elder Mr. Akufo-Addo read at Oxford so, perhaps, he had better be promptly apprised of the fact that the future Justice Edward Akufo-Addo specialized in philosophy and mathematics and, in fact, is widely known to have been the first African in the twentieth century to have done so. Another Akufo-Addo relative who attended an Oxbridge academy is Mr. William “Paa Willie” Ofori-Atta, who read economics and, later, law at Cambridge University. I haven’t verified this, but I believe Mr. Aaron (Kofi Asante) Ofori-Atta, who served as a cabinet member of the Nkrumah-led Convention People’s Party (CPP) government, also attended an Oxbridge academy (much against the better judgment, in retrospect, of his own father, as I have been made to understand recently).
Those among the members of the Ofori-Atta Clan who did not travel to Britain for advanced studies and, instead, traveled to the United States, attended such elite Ivy-League academies as Columbia, Harvard, Yale and Princeton universities. And so it simply could not be that Nana Akufo-Addo has the same experience and attitude towards an Oxbridge education that Mr. Asamoah, a self-confessed awestruck and wistful Oxbridge supplicant, has for the same. For instance, the critic claims that he recently spent three days touring the sprawling campus of Oxford University and continued to feel giddy several weeks after what he implicitly terms as his at once humbling and overwhelming experience.
The problem here, though, is that he rather presumptuously attempts to project this purely personal experience and his own clearly evident inadequacies on Nana Akufo-Addo. This symptom, of course, is not peculiar to Mr. Asamoah but really one that the critic broadly shares with nearly each and everyone of the most inveterate Akufo-Addo critics, who have attempted to read the most abjectly scandalous of reasons into why the 2008 and 2012 presidential candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) may have dropped out of Oxford University.
There is the widely known Three-Finger Accusatory Maxim among the Akan-speaking people which insightfully observes that anytime that one points an accusing forefinger at another, the other three fingers point squarely at the accuser. What the foregoing simply means is that the problem of whether, indeed, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo dropped out of Oxford University, during the early 1960s, under a yet-to-be-disclosed, (albeit unsavory), circumstances is decidedly the otiose hang-up of the inveterate detractors and ardent critics of Nana Akufo-Addo more than concerns the latter in any way, shape or form.
The fact of the matter is that dismissal from Oxford University or not, Nana Akufo-Addo has creditably distinguished himself as one of the foremost trial lawyers and politicians of his generation. As of whether the reason, or reasons, for which Nana Akufo-Addo was apparently/or evidently expelled from Oxford University ought to be the overriding criterion/criteria upon which to predicate his qualification for the Ghanaian presidency is patently vacuous.
For in terms of achievement and stature, Akufo-Addo defers to none of the personalities who have been elected President of Fourth-Republican Ghana. And it is time that wild-goose chasing critics like Mr. Asamoah come to terms with this stark factual reality, and with the latter a mature and progressive reconciliation with their own personal inadequacies.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York