By Margaret Jackson
People who are very close to Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, General Manager of Newspapers of the Graphic Communications Group Limited, will confirm that the man has never been a hawk but a chicken, who cannot take a punch or stand the heat when he is put on the spot. Therefore, whenever the heat is turned on him, Boadu-Ayeboafoh who cannot stand it, has always found a way to chickens out.
Ever since I exposed Boadu-Ayeboafoh’s hypocrisy following his mediocre review of President’s Mills performance in 2011, and A.B.A. Fuseini, Night Editor of the Daily Graphic, also followed it up with a much bigger picture of Boadu-Ayeboafoh’s overall political agenda in a scathing article, his confidence to write has been shaken so badly that his last two columns are at best nothing to write home about.
Readers will recall that Boadu-Ayeboafoh, a known NPP aficionada, suddenly became a columnist when the NDC returned to power, and used his weekly column to lambast the Mills’ government constantly. Things came to head when Boadu-Ayeboafoh did not even wait till Ghanaians enter the year 2012, but chose December 29, 2011, to review President Mills’ performance for 2011. Was that not the strangest thing to do? Why the rush? Couldn’t this man have waited for the year 2011 to come to a close before his review?
In the so-called performance review of the Mills’ administration for 2011, any reader with a critical mind would draw the conclusion that Boadu-Ayeboafoh had an agenda to perform because his review was not only shallow but lacked substance hence the condemnation he received. But Ghanaians got the rudest shock of their lives when Boadu-Ayeboafoh suddenly changed his tune the following week and wrote about culture. Culture and not politics? Yes, he ran away and embraced culture.
And hear what he says a week after writing on culture: “Last week, I tried to move away from politics and the emotional controversy that it stirs. I took up an issue relating to culture and the reaction that I have had has been more than overwhelmingly encouraging and motivating. It has been a welcome departure from the mostly dysfunctional and emotional attacks and open hostility when I write on politics.” I don’t think Boadu-Ayeboafoh read over this statement before publication, because I consider his decision to move from writing on politics as a very lousy one. Does that mean that before Boadu-Ayeboafoh was brought to line he had the so-called inkling that Ghanaians will embrace wholly anything he writes on politics without questioning it? And for him to state that it was a welcome departure from the mostly emotional attacks and open hostility he receives when he writes on politics means that he does not believe in what he writes. Journalists, columnists and activists throughout the world, generally write and speak about issues they feel so passionate about. They do not chicken out or ran for cover when people criticize them, therefore, for Boadu-Ayeboafoh to ran under the cover darkness to the cultural centre is an indication that he does not believe in what he writes or at best what he has been writing.
But I received one of the biggest shocks in my life when Boadu-Ayeboafoh instead of remaining at the cultural centre to research, review and publish articles from that area going forward, rather decided to make Ghanaians or at best his readers part of his students in the four universities that he uses precious company time to teach. Boadu-Ayeboafoh decided to explain to his readers who a columnist is and what he/she does. Please hear him in his own language: “I am thus challenged to take up social issues for debate to help grow our society. But it is equally important that readers understand the dynamics of columnists. A column is basically an avenue for some individuals to express themselves in whatever way they deem fit. The column does not follow the normal structure of a feature, although generally speaking, commentaries, editorials and columns are features. ”
If we have to agree with what Boadu-Ayeboafoh is saying that columnists express themselves in whatever way they deem fit, then it is equally important for him to accept the fact that every person has to right to write rejoinders to any article or column in whatever way they deem fit. Therefore, my simple believe in life is “If you cannot finish a fight, don’t start it.” If Boadu-Ayeboafoh cannot stand on what he writes he should not write them in the first place.
I am giving Boadu-Ayeboafoh free tutorials. Writers throughout the world are highly opinionated. They write on issues that they believe in and also think would positively affect the society at large. Whilst their writings are hailed by some, some of them are equally condemned. But it does not stop them from writing because they believe not everybody in society will side with them. Therefore, if Boadu-Ayeboafoh has the funny gut feeling that everybody will hail what he writes, then he may just have landed from another moon.
Ever since Boadu-Ayeboafoh was roundly criticized his confidence to write on political issues has been badly shaken, and as I write, he does not seem to know how to regroup. This in effect points to the fact that he was using his weekly column to just criticize and malign the Mills’ administration to help pave the way for his NPP in the upcoming elections.
We all get criticized for what we write. Boadu-Ayeboafoh should go to the Ghanaweb.com comment column and read how some readers use unpalatable words to insult columnists. But this criticisms have not stopped some of us from writing. It has rather made me a better person to pursue what I believe in. If I ran for cover just as Boadu-Ayeboafoh has done, it will give people the ammunition to conclude that I am a neophyte who does not believe in what I write.
Boadu-Ayeboafoh should also know that there would always be writers just like him and me who would tilt their writings in favour of one party or the other. It is normal and very acceptable. There is no crime in supporting one party over the other. But you make yourself a dishonest person when you appear to be fair and balanced when in fact the facts on the ground does not support that. I guess this has always been Boadu-Ayeboafoh’s struggle or dilemma.