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Integrity: Addo-Kufuor’s Investiture At KsTU

“Appearances matter-and remember to smile…

the first thing is to be honest with yourself…

Great peacemakers are all people of integrity,

of honesty, but humility”.

Nelson Mandela

 

POMP AND PAGEANTRY would subsume the solemnity, grandeur, resplendency, sublimeness, magnificence, elegance, sumptuousness… to describe the surreal atmosphere on Friday, 30th September at the Kumasi Technical University where affable Dr. Addo Kufuor received the investiture as Chancellor. The position had lain vacant since 2016 when the polytechnic was converted into a university.

 

The special invited guests had taken their seats by 9:00am. At exactly 10:00am. The Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and his entourage were marshalled into the new Great Hall. Present were his Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, ex-President of Ghana, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, ex-Speaker of Parliament, Honourable Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader of Parliament, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education, Nananom including Nana Agyei Kesse IV, Adumhene, Nana Owusu-Afriyie Apagyahene, Barima Saasi Ayeboafo II Mampontenghene (on his ‘ate’). Also present were the clergy with most Reverend Dr. Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith, the Anglican Archbishop of the Internal Province of Ghana in the church of the province of West Africa and Most Reverend Professor Daniel Yinka Sarfo, the immediate past archbishop. Honourable Afriyie-Akoto, Honourable S.K. Boafo and Madam Elizabeth Ohene.

 

The army band played the national anthem. The opening prayer by Reverend Professor Daniel Sarfo Yinka set the tone for the occasion: “Unto the Lord be the glory, great things He has done…” Prayerfully, the Almighty was invited to steer the affairs to a successful end.

 

In a brief speech extolling the virtues of the yet-to-be installed Chancellor, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum prefaced his speech by recalling what Americans do by addressing all the dignitaries: “Ladies and gentlemen,” instead of the meandering circumlocutory Ghanaian style of repeating the names of all the important personalities present. It was indeed, a “historic day”. Professor Ben Baffoe-Bonnie, Chairman of the Governing Council as well as Professor Osei-Wusu Achaw, Vice-Chancellor played their roles as hosts with dignity. The Asafohene, Asafo Boakye Bonsu II, standing in for Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, must have internalised Dr. Adutwum’s exhortations. Of all the distinguished qualities of Dr. Addo Kufuor which include his academic credentials, professional competence, religious discipline and communal affability, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia singled out his “integrity” as the “one thing that crowns all of these defining characteristics.” Indeed, whatever institution Dr. Addo Kufuor had found himself, he had left a distinctive mark: Board Chairman of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), President of the Ghana Medical Association, Member of Parliament for Manhyia Constituency (1997-2008) (rubbing shoulders with veteran politician J.H. Mensah) and Minister of Defence and Interior.

 

When Dr. Bawumia administered the oath of office, Dr. Addo Kufuor was “speeding” to grab the robe. In his inaugural address, Dr. Addo Kufuor pledged his support for any KsTU programmes that would transform the institution into a world-class one. He proposed a linkage of academia and the artisans of Suame Magazine for a hands-on approach to the students of KsTU. Unlike other septuagenarians and octogenarians who see the youth as either “small boys” or people with “coconut heads”, Dr. Addo Kufuor has great faith in the ability of the youth to reshape Ghana. In the twilight of his political career, he hopes to “take advantage of any opportunity that comes my way to offer advice and guidance to the next generation of the nation’s leaders” (p240 of “Gold Coast Boy”: a Memoir-Autobiography of Dr. Addo Kufuor). He promises not to interfere in the internal administration of the university, but would remain approachable. He prayed for an agricultural renaissance, a day when farmers’ hands would not remain “hard’ using mechanised equipment instead of the cutlass and hoe. After wearing the robe, Dr. Addo Kufuor’s pneumonia simply vanished. You could not fail to appreciate the distinct voice of Dr. Koo Nimo and his Adadam Group but time would not allow one to savour the melodious repertoire, except for one that touted the virtues of Amma Dapaah and the Apagyafiem – foc.

 

Typical of events like this, solemnity would mark every activity, and even in some cases, one could hear a pin drop – except for the aberration and eccentricity of Kwabena Nyame and Adisa Zongo Pioneer (cheer-leaders), who at irregular times would break the solemnity of the occasion with unwelcome cat calls. Of course, the queer behaviour of the fat Public elations Officer could be attributed to over-work but certainly it was incongruous to the mood of the occasion.

 

The vote of thanks was not without drama. Engineer Nana Poku invited Sir Sam Jonah, the Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, to the podium and apologised for not being “properly” recognised earlier. He disagreed with the Apagyahene for an innocuous remark over which the audience applauded adding that Dr. Addo Kufuor’s achievements were singularly his own. As the last speaker, Nana Poku had to “fill the blanks.”

 

A ride in Professor Akuoko’s Landcruiser from the KsTU to Joefel for the reception provided a great opportunity to assess the occasion with Counsellor James Osman Adjei. We were all ad idem that we had personally had a good taste of conviviality.

“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word,” but not without tasting of the goodies at Joefel. A well-laid table of drinks of all types: beer, Guinness, wine, whisky and assorted foods: fufuo, ampesie, banku.

 

One would not have tasted of the goodness of Asante until he had tasted of the recipes at Joefel. Joseph and Felicia, only your Abuna-Bunu! But after enjoying the sumptuous meal, our minds were not dulled to the hint from Dr. Addo Kufuor to put into print his memoir from Gold Coast Boy to Ghana Man. As a sequel to “Gold Coast Boy”. Bravo, Dr. Addo-Kufuor. You deserve the accolades. You have earned them by your own efforts. Auntie Rosemary, ever-loving wife, Kwame, Kwadwo, Nana Ama. We know your contributions, and we cherish them. God bless you and all.

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