A ceremony has been held at the forecourt of the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation, Cantonments to induct the 2018 batch for the Kufuor Scholars Programme. The ceremony, which was made up of 15 females and 11 males, drawn from various universities across the country, was done shortly after the former president was honoured at the AU Arts Festival the same day.
The Kufuor Scholars programme is one of the flagship programme of the John Agyekum Kufuor (JAK) Foundation (JAK), which seeks to “prepare young people to become catalysts for sociopolitical and economic transformation through effective leadership in their chosen fields of endeavor.”
The ceremony was chaired by the former president, who is also the founder, and supported by the guest speaker, Mr Kofi Abotsi, Dean of GIMPA law school, special guest, Dr. Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, Mr Kojo Mpianim, former Chief of Staff of the Kufuor administration, representatives from Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI), and families of the inductees.
In his welcome address, the CEO of the Foundation, Professor Baffour Agyeman-Duah observed that the number of females to males that had been admitted into the Foundation was very encouraging. Citing that the idea that men were better than women in terms of leadership, was just a myth. He briefed the gathering on the objectives of the programme, and said the programme was to pave way for the inductees to have a new orientation, and to help them be good leaders in every sphere of their lives.
The special guest, Dr. Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, in delivering a short speech, talked about the resources of Africa, which he emphatically stated “was not in the land, but on it.” Explaining further, he said that Africa’s greatest resources was not the land, but its people. The proceeded to narrate the story of Muhammad ibn Musa Al Khwarizmi, a Persian scholar, who produced works mathematics, astronomy, and geography. In the story, it was told that Al Khwarizmi managed to assist three disputing brothers to evenly share their father’s camels, after his death. This he did by volunteering his one camel as a peace offering.
The lesson drawn from this story was to help the scholars think out of the box; share their ideas with their community and the world at large; let go of their tribal, religious and partisan ideals that do not further the cause of society. Again, this story was also to help the scholars be more selfless, as exhibited by Al Khwarizmi. He ended his speech by stating that “Ghanaians and Africans need to have sacrificial leaders. Leaders who are willing to let their one camel go.”
When it got to his turn, Mr Kofi Abotsi, the guest speaker for the occasion entreated the scholars to perform beyond expectations. He stated that “Good is no longer the best; excellence is the hallmark.” He explained that the world had become very competitive and one needs to distinguish him or herself by going ahead of others. Before closing his remarks, Mr. Abotsi encouraged the scholars to be positive rebels – challenge the narratives and status quo; speak up, and speak their mind; do things that positively reflect on the image of the Foundation; be torch bearers of integrity; be dedicated in what they do; be citizens and not spectators and finally to conduct themselves in a manner that was worthy of their calling.
After giving his remarks, Mr Abotsi led the scholars to be formally inducted into the programme by making them recite a pledge after him.
Giving his remarks after the formal induction, President Kufuor stated that “Africa had been sidelined in global affairs. Nobody can say they are better than us individually. But when we are bagged together, they treat us anyhow.” He explained further that Mr Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary is very much respected globally as an individual. But people do not respect the continent he is from. He stated that one of the causes for such disregard for Africa is how we as a continent treat one another – without much respect and dignity as humans.
He bewailed about the plight of Africa, stating that “Africa has everything, but seem not to have enough, and that is because of leadership. It is not beyond Africa to think outside the box because we have solutions.” Despite his earlier sentiments, President Kufuor was confident about the future achievements of the Foundation, which he said “has been prepared to task the youth to think outside the box. He also advised we should not try to reinvent the wheel, but rather make use of the technology in place, as well as a stream of global advice.”
President Kufuor concluded that transformation of Africa should not be an individual venture, but the whole of Africa; and leadership is the stepping stone to achieving this.
After President Kufuor’s remarks, the scholars were given their certificates amidst an overview of their profile and future aspirations. The ceremony was finally crowned with an acceptance speech from the representatives of the scholars and the vote of thanks from Mr. Victor Kofi Kufuor.