I still have on my phone a video that once went viral on social media, but which I still watch occasionally to remind myself of how level-headed people with stated (or assumed) interest in an issue, should behave and/or talk when need be.
I am referring to that 2007 video in which Mr. John Kufuor, then president of Ghana, was addressing ‘kingmakers’ of his own New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the kind of person they should elect as his successor cum the party’s presidential candidate for the ensuing 2008 election.
Given how commonplace it had become for some people to associate Mr. Kufuor with Mr. Alan Kyerematen at the time, it did not take long for political analysts and propagandists to (mis)construe Mr. Kufuor’s address in that video as a vote-of-no confidence in the candidature of Nana Akufo-Addo for the presidency.
Almost a decade on today, Nana Addo is President of Ghana. Does that make everything Mr. Kufuor said in the video right or wrong? Certainly, I am not a political analyst to answer such a question. I am but only referencing that video because of something I consider an advice that Mr. Kufuor gave.
He told the party bigwigs to sidestep any candidate “full of tension,” because from his experience as both candidate and President, such “full of tension” candidates rarely entice floating Ghanaian voters. In other words, ‘tension’ is but a needless arsenal for certain political battles.
Fortunately, I am not going to talk politics but respond to write-up authored by Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo and interestingly titled: “HURRY UP! Dear O.J & Ohemaa Mercy, Please Return Your VGMA Plaques Now.”
Arnold is one gentleman I have admired from afar, primarily for the passion he attends to Ghana’s entertainment industry. The industry, with all its issues, really needs such people with passion and dedication as Arnold’s to keep it going. And for that, my admiration for him and the countless others who are pushing the industry forward, remains intact.
What I am however not so sure about at this juncture, is whether Arnold’s sarcasm in the aforesaid write-up is well-founded. I hold a conviction that no matter our individual prejudices and idiosyncrasies, respect for one another, especially towards the people we disagree with on issues, is something we cannot just throw to the dogs the way Arnold has.
The sub-culture where people feel justified to cast insinuations here and there just for the public to see them as “tough,” is one that we should let go if we are to really build a better Ghana entertainment industry.
The industry, for years, has been a house filled with kinsmen (actors, musicians, dancers, radio show hosts, etc.) who do not see eyeball to eyeball not because they disagree on certain issues per say but because people are quick to capitalise on incidents and situations to attack and offend others. I feel that is what Arnold is perpetuating.
Truth is, we can always disagree on issues with arguments devoid of veiled insults, threats, insinuations and unwarranted invectives. Decorum should be the watch-word, because whether we cast insinuations at people we disagree with or not, one plus one will never add up to three.
One plus one will forever add up to two whether written with all the indelible ink Madam Charlotte Osei, of the Electoral Commission, can fetch for us or whether it is murmured in the most deafening silence. Arnold should know, at least, that the ability to disagree with one another without throwing veiled punches at them, is also a mark of maturity – especially with the kind of job he does.
He should again know that every stakeholder is a partaker in an industry-building exercise in which respect for one another is non-negotiable. It is, thus, imperative to shed our respective ostrich identities, to be able to condemn the condemnable, and praise the praiseworthy.
That is the only way we can chart a different course and move the industry forward to where it should be. Indeed, Mr. George Quaye has apologized for his damning comment, but it does not mean people should just shut up and start singing his praise.
Arnold should acknowledge that until Mr. Quaye musters the courage and names his supposed bribe-givers, the integrity and credibility of any gospel musician who has ever won a VGMA will be doubted. So, it is only to be expected, if not normal, that Minister OJ and Team Ohemaa Mercy feel the way they do about Mr. Quaye’s allegations.
We should remember that it is the credibility of the brands that these hardworking, award-wining gospel musicians have built over the years, that we are talking about here. And I don’t think there is anything wrong for Minister OJ and Team Ohemaa Mercy to want to disassociate themselves from Mr. Quaye’s damning allegations.
That said, Mr. Arnold also has the right to disagree with both musicians, but not to the extent of muddying the already-charged waters with such inflammatory posture. Honestly, Arnold could have done better, and I particularly expected him to have done better!
Must we always jump to the rescue of our cohorts even when their “case is not sweet”? Must we attack everyone who disagree with us on issues? Must we encourage reckless talk by people in trusted positions simply because they are our friends?
And must we always exude ‘tension’ and sound ‘controversial’ to catch the public’s attention? Why don’t we change the paradigm for once and see what happens!!!
Guest Writer: Asomasi Kwaku Poku (Entertainment Journalist/Former Entertainment News Editor for Spectator – now doing Masters at University of Western Australia (UWA)
Opinions expressed by Guest Contributors on the site, do not represent Our official position – so whilst free to pass comments or take positions on any issue, We advise anyone to draw distinction between Opinions and Conjectures from Facts.