Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Avoiding Lapses At National Events By Ernest Obeng-Anim

On 7th January 2017, Ghana chalked up another milestone in its democratic credentials with a colourful ceremony to inaugurate a new President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The function was attended by Ghanaians from all walks of life with heavy presence of party faithful. The occasion was also graced by 16 Presidents and other foreign dignitaries. What has become symbolic of such national events is the display of the country's rich culture where citizens dress in different designs of Kente and smock. The January 7 inauguration was no exception with the new President himself appearing in a magnificent kente. The inner perimeter was for very important dignitaries, while the stands were occupied by party supporters, most of them in the NPP colours of Red, White and Blue. It should be the case that at such auspicious events, the only colours to be displayed should be the national ones. It is not feasible to get all citizens to be at the venue for every national event. This is where the broadcast media especially, radio and television come in to let those outside the venue be part of the ceremony.

As usual, a number of Ghanaians who could not make it to the Black Star Square were glued to their Television sets to observe proceedings. The deafening noise that greeted the arrival of the dignitaries and the rich cultural display added pomp and pageantry to the ceremony. The State Broadcaster, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, GBC, provided live feed to other stations. The staff exhibited professionalism to the admiration of all. This underscores the fact that if GBC is well resourced and the staff well motivated the sky will be the limit. The Master of Ceremony for the programme, Kwame Sefa-Kayi was a delight to watch exhibiting one of the things he knows best. He performed his duties with all seriousness to the admiration of the dignitaries as well as Ghanaians who either watched on television or listened to Radio. Kwame keeps increasing in knowledge and in style making the job seem easy. The organisers of the programme undoubtedly worked tirelessly to set up the place to make the event a memorable one, and they deserve commendation.

However, one cannot tell how the seating arrangement was done, because some of the ushers appeared confused and did not know where to direct the dignitaries to sit. Some of them were seen on Television asking the dignitaries to show them their invitation cards even though they were driven in vehicles into the inner perimeter. This is an issue that should be addressed during future programmes. One other area of concern at such events has to do with running ceremonial commentary. With the array of commentators that GBC can boast of, one is at a loss as to why the organisers decided to use other people. It is important that such events are used to provide unadulterated historical facts.

Unfortunately, from the way the two commentators discharged their duties, it was obvious that they did not prepare or do any research before the day. One cannot really tell whether they were not informed early enough. It is unacceptable for anybody to be ignorant about the political history of the country forgetting that during such ceremonies many people, including students watch Television to educate themselves on the history of the country. A couple of years back, a group tried to rewrite the history of Ghana by saying the first President Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah is the founder of the nation relegating the collective effort of the other members of the big six to the background. The commentators instead of righting the wrong doubled the evil by displaying their poor knowledge of the political history of the country. Let us avoid such national embarrassment.

There was also no coordination between those on the ground and the commentators and therefore identifying the dignitaries was a problem. It was mistakes galore and they kept apologising as if that was what people wanted to hear. The 60th Anniversary of Ghana's Independence is around the corner and those who will be tasked to organize that momentous event should select the right people for the various roles. This will help avoid a repetition of the abysmal performance witnessed on 7th January’s inauguration of President Akufo-Addo, when the eyes of the global community were fixed on Ghana. The country deserves better than this because of its enviable democratic record. The President, Nana Akufo-Addo who has spent greater part his life fighting to deepen democracy in Ghana needs all and sundry to give of their best to move the country forward. He won the election after the third attempt and would not need any disturbances to mar the plans he has for the country.

It will be prudent for those who will be given any duty to perform to do it diligently to reflect the good plans the President has for the nation


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