By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
The last days have been inundated with intense talk on Bice Osei-Kuffour, affectionately called Obour and the hoopla is all about his resolution to contest the Member of Parliament slot for the Asante Akyem South constituency.
The fact is; Obour has not had it easy getting clearance from his constituency in the bid to contest and that made the news, as well as other activities he embarked on in this quest, yet, it took his sharing of just one poster of his aim to generate such rhubarb.
The kind of outburst that greeted his poster of standing in the NPP Primaries did not irk me more than the dullards who decided in engage in an inglorious spree of body shaming.
For me and other well-thinking fellows, we have the strongest conviction that Obour is overly qualified to contest the role.
Opposition is allowed
Obour is a music legend; one of many who solidified and projected the hiplife genre; releasing chart-topping tracks and albums, winning laurels and staging some of the most memorable stagecraft. Not everybody liked him during that illustrious run as a music gem.
He spearheaded an assemblage of musicians for over 8 years and in that surge, he surely might have had some things and decisions wrong, so clearly, not everybody has/had an affinity to him.
He is making an audacious move to unseat the sitting Member of Parliament before facing off with the candidate of the biggest opposition party, NDC, so it is evident that not everybody would like him to annex the slot. He is bound to face stiff opposition.
Obour is not new to politics; his campaign stretch for the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) Presidency and his two-term tenure entangled him in the shenanigans of politics, so he is aware that, in his pursuit of a constant appearance in Ghana’s parliament, he would encounter some form of antagonism and obstruction.
Show up or Shut up!
The likes of D-Black and Criss Waddle have been loud in their rejection of Obour’s bid. Their repudiation of Obour’s plan is allowed but their approach is questionable.
The two, in their respective tirade on social media against Obour, called him selfish, greedy and unaccountable.
Nobody is infallible including his accusers and critics and no leader of any grouping in our entertainment industry and any other venture is without blemish, especially when it has to do with their human nature and tendencies. We all have elements of greed, bias and selfishness – so that is no strong basis to scuttle somebody’s efforts in contesting for a Member of Parliament slot.
The likes of D-Black, Waddle and the other naysayers can do better by providing concrete evidence that puts his leadership, managerial and business skills under contention.
The humdrum from the critics is not good enough; either they show up with proof of his unaccountability or the mismanagement of his tenure as MUSIGA head or shut up!
Best MUSIGA President Ever
If some of his critics take a little of their time to do some research, be humble to ask questions and are sincere, they’d reckon that Obour remains the best leader to ever oversee MUSIGA.
He made the Union overly attractive; a fixation that made it viable to do businesses with corporate firms and institutions.
Under his leadership, the Union established an Ageing Musicians Welfare Fund and administered yearly distribution of support to members and over 200 musicians benefitted from that initiative.
Under his guidance, the Union in collaboration with Midland Company Ltd established Business Loan Scheme that offered low interests and relatively collateral free loan to enable its members access funds for their respective projects.
At a time when musicians were complaining of the prize package for the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA), Obour and his team, as stakeholders within the industry decided to help. They did up the ante by providing cars for some of winners of some categories. The likes of R2Bees, Joey B and No Tribe all won cars.
The Union collaborated with the School of Performing Arts and the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) to set up the MUSIGA Academy, which provides professional training and skills for musicians. There’s also an establishment of a Certificate in Music Production course with NAFTI, which also has a fully equipped studio for students’ use – thanks to Obour and MUSIGA.
Strategically among other stellar achievements, Obour placed the Union in such a positive light with the handling of the Ghana Music Week, the Grand Ball, the Asanteman Arts Ball and other related events that raised over Ghc 500,000 to support the Union in its functions.
Parliament Needs Smart People; He is One!
Critics have made the Gh2million budgetary allocation to MUSIGA an albatross on Obour neck, which has brought him some form of infamy but unfortunately, many have refused to speak truth while counting the positives from that provision from the government.
Check out how smart Obour is;
In 2011, in a genuine bid to take advantage of government’s ‘Better Ghana Agenda’ initiative – which sought to ensure that all important sectors of the economy were fairly supported – MUSIGA and the Ghana Association of Phonographic Industry (GAPI) put together a group of team of experts (including creative industries consultants and experts in finance, budgeting and auditing) to present a detailed proposal to the Ministry of Finance, The Ministry of Trade & Industry and the Directorate for Budget.
The proposal requested for GHc5.5million to enable the industry do some research and development on the potentials and contribution to the country’s GDP, a Music Industry Development Centre, an Institutional Strengthening of Music Industry Structures and Ghana Music Fair.
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor in his presentation of the 2012 budget on November 16, 2011 announced that government had set aside GH¢ 2 million to MUSIGA for the development of the creative arts industry. The budget statement was specific, stating that the GH¢ 2 million was earmarked for two things; impact assessment of the music industry and the 2012 Music Fair.
GH¢ 800,000 was used to pay for the research and its execution by international firm, KPMG. GH¢ 800, 000 was also used for the Music Fair and GH¢ 300, 000 was used for Institutional Strengthening. The remainder GH¢ 100, 000 was given to Ghana Association of Phonographic Industries (GAPI) for their Institutional Strengthening.
Parliament surely would need an Obour!
The Work Is on the Ground
The noise won’t change anything as the core job is on the ‘ground’ – Asante Akyem South where Obour has already set up a scholarship scheme for the people.
The concentration should be at the constituency where Obour and his campaign team must tout his greatness in wisdom and administration to the people that really matter.
Obour is young, enterprising, innovative and intelligent and he qualifies on all fronts to represent his people in the house.