The usual bright Ogyakromian Sun may be concealed behind dark clouds most of the day. Heavenly showers may just be the harbinger of pain and agony, as they have been in the past couple of weeks, for many families who have the misfortune of locating their shelters on courses claimed by the waters as they head to pay obeisance to the mighty Atlantic Ocean. But as the skies darken, the crowd shall grow expectant, with their eyes fixed on the receding skyline looking out for “Air force One” draped in the colours of the Unites States of America. However the excitement is not about the plane, but who it carries in its bosom - The most powerful Man on Planet Earth. Barrack Hussein Obama, a man shamelessly claimed by Africa as her own. The only thing Africa in his makeup is a single sperm donated by Barrack Obama Senior. His birth is like many in Africa. A man proves his fertility by donating a sperm and then goes AWOL. The woman bears the brunt of their little dance in the privacy of their intimate moment. Most times the offspring will not turn well; but not this one. He was born in a continent of opportunities. Opportunities created by Men and Women of vision in a continent less endowed than ours. The crowd will be waiting for the touchdown with bated breath as ‘Air force one’ with wings sprawled out like the eagle in its majestic glide makes its approach. Everybody wants to claim a piece of him. His father comes from faraway Kenya, but that will not stop Ghanaians from calling him their own. His decision to touch bases with Ogyakrom on his maiden voyage to Sub Saharan Africa as the president of the world's surviving super power hasn't gone down well with some neighbouring countries, but who cares. He is here! He is here! I can see him! Weizor Looo Efo Barrack (Welcome Brother Barrack).
The government's conductors will orchestrate men, women and children from various parts of the country to sing the welcome chorus as the armoured vehicle makes its way through the streets of Accra. The scenes will be reminiscent of the famous "America eba bie" in the days of Jerry John Rawlings and Bill Clinton. I hope the streets are not lined with kids from our public schools as we did in the Rawlings era. Even if we do, Obama may not realize the exploitation of kids from poor backgrounds to honour him. The routes will be carefully chosen to avoid the streets that could not hold their tar against the recent floods. The houses along the routes were donned with paint only yesterday, for his eyes only. Ogyakromians love to leave a good impression with their guests, even false impressions. Shouldn't we expose him to the bad roads to facilitate quick release of the green bucks when we go to him cup in hand? Never mind, he is here, his presence has glorified our presidency. We will line up all our living ex presidents (thank God we stopped tying them to the stake and making target practice out of them at the Teshie shooting range) to welcome him. Papa Jerry may even lay a report before him, as he did (or intended to) when George Walker Bush visited Ghana, detailing Kuffuor's attempt to give himself an undeserved retirement package. He may even confound the great orator (Obama) with his bizarre philosophy only understood by himself and admired by his aides. He may try to explain why Kuffuor should be in jail and not at the airport. Ogyakromians are worried because the two gentlemen are at loggerheads, but why should I be bothered because the egos of two old men are the vehicle retrogressing them into their adolescent years. Their petulance is not worth a drop of ink. Don't worry too much Barrack; state protocol will keep the CDS standing in between Kuffuor and Jerry to avert any un-presidential calamities
It is our way of saying Welcome to ‘skin pain’ Ogyakrom. Akwaaba President Obama!
Among the dignitaries to welcome him are the bosses of many American sponsored aid organisations and Non Governmental Organisations. These men and women carrying titles like "Chief of Party" will grant interviews to radio stations to reiterate what America means to Ghana. Their activity map draws Ghana; their sector penetration will create a quorum to hold President Attah Mills' cabinet meting. What they won't say is that there are many Ghanaians who can do what they are doing for far less money. They live in mansions they won't dream of in their own countries. They employ for next to nothing maids, garden boys, drivers etc- luxuries they won't contemplate in their country, but more importantly, these are paid for by the funds voted as aid, grants and loans for Africa . If we had our own way, we will employ Ogyakromians for these jobs for less, leaving a lot more for the purpose for which the funds were voted. If that happened, rent in Airport, East Legon, Labone would have been within the reach of Ghanaians. But for now, these areas are the preserve of expats who have driven the price out of our reach so we can only live tens of kilometers away from the city. Does it matter anyway? The Chief of Parties will make the guest list at the private meetings; Obama may even part them on their backs for sacrificing so much for the sake of a continent which remains a scar on the conscience of the world. Welcome President Obama !
Many Ogyakromians, of their own volition will defy the soggy weather to see him in flesh, but many more will be bussed from all over the country by government conductors to create the orchestra atmosphere. The latter group has nothing against Obama, but given the option they may choose to be elsewhere. But who won't want to be part of a history making event? "I was there when Obama visited Ghana". "Does that put money in your pocket?" "Not really but they will feed us the whole day ".
A day's meal is enough incentive for many in Africa to put their lives on hold for others. They will attend your political rallies, they will do the dirty job for the party in power, because they have little else to do that will pay more. Sometimes I have the feeling that political animals in Ogyakrom will keep them "down trodden" so they can use them to do their bidding. But does it matter at all today? This is just the view of a cynic. What matters is Obama in Ghana. Welcome to Ogyakrom.
I have heard the question being asked “what is in it for Ghana?” The question smack of our usual begging mentality but it has been asked anyway. Most Africans tend to confuse the president of the USA -United States of America for United States of Africa. Obama first and foremost, seeks the interest of America NOT Africa. We also tend to forget that he is more of a white American (Because he was brought up by white grannies and mummy) than an African American. Maybe fate took him away from his father to fulfil his destiny. Will Barrack be Barrack if he was raised by his father?
What is in it for Ghana? If you ask many ordinary Ghanaians, the answer is obvious but many have refused to mention it. They want visas to America.
Yours truly will ask Obama for a single favour. President Obama, please deliver this message to our leaders;
Africa is rich. What the continent lacks is not aid and grants. Africa lacks leadership and fair trade. The former leads to the latter, but not vice versa.
If Africa's leaders will do what leaders are elected for,
If Africa's leaders will make corruption a very expensive venture
If Africa's leaders will stop plundering the resources of the continent to benefit themselves and cronies from within and without the continent
If Africa's leaders are willing to lead the continent to pay the price of development
Then Africa will eradicate malaria, provide food and water for every citizen, build good roads and infrastructure, provide a health system worthy of note, and create an educational system that equips Africans to negotiate with the world.
Yes! Yes! Yes you can!
Welcome to Ogyakrom Mr. Barack Hussein Obama.