It’s my pleasure to welcome you back from the America. I get the impression that your ego was quite bruised by the fact that your drab address to the UN General Assembly was not broadcast live on state television. It’s just an impression but that’s the sort of vibe I get from your ministers’ expression of ‘shock’ at GTV’s failure to broadcast your speech, which, really didn’t deserve to be broadcast live. GTV is a completely different subject matter and I will write separately to you about that, probably in the course of this week. For now, I want to just tell you my piece of mind about your refusal to make use of the mansion Kufuor built.
Like you, I was – and will for a long time be – very mad that Kufuor decided to spend our scarce resources to put up that structure when we still need hospitals and schools. When the project started you criticised Kufuor just as much as I did and so, somehow, I know how difficult it is for you to decide to move into that ‘thing’ – live and work from there. Unfortunately, your Excellency, I am afraid that is exactly what you need to do.
The NPP people will taunt you for using it after heaping all of those criticisms on Kufuor. But I am sure Ghanaians will understand. Just issue a terse statement, explaining to your citizens that you need to do what in the best interest of the nation – and that’s to make use of what our good money has been used to build. We will understand.
What we won’t understand, Mr. President, is all of this hogwash about the need for an estimated 50 million dollars extra to complete the project before you move in. The mansion is 98 percent completed and we need more than half of what has been spent so far to complete the remaining two percent? That’s outrageous. We are told government needs 15 million dollars for landscaping and another 35 million dollars for the construction of quarters for those who will be guarding you and the mansion. On both issues, many Ghanaians have serious reservations.
First, 15 million dollars for mere landscaping is sickening. What sort of grass are they going to plant there? Can you chew some of it to hone your presidential abilities? If not, please tell those demanding the huge sum of money for landscaping to go to hell. You were only able to give a mere two million cedis towards Nkrumah’s centenary celebrations. If that’s all we could spend on Nkrumah, I am certain that Ghanaians will not be pleased if you spend anything more than that on grass and flowers.
Secondly, Mr. President, that amount they are quoting for the security quarters (35 million dollars) nearly caused my young heart to stop beating. Since your deputy information minister revealed the amount he has been at pains to put some gloss on it by saying that no firm decision has been taken yet. All well and good. I hope no firm decision is ever taken. Mr. President, I will urge that under no circumstance should you spend your signature on any piece of paper to allocate 35 million dollars for anything to do with the presidential mansion. That amount is almost the same as the initial cost of the whole project. It is the money you criticised Kufuor for using unwisely and urged him to use on more important things like schools, clinics and water.
If you permit any such money for that project – the security quarters – you will come up for as much criticism as Kufuor did. So I’d respectfully urge you not to sign any paper when you’ve taken in a few tots, feel dizzy or sleepy or have a headache or diarrhoea. Don’t sign anything and come and tell us that you didn’t know or that you were not properly advised – like Muntaka claimed. We won’t take that.
In fact, to be on the safe side, Mr. President, I’d urge you to tell those responsible for your security to find a place somewhere around the mansion to mount tents for the soldiers who will be guarding the place. They are soldiers for Christ’s sake. They should be used to sleeping rough when they are on duty. You can destroy the revolutionary square which is right in front of the mansion and allow your guards to mount their tents in its place.
Mr. President, the point I am making is that we don’t need to spend 50 million dollars more before you decide to move into the presidential mansion and since we can’t afford to let that thing go to waste, the earlier you moved in the better. Whether you move in or not, the decision is yours. If, for obvious reasons, you refuse to go in there, please don’t allow your people to come and give us some spurious excuses. We are tired of the excuses you politicians cook up. If you choose not to go there, please come up with a better idea on how to make good use of the structure. We can turn it into a hospital or a world class hotel, for example. You may also want to send all your prayer warriors there. I am sure T. B. Joshua wouldn’t mind using the place as his new Shiloh and who knows the prophet’s presence in Accra will bring more blessing onto our nation than his presence in Lagos has done for Nigeria. The choice is yours, Mr. President.
I know that you are caught between a rock and a hard place. But that’s why you are president – your job is just to be the one making the tough decisions for our nation. Find a way to wiggle out of this one and save your poor country some money. Thank you very much. Once again, welcome back from America.