Editorial: Social researcher and essayist, Kwame Agyemang Berko draws a critical comparison between Kenule 'Ken' Saro Wiwa - a Nigerian writer, lawyer and environmental Activist - and Paul Afoko - the estranged Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Mr Berko, writes guided by the quote: "The writer cannot be a mere storyteller; he cannot be a mere teacher; he cannot merely X-ray society’s weaknesses, its ills, its perils. He or she must be actively involved shaping its present and its future"
I have recently been so uninspired by political events that but for this occasion of paying homage to one of the foremost renegades Africa has ever produced, I would not have been able to share thoughts on my NPP/Afoko brouhaha plus it's accompanying loss of life and toss of or relegation of standing principles in what is supposed to be a clear cut case of 'to err is not human in politics'.
The gentleman who was killed in Asewaase in the Ashanti Region last week as a result of his steadfastness in the NPP's decision to suspend its Chairman Paul Afoko, has died in vain. I dare say a lot more would fall in the run up to next year's election.
Whiles one of the authors of the Holy Bible proclaimed that lack of knowledge make people perish, Mario Puzzo was more explicit in his 'Fools Die' novel.
The fact former Chairman Afoko's brother was implicated and subsequently charged with a politically motivated murder should have stirred a moral reason to resign for him to from his perch as Chairman of the NPP. Lai lai. Not a phorken chance. Old boy is as 'Ghanaian' as Oko Vandepujie!
In today's Ghana, our politics is festered with chronic liars and scavengers, so when you loose your guard in the manner that Afoko has and is suffering for,the least you do as a man filled with some pinch of dignity and home upbringing is to admit,resign,and scuttle out of the political scene quietly with your bag of misfortune and count your losses.
The terrain is vicious and cutthroat. Please google search 'NPP Chairman Adams'.
Today 10/11/05, marks the twentieth year since the main 'reason' Chief Emeka Anyaoku signed the dotted lines of a directive which suspended The Federal Republic Of Nigeria from the community of Commonwealth Nations was made.
I have very fond memories of that because it also meant Nigeria's super eagles were not allowed to defend their title won in Tunisia 94' as reigning AFCON Champions in 1996 in South Africa.
Chief acted in his capacity as Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations. I have never met the man. Not yet worthy. But from having read a few of his essays,and in later years,listened to interviews he granted the BBC, I almost can attest to his commitment to his roots and pride of being a Nigerian. Dude bleeds green,white and green.
But when Niaja lost her guard by turning a deaf ear to international pleas in 1995, to suspend exacting the ruling of the kangaroo court which sentenced to death,Ken Saro-Wiwa, 54, and eight others on 31 October by a tribunal in the southern port city of Port Harcourt, for allegedly ordering the murders of four political rivals who were shot at a 1994 political rally, he acted swiftly and in accordance of the dictates of the constitution of the commonwealth. It's not like he had a choice.
Ken particularly insisted he was framed because of his opposition to Nigeria's military ruler, Sani Abacha, and the oil industry, which accounts for about 80 per cent of the country's foreign income. The lawyer that he was actually led his kinsmen to sue Shell Nigeria in Den Hague for environmental degradation and disproportionate payment of royalties to indigenes of Ogoniland. . . .
Several newspapers reported that only hours after the government upheld the death sentences, nine coffins were moved to the Port Harcourt prison. The junta apparently wanted the executions to take place immediately but later found that Port Harcourt, which had held no executions since Nigeria's independence from Britain in 1960, did not have the equipment for hangings.
So on a thursday, executioners were flown in from the northern Muslim city of Sokoto. They took rooms in a hotel and awaited their task.
About 5am on Friday, Saro-Wiwa and his eight companions were roused from their cells at the army camp where they had been held since their convictions. They were told they were being taken to the Port Harcourt prison, on the purported grounds that there was reason to suspect the army camp might be attacked by Ogoni youths from the Delta regions. . . .
Tomorrow marks 20 years since he and 8 others were hanged by Nigerian military dictator 'Terror' Gen. Sanni Abacha.
As for our Fmr. Chairman Afoko, I wish him well in his quest to be popular. If for nothing at all, I now know him.
By Kwame Agyemang Berko
(Poet. Essayist. Social Researcher)