Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang has said Ghana’s democracy is threatened by violence, arrogance and humans playing God.
The running mate to former President John Mahama in the 7 December 2020 polls, has also observed that Ghana has come too far to allow bigotry of any kind to hinder its forward movement.
In her view, “the choice we have in this election is clear: we can either build a Ghana where every citizen regardless of background is afforded equal opportunity to become their best selves. Or we can continue on a path where a few people attempt to control and dictate the destiny of the people who have given them the privilege to govern”.
Speaking at her official inauguration as running mate to Mr John Mahama on Monday, 27 July 2020, Ghana’s first-ever female Vice-Chancellor of a university, said: “Let our politics deviate from this unproductive path of injustice and non-peace. Ghana does not belong to any select few. We, the people, all of us, are the protectors and owners of this country for our collective good and for that of generations unborn.”
She said: “What makes Ghana so special is that – despite our various ethnic groups, religions, and diverse backgrounds – we all come together as one people under one flag, inspired by the sacrifices of our ancestors to create a great country. And everyone’s ancestor has been a worthy contributor to this space now called Ghana, whose artificial borders, sadly, we seek to make even more artificial, as if our continent has not suffered enough from the initial assault. Everyone matters. We have come too far as a nation to still cling to our primordial tribal bigotries”.
Diversity, Prof Opoku-Agyemang noted, “is a source of great strength”.
“Whether you are Ga, Mfantse, Sisali, Ewe, Gonja, Asante, Nzema, Mamprusi, or any other ethnic group, you are valued as a Ghanaian. You have every right to walk with confidence, with a high resolve to make huge contributions to this nation. Let nobody, let no-one question your identity or patriotism. It is time to put all these needless, unproductive and backward distractions behind us and get on with the serious business of nation building. The time is now”, she said.
According to her, the 21st century is nearly 20% over. “We shouldn’t be here, as a country, living with inexcusable insanitary conditions, with our babies still dying of malaria; our women delivering on the bare floor, our youth bewildered and unable to see their way ahead, parents confused about the future their children face and the quality of education they are getting. If we choose to be anywhere as a country, the destination should not include a place where a 90-year-old woman, Akua Denteh, is stoned to death because someone has decided that she is a witch. I call on our security agencies to convince us that she has not died in vain”.
“... The very foundations of our democracy is so threatened by unimaginable levels of arrogance, intolerance and violence; humans playing God; our economy is struggling; our tongues tied to the roof of our mouths; our citizens feeling unsafe; our farmers unsure of when to plant crops due to climate change; our environments under severe threats; our youth perishing on their way to find better lives; our institutions to which we should run for succor rapidly losing credibility; children who should be in school becoming unwitting brides, when we all know that marriage is not a child’s business”, she bemoaned.
She continued: “At a time of a growing number of cases and deaths arising from the pandemic of COVID-19, with their attendant fears and uncertainties; at a time when some of our children are leaving school not any more literate than when they entered; others graduating into unemployment; the vulnerable uncared for, none of us should be here, behaving as if the best antidote to all of these is to flex muscles, turn aspects of our protective institutions into agents of intimidation; and arrogate to ourselves the right to alienate people who have always lived on this part of our continent, long before some did, and who have served our country with distinction”.
“We can spend all those resources on ways to confront our artificial borders and work towards the inclusion that solidifies our continent”, Prof Opoku-Agyemang added.
She assured Ghanaians that this phase shall past.
“Let me assure our youth, that we have not always been like this. I have had endless conversations with many of you, and I can understand your frustrations and sense of despair. But, as I keep assuring you, we have not always been like this. No, as you also know, Ghana has not always been like this.
“Giving up is not an option. Stay the course. As a people, we have survived many unspeakable atrocities. Read and know your true history. We just celebrated the Year of Return. Read that history, very, very carefully. It has not been a nice cup of sobolo.
“This is a bad phase; it will only pass with our collective determination, plain honest, hard work and willingness to put in practice those values of integrity, meritocracy and inclusiveness. Let’s re-ignite the Ghanaian spirit of caring, sharing, of kind hospitality and sincerity. We know we can, all minds linked; God our helper”.