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The coup d’etat that never was a la CAN 2008

BY: Magnus RexDanquah, the Ghanaian
MAGNUS REX DANQUAH, the author
MAGNUS REX DANQUAH, the author

Over the last 40 years and more, I have learnt so much of this world that nothing fazes me anymore as a human being, especially as regards intrigues, backbiting, undermining, badmouthing, calumniating, denigrating, gossiping, maligning, scandalizing, slandering, traducing, vilifying, backstabbing and defaming.

WORSE still, this state seems to be the trademark of the emerging sport industry or even more damaging, our national life as a people: it is as if somebody always has to fall before another can rise up or emerge; as if multiple people cannot all rise up individually or independently of each other or collectively together.

In short, ours is the ‘CRABOLOGY’ philosophy – please don’t ask me to explain this to you but when you find yourself where people pride themselves more in the number they have pulled down during a lifetime than the number they have ever assisted or supported to climb up or offered opportunities for elevation or promotion. This is the bane of the nation we have built and still building for ourselves since Independence. This is mostly exhibited in groups of 2 and more, and where the person so solitary then the bystanders become the opposition forces.

Like everything else, the activities of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) was never bereft of several instances or stories or seeming clouds of mutiny, coup d’états, uprising, insurgencies, revolt, apostasy, defiance, insubordination, insurrection, rebellion or dissent. There was always one muttering or another and this was not helped by the kind of media that was in play around the period: from the bid process to the meltdown of the tournament.

There was an instance during the Bid stage, when I was called by a Minister of State at the then Ministry of Education, Science and Sports, who was also a friend under the direction of the Minister that there were some two members, who seem to have an agenda for the numerous times that one in particular would push to be closer to the former President J. A. Kufuor. I was given the option of either RESHUFFLING the membership myself or the Ministry would act and announce it. I offered to undertake the reshuffle because I didn’t want it to be seen otherwise.

That saw the exit of two persons, including a Vice Chairman then, even as they both took the exit personal that I had engineered it for whatever reason.

There was the other instance, when the Chairman had been missing in action for quite some time and this had created some anxiety at the Ministry with plans to look for a competent replacement. The reason being that he had travelled outside the country for that long without explicit approval as dictated by Civil and Public Service procedure except they called me to bring a name for consideration. Naïve that I was, my thinking was ‘the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know’: so I called the Chairman and gave him 2 days maximum to be back in Accra.

Next, I did an update of all the issues we had worked on in his absence and sent this to him, asking that he, upon return, should go straight to the Castle to report that he had been in touch with the Secretariat whilst he was away on daily basis, if his input into anything was desired.

To cut a long story short, there was no need for a replacement anymore after he had returned within the two days and acted on the brief.

However, things continued to deteriorate with one rumor after another rumor of the imminent removal of my person as a member of the LOC and as the Chief Operating Officer (COO – this title has a whole story to it to be told one day).

Unfortunately as a result of some internal manipulations and scheming, the number of my Deputies had increased from an initial situation of just a ‘DEPUTY COO’ to four (4) Deputies – Andy Sam, Reks Brobbey, Kwame Essah and Mawuli Ocloo.

On this fateful day of the planned COUP D’ÉTAT, got to the LOC Secretariat and saw two of the four (4) Deputies in immaculately white dresses in anticipation of my removal and their own elevations – and these were the same persons who were begging for the opportunity to be part of the LOC – including one who got Jerome Champagne then of FIFA to be calling me to plead on his behalf; again, a well-known black American Olympian gold medalist athlete was also implored upon to be calling plus several others.

I also saw one particular sport journalist, then of Joy FM, there after doing a promo that I would be gone by 1.00 o’clock afternoon news before rushing there to report the proceedings live.

Truth be told, every one of the plotters had their own personal reasons for joining the MUTINY for the coup d’état. He was one of the many journalists who had been briefed before of my sack and therefore waiting for the official press statement or briefing to confirm my departure.

You see, long before any Ghanaian knew of any bid for the rights to host and organize the 26th Africa Cup of Nations (then known as CAN), 2008, I had started working on the bid since 2002 from my offices at Kaneshie Industrial Area, Dadeban Street, investing my agency’s resources to drive the bid process until the late Emmanuel Osei Kwaku, the lawyer and a friend, directed the Ministry for Youth and Sports to work with RICS Consult Limited to deliver a successful bid and which we did.

When I climbed the steps to the floor of my office, my Personal Assistant informed me that the LOC Members were in, about to start a meeting but he had been directed to inform me that since the subject matter of the session was me, I could not be in the meeting and also that they were waiting for the then Chief Director of the Minister of Education, Science and Sports (now three-time Member of the Council of State), Prof. Ato Essuman before formally commencing the meeting.

I just went and sat in my office, only for one of my Coordinators to come and inform me of a funny dream I had had in the night concerning me: how I seemed to be drowning in some spiral of part of the sea, struggling till I finally swarm to the beach. We both laughed over the dream, commenting that I had lived my early life in Axim, where I learnt how to swim in the sea so very sure nothing like the dream can take my life.

As soon as he left, I heard the Chief Director come to the floor, outside my office but to my hearing that: “What kind of life is this, this young man uses his own money to successfully win the bid for Ghana and you have the opportunity to be part of the event, you can’t think of anything nice to say to him than to plot his dismissal and for what reason? I won’t allow it on behalf of the Minister and myself.”

He left and went back into the meeting and that was the end of the abortive COUP D’ÉTAT.

I still wonder how all the media who were prompted to cover my sack reacted to the ‘NO STORY’ story? You see when people can’t understand you, they are inclined to take the only easy way out to tell all manner of stories about you to destroy whatever you might have built for yourselves, that which they envy and would want to destroy, as if to bring an end to your life.

I have always learnt how to survive the machinations of men because they are as part of LIFE itself as every other thing that we worry about or desire to achieve.