I cannot believe nobody told me how much fun President Atta Mills of Ghana is! And here I was 'wasting my time' with Nigerian officials and my favorite member of Nigeria's legislative body - Patrick Obahiagbon. While the Honorable Obahiagbon is an indecipherable delight to listen to, Atta Mills has entire tracks that have been made, remixed and transformed into ringtones on his behalf.
In 2009, John Atta Mills, once a tax law professor, came to power in an election that was heralded as one of Africa's freest and fairest elections. Within no time, Mills illustrated an uncanny ability to speak English very differently from most people. He constantly mixes up and mispronounces words. In fact, when being sworn in as President of Ghana, he slipped up more times that President Obama of the United States who needed to redo his inaugural swearing in just to get things right. No wonder Obama picked Ghana as the first black African country to visit as America's President.
That incident elicited many jokes and remixed versions such as -
And, the much shorter -
But, despite the goodnatured songs, there has been much political tension in Ghana and Mills has been labeled a dull,"non performer". Nevertheless, the presence of such songs and a robust political discourse are good signs of freedom of speech - a key indicator of democracy. In neighboring Nigeria, such would possibly have been met with either arrests (as has been the case for political bloggers and journalists), detention, interrogation or accusations of treason. One would rather have a President that is considered dull and bungles his words that one that is considered dull and whose absence is creating unrest and a growing constitutional battle.
From The Archives:
- Patrick Obahiagbon: My Favorite Parliamentarian?
- President "Ecomini" of Ghana
- Funny Yar'Adua Spoof
- Should Africa's Presidents Get Web Savvy?