A speech by the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, at the 2018 Oxford African Conference, where he addressed how the international community separates a financially successful African country from the continent only to generalize problems found in another, has been widely misinterpreted even by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
In the Conference organised at the University of Oxford, Akufo-Addo narrated how Nigerians were received as special guests into the United Kingdom because Oil has just been discovered in the Country.
“For most of you in the audience today, it is probably before your time, but in the late 1970s up to the mid-1980s, as a result of the discovery of considerable petroleum deposits, Nigeria was booming. It was the place to be.
“We Ghanaians, who were going through very difficult times then, would arrive at Heathrow airport, and be herded into a cage to be subjected to the full third degree by Immigration, and we would look on as our Nigerian cousins would be waved through, with a ‘welcome sir’ and a ‘welcome madam’.”
He claimed the International community was biased towards Africans and its Continent, as they only recognized African Countries with robust economy, but quickly act like Africa is one country when the narrative is against an African Country.
“I cite this just to make the point that the “the outside world” is well able to tell that there are separate sovereign Nations on the African continent. But, when the news is not good, then Africa is treated as one entity.”
Akufo-Addo emphasised that when Nigerians were given preferential treatment, there was instability in the country, and the Country was not even a democratic State. Again, making his point clear that if an African Nation has an economic advantage it is usually singled out for praise.
However, Akufo-Addo’s speech has been misinterpreted by former President Goodluck Jonathan, who expressed regret that Nigeria is now being used as a negative example.
Speaking at the inauguration of a flyover built in Ado Ekiti, Jonathan encourage the country’s leaders to get it right, although he did not exclude himself from the list of leaders.
“If it has got to a level when the Presidents of neighbouring Countries will cite Nigeria as a negative example, then we must know as leaders of this Country that certain things are not going well, and we must change the way we do things.”
Fake News get’s to Otuoke
Added to his misunderstanding of what the Ghanian President said, former President Jonathan also alleged that the Ghanian President addressed the herdsmen crisis in a manner he describes as uncomplimentary.
“A President of a neighbouring Country, Ghana, recently made two negative remarks about Nigeria. First, the current Ghanaian President was addressing Ghanaians about the movement of cattle within their shores and he said openly that Ghana is not like Nigeria where cattle roam freely. That was quite uncomplimentary.”
Checks by ETN24 reveal that the President of Ghana never made such remarks about hersmen and Nigeria.
In their defence, Ghana High Ambassador to Nigeria, Rashid Bawa, have denounced the Statement being attributed to the Ghanaian President, saying Jonathan “deliberately misrepresented the comments of Mr. Akufo-Addo for political gains.”
“President Akufo-Addo, in many of the speeches he has made in Nigeria and elsewhere, since becoming President of Ghana, has described Nigeria as “a Country I describe as my second home in the world”, and will never use Nigeria to make negative examples, as the former President Goodluck Jonathan sought to portray.
“President Akufo-Addo enjoys a very good relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari, as he has with many other Nigerian leaders. Ghana and Nigeria are like siblings, and it would be most inappropriate, because of politics, for anyone, regardless of his or her status in society, to try to sow seeds of discord amongst the leadership and peoples of our two Countries.”
He also affirmed that the other remark allegedly made by Ghanaian President that “Ghana is not Nigeria where cattle can roam about anyhow” was untrue as the President never speak in such manner.
Where did the ‘cattle can roam’ speech come from?
The denial by Ambassador Bawa led ETN24 to do a fact check on the origin of the “cattle statement” and discovered it was tweeted by former Aviation Minister, Femi-Fani Kayode on his Social Media handle in January 2018.
“Execute and barbecue any cattle seen on the streets of Ghana. And I command the immediate arrest of any herdsman seen parading cattle on the streets of Ghana….This is not Nigeria”- President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana.
— Femi Fani-Kayode (@realFFK) January 21, 2018
Further checks revealed that none of the “reputable” Media outlets in Nigeria reported the story then and more checks from Ghana news outlets like peacefmonline.com, ghanaweb.com, modernghana.com and citinewsroom.com also showed nothing of such.