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Spio Garbrah: A Dove In The Midst Of Hawks   
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“It is not my intention to make an apology.  The design, I am sure is honest: but he who draws his pen for one party, must expect to make enemies of the other.  For Wit and Fool, are consequences of Whig and Tory.  And everyman is a naïve or an ass to the contrary side” John Dryden’s  ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL

Those who have been sending me emails and criticizing  me for not sparing erring institutions and public figures in my write ups should take note that  much as I respect their views as far as my critical harangues were concerned, the gospel truth is that I am not prone  to panegyrics.  I am not the type of person who sees a sheep and describes it as a huge cow. ((Apology to Baba Jamal) .The sages say if you see something bad in between the thighs of your mother and you use your manhood to remove it, you have not raped her.  That is why sometimes I go on rampage, letting loose my mischievous self, vitiating the niceties of journalistic etiquette and sometimes posting interminable classical theories, waxing pedantic and philosophical and prancing away with professorial obstinacy and bombast.  After all, what am I a Zongo boy for?  I have the skin of a crocodile and so when I see any evil camped anywhere in Ghana, I call that evil by its name.

I have had cause to write vexatious articles about Mr. Rawlings but anytime he did some good, I did not hesitate to write good things about him. For example when the good old soldier took on ‘Bishop’ Obinim and Kumchacha, I wrote a piece to congratulate him for being bold enough to say it as it was.  When I was teaching English Language many years ago, I used to tell my students that if I asked them to write about their father and they wrote only good things about their father without writing something that their fathers did which was not good I would give them very low marks.

One day when I asked them to write about their fathers after I had given the above mentioned instruction, one student made me laugh after reading his essay.  After writing more than five paragraphs full of praises for his father he ended up writing that even though his father was such a nice guy, he always disturbs him in the night because his father snores too much during the night which makes him feel uncomfortable to sleep.  I couldn’t help but to award him 95% of the marks.  This my former student is now a lawyer and anytime we met, he would remind me of what he wrote and we would laugh over it together.  That is how the world is.  You don’t expect Angel Gabriel, the senior messenger of God to stay acquiesced and recoil into his shell when bad things keep flying in his face.

Like many people in government today who have not come under my chastisement,   I had never had cause to write anything bad about Mr. Ekow Spio Garbra, the Minister of Trade and Industry because for so many years, from our days in Cape Coast till now, I have come to respect his honesty, hard work and intelligence.  He is one politician in Ghana who commands the respect of all and sundry.  He is not the insulting type and seriously weighs his words before voicing them out.  He works silently behind the scene and unlike some of the guys in the NDC, this particular gentleman is not boastful even though he has all the qualities to make him swollen headed.  In the early seventies when Takoradi was Takoradi and Cape Coast was Cape Coast, the name of Ebow Spio Garbra rang like a bell on campuses.  Ekow was a degree-grabbing student who was a role model for students in those days.

The thirty-year old Deputy Minister who is now flexing his or her muscles was barely seven years old when Mr. Rawlings nominated Ekow Spio Garbra for the Minister of Information portfolio twenty three years ago.

In 1992 when Mr. Rawlings who led the NDC won the general election, he looked around to find a gentleman who could manage government information because as a former military leader he needed someone who could balance the equation and sent a message of reconciliation and hope to the good people of Ghana.  He looked around and could not find one. His tantalizing witchery eyes fell on Ekow Spio Garbrah who was then heading the Africa Development Bank in Ivory Coast and invited him to handle that portfolio.

Spio, who was young and burning with youthful exuberance, left his enticing job, accepted the invitation and flew down from Abidjan to serve his country.  Very unfortunately, as fate might have it, Ekow was not a registered voter and at his vetting, his own party member, Owireku Amofa who was a member of the vetting committee pulled a trump card when he challenged Spio Garbrah to present his voter ID card.  Spio was not able to pull one and he was subsequently disqualified.  Rawlings went mad but he could not do anything to save Spio because it was a constitutional requirement. The guy went back to work at the Africa Development Bank where they needed him badly as an ICT whiz-kid. An angry Rawlings bided his time until 1996.  He impressed upon Spio to register and he did.  That was how come Spio Garbrah became a minister in Rawlings’ regime.  He never looked back and served the government of the NDC in various capacities.

I have followed the exploits of Mr. Ekow Spio Garbra both in government and out of government and have come to realize that he could have been a better president than our current indecisive president who is beating about the bush. Spio will never countenance corruption and the indiscipline which is going on in government today.  The childish behavior of people like Murtala Mohamed, Okudjeto Ablakwa, Ofosu Kwakye, Baba Jamal etc. has proved beyond reasonable doubt that Ekow was right when he mooted his team ‘B’ mantra.

What I do not like about Spio is that he has never been heard speaking against what the likes of Murtala Mohamed were doing.  The Akans have a saying that if you are an elder in the house and you sit unconcerned for children in the house to eat the meat of a python, anytime the role of eaters of python is called your named would be included.  The Spio Garbra I know is not happy about the way these upstarts go about taking senior citizens to the cleaners but sadly the President who appointed him enjoys the spectacle and so he has to keep quiet.

I do not know whether President Mahama had his early childhood training in the Northern Region where he comes from and so I cannot put my hand in fire and say he is cultured like the way people from the Northern Region were trained.  If Murtala Mohamed could blazingly insult chiefs from the northern regions which led to the chiefs coming out to show their anger and the man is still in office as the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, then President Mahama was like the elder who sat in the house and watched children ate python meat.  There is no insult which could be more painful than to tell a chief that he is corrupt and a hypocrite.  The universal adjective is CRIMINAL.

In an attempt to bring young guys on board to govern the country, the NDC ended up bringing onboard uncouth, disrespectful and reckless boys whose places should have been in the kitchen at the Flagstaff House.

As for me so long as this Murtala guy is in government I will never, ever show any respect to those who appointed him as well as those who lobbied for him to be appointed.  Those of us who come from the Northern part of this country do not take things lightly when you insult our elders, not to talk of our revered and respected chiefs.

As I end this epistle, permit me to serve notice: Notice is hereby served that if I wait for one month and the President still keeps Murtala in office I will descend on him (Murtala) like the way a hawk descends on a chicken.  And when I start to do what I know how to do best, he will regret the day his mother delivered him at Nanton.  This is an ultimatum from yours sincerely, Earth Angel Gabriel, the man who fears no police.

When I am peeved and angry like this, I refuse to puff cigar.  I always prefer ‘taa bonto’-that was why I went looking for my old and dusty smoking pipe three days ago.  So here I go, polluting the air again and disturbing my old lady who always had to cover her nostrils anytime I start puffing.

Source: Eric Bawah/Daily Guide

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