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Peace in our hands; Prof. Kofi Agyekum reminds Ghanaians towards polls

BY: Kate Baaba Hudson
Prof. Kofi Agyekum
Prof. Kofi Agyekum

The Dean of the School of Performing Arts, Professor Kofi Agyekum, has said all Ghanaians have the power and control to work together by playing their expected roles and behaving in the right manner to ensure that the forth-coming December 7, 2020 elections are peaceful.

He said it was a natural phenomenon for people to desire peace and Ghanaians would have to generate the peace themselves from within and not from outside.

“Any peace that is generated from external sources or outside, is just temporary or momentarily and will never last, but peace generated from within is perpetual”, he noted.

The Professor of Linguistics, told The Mirror in an exclusive interview in his office at the University of Ghana, Legon, prior to the December 7 elections, which is just two days away, that any peace that was generated from outside would only last for a while or just for a period.

Prof. Agyekum explained that peace was derived from a theory - embodiment, and noted that the various components of peace, which included ethno semantics or ethno pragmatics, referring to the people and pragmatics.

He referred to our local languages, such as Akan, where peace meant ‘asomdwee’, in Ga, ‘toi mli dzorler’ and in Ewe, ‘nutifafa’, and pointed out that, all these were taken from parts of the body, which came from within us.

Peace, therefore, is not something that is lying somewhere that we are going to search for or pick, so if we all understand that peace resides in us, then we know that no one will give us that peace to just pick, he stressed,

He said, for instance, ‘dwo’ brought about comfort, ‘asomdwee’ meant coolness of the inner part, which meant that peace came from within, adding that, what it meant was that we had control over it.

“So the peace we desire cannot be generated for us by any neighbouring country, such as Burkina- Faso, La Cote D’Ivoire, or from Europe, the United States of America,” he stated.

Prof. Agyekum, who is called by many as Opanyin Agyekum, also noted that human beings, unlike animals, had a conscience, and had the ability to recollect what happened yesterday and even figure out what would happen tomorrow, or what we would do tomorrow.

“Animals don’t have that conscience, and that is why a goat can chew the owner’s plantain without realising that it has done anything wrong” so if we have all these capabilities, then we, as Ghanaians, should be able to look at what has happened to us before in anything that we do.

“We should take a cue from what has happened in other countries or the things which are affecting other countries and protect the peace that we enjoy because peace is priceless”, he emphasised.

He asked Ghanaians to sit back quietly and think about what would happen to us, if found ourselves in a situation without peace.

Assuming that we have to flee, where are we going.

“Have you thought about your children, old, frail and sick parents or a sibling who is not very well, or the mother with younger children and babies, how do you move them safely. What about the issue of language?

“Luckily for us, we haven’t experienced what our sister countries have gone through and we don’t wish to get there, so we cannot fail ourselves”, he cautioned.

Making an emphasis in Akan, he said “yen kura nanka, nnyae nanka, enka se ye hunuie a anka”.

He reminded us all that we were enjoying peace and we should protect it well and not joke with it, else we would lose it and the consequences could be dire.

Opanyin Agyekum expressed worry that Ghanaians had not sat down to imagine our society without peace.
“Ghana is a peaceful and beautiful country, and we need to protect and guide it because this is all we have,” he said.

He asked all to take our minds back to the period of lockdown, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), saying that, even though the lockdown was not as a result of any war but a health situation and the measure was just to protect us, yet we felt like our freedom had been taken away from us.

Prof. Agyekum called on Ghanaians to ensure that once they cast their vote, they would leave the polling stations, because they had nothing else to do there.

“There is currently COVID-19, and a number of measures have been prescribed, in order to protect us and avoid a possible spread, “why do you want to leave the comfort of your home and go and stay at the polling station, after you have voted?” he asked.

“If you are not a party agent, why do you want to stay around there, what for. Just abide by the advice given by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and other related bodies, and go home and wait for the results,” he advised.

He stated that everybody should go home and wait for the outcome of the polls, adding that we should think of what would happen if a pandemonium should occur, apart from the possible spread or infection of the COVID-19.

Prof Agyekum asked Ghanaians to take the education on the elections seriously, and reminded them that the exercise would start from 7a.m. to 5 p.m.

Under normal circumstances, he said, voting should be a very simple exercise, because we don’t need a pen or a cutlass, hoe or a gun at the station, he stressed.

Luckily, we now have various means to follow or monitor the elections and listen to results, he noted.

The dean however drew attention to the fact that, it was a contest and there certainly would be a winner.

Prof Agyekum observed that once there’s victory, there will be jubilation and there will be a loser, but both the loser and winner need a sense of moderation and must be considerate, and remember that the common denominator is that we want peace for all of us, the winner, loser and the nation itself.