GFA VEEPS: A TALE OF NYANTAKYI DE MEDICI

Politics as a phenomenon, dealt with ethics and morality at its early stages of academization, according to history. The famous attempt to decouple ethics and morality from politics was masterminded by an ancient thought of an Italian political philosopher, Niccolò Machiavelli in his book THE PRINCE, which was written to Lorenzo De Medici-an Italian statesman, de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic and the most powerful and enthusiastic patron of Renaissance culture in Italy. It was an advisory handbook on the seizure of power and power consolidation for leaders which moved away from the norm to what is- a path I would ride on.

NYANTAKYI DE MEDICI

It is quite intriguing that Lorenzo to whom the book was meant for, never had the chance to read. But Niccolò, certainly would be smiling in his grave knowing that five centuries later, a humble little ‘Accra Representative’ of a cherished club in Wa (in the Northern parts of Ghana) would find his way down south along the coast of the country in its capital, to embrace and embody his little magical piece of advice.

Kwesi Nyantakyi was merely an Accra Rep of Wa All Stars who rose through the ranks to become the Vice President of the Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA). Being Vice President of GHALCA was then an automatic ticket to the Vice Chairmanship position of the Ghana Football Association, which was vastly a politically inclined appointment. However, the structure of the Association changed and left the hands of the Central Government to the able leadership of a man who would become slippery but firm, smiley but decisive and his biggest attribute – benevolence (disguising his dictatorial self).

The consistent inconsistency with Vice Presidents at the GFA orchestrated by the President of the Association has become like a ‘scripted f5’ to be delivered by Brock Lesnar on a cold WWE main event night. It’s delivered succinctly and if there were ever a mistake in the delivery of this brutality, then it would be more devastating to the victim. He deals mercilessly with threats whether to his reign or to his unbridled self-centered interests.

 

THE PRINCE (1532) posits:

‘To keep his servant honest the Prince ought to study him, honoring him, enriching him, doing him kindnesses, sharing with him the honors and cares; and at the same time let him see that he cannot stand alone, so that many honours may not make him desire more, many riches make him wish for more, and that many cares may make him dread chances’. (37)

Kwesi rewards those he leads diligently, whenever the need be. He silences the loud-mouthed with mutedly characterized goodies and exalts his praise singers. Whichever page you find yourself in his books, he has shown clearly depending on how useful you can be to his course that he is ready to embrace you wholeheartedly for what you are worth – a gesture that consolidates his power. Nyantakyi sets out at the FA as the typical African parent who would ensure their kids have had enough to eat before they satisfy their hunger. However, after the kids are satisfied Kwesi could eat as much, to create a mess for the children to clean up, for which failure to do so properly warrants disowning. Nyantakyi throughout the years has amassed a lot of loyalists through his benevolence – people who could rip you apart if you dare touch their boss. This has made getting close to the inner circle of Kwesi Nyankakyi a very lucrative venture to undertake.

Let’s take a look at how it has panned out for GFA Veeps under his regime.

 FRED PAPPOE

Kwesi Nyantakyi and Fred Pappoe – The duo of Nyantakyi and Pappoe (first of the Veeps) were elected as President and Vice President respectively for the Ghana Football Association to begin the new era of the administrative and structural changes in 2005. The central government who had ceded power to the football people showed massive financial support and instructive political will together with the leadership of the Association to deliver a much awaited but deluding World Cup qualification. It is important to note that Kwesi’s Vice, Pappoe, chaired the management committee of that historic senior national team. For many, it was a masterclass by Kwesi Nyantakyi and more so, because of the performance of the Black Stars at the 2006 Mundial, he was not only seen as the Joshua to have taken his people to the Promise Land but one that seemed to have owned the Promise Land. Ghana again qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with Fred still at the helm of affairs in the management of the team. The satisfaction the qualification brought to the populace had diminished marginally but the team made a greater impact equaling Africa’s record of quarter finals appearance at the Mundial. The excitement was over and elections were looming. A year before the Mundial, the late Jordan Anagblah would become the darling boy of the Ghanaian people as he led the U20 team, Black Satellites as chairman of the management committee to Africa’s first ever triumph at the World Cup. Rumors started flying around that the people needed Jordan Anagbla – a grass-root person, at the very top of Ghanaian football. It was now a matter of the people’s choice versus Kwesi’s supposedly favored lieutenant.

Kwesi’s handbook THE PRINCE (1532) clearly cut out a solution:

“A prince is also respected when he is either a true friend or an absolute enemy, that is to say, when, without any reservation, he declares himself in favour of one party against the other. This course will always be more advantageous than standing neutral” (36)

Elections were held in 2011 and the machinations that went on was conspicuously pointing to the fact that: Nyantakyi was no longer interested in working with Fred Pappoe, who eventually lost his Vice-presidential seat to the people’s representative Jordan Anagbla.

JORDAN ANAGBLAH

Jordan Anagblah’s chapter was cut short by the Almighty God who made Heaven and Earth. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

FRED CRENTSIL

With Jordan no more, fresh elections were held and Fred Crentsil was chosen by the Executive Committee of the GFA to assist Nyantakyi. Fred was quite a popular figure partly because of his stint with the Continental Club Masters’ Accra Hearts of Oak – which was a juicy one of course, considering at the time the majority shareholder spared no expense. Fred Crentsil’s chapter was a bit eventless except his role as the coordinator for the 2014 World Cup – a tourney that brought so much hatred and contempt towards the Association and its actors. This time, Kwesi chaired the management of the committee himself. A commission was setup to investigate the happenings at the World Cup – a process that coughed up Kwesi’s next ploy. One of Kwesi’s loyalists, George Afriyie protected the image of his boss and the Association with all his integrity amidst a fearful disparage from the general public. The commission, its proceedings, findings and implementations would have no impact whatsoever on the next elections at the Ghana Football Association.

During Kwesi’s second term he seemed to have had a lot of control and the loyalty from his subordinates had reached a crescendo. He realized it was important to have a complete say on who to become his right-hand man. Its implementation couldn’t have been any easier because of how he had manned the affairs of the association which was met with unflinching allegiance from his cohorts and a collective insatiable thirst to put the interest of The Leviathan – Kwesi Nyantakyi, first and foremost.

GEORGE AFRYIE

Kwesi unsurprisingly won the election for the third time unopposed. Elections had become more appealing to electorates due to the merry-making around it and a handful allowances for the voters rather than an inalienable process of conflict-resolution-politics to seek the common good of the Association. George Afriyie was appointed Vice President of the Ghana Football Association and duly approved by the masses. His unmovable loyalty was finally rewarded. He was Kwesi’s 4th Vice President in his third term and was popularly referred to as “The Chief of Staff of the Association”. Kwesi’s benevolence continued as George assumed the position of Chairman of the Management Committee for the Black Stars, which had now become a cash cow, but in the end the team failed to make the World Cup for the first time under Kwesi Nyantakyi.

And then there was an alleged powerful message to the deity from within.

Good evening Mr Nyantakyi!
I think it has come to a point where I need to focus on my life and forget about living in a fantasy world, thinking my loyalty and sacrifices could be rewarded in future. It is now clear to me that you will never change. You are selfish, greedy and very wicked. Let me assure you this, I was raised by teacher, soldier a Japanese mafia . Boss, the word betrayal is not in my dictionary and don’t ever think that I will betray you. My association with you has taught me one lesson and I will keep it to myself only that I will advise my children in the future. Today I share a car with my wife, and almost broke from a well to do young man with lot of business contacts in Korea and Japan. Please remember this, no matter what you will do about me. I will not respond for I leave vengeance to God. Enjoy your Day!!

Along the line, George Afriyie thought of himself an Army General Commander when only he had been raised up in the Barracks. He thought he was an Overlord of the Fiefdom Yakuza in Japan when indeed he had only established business contacts in the Asian country. The arrant delusion warranted a mighty stand-up against THE PRINCE. George Afriyie sent Kwesi Nyantakyi a strongly worded text message which implied he was not receiving enough of the goodies from the President of the Association or he had grown insatiable. This resulted in a dire tension between the two behemoths. The delusion was capped with a massive declaration of intention to contest the 2019 elections. The battle lines were drawn and loyalty lost. George’s interest and focus had clearly changed and moved away from his boss, but there was a blueprint to follow for Kwesi in THE PRINCE (1532).

“When you see the servant thinking more of his own interests than of yours, and seeking inwardly his own profit in everything, such a man will never make a good servant, nor will you ever be able to trust him; because he who has the state of another in his hands ought never to think of himself, but always of his prince, and never pay any attention to matters in which the prince is not concerned”. (37)

Kwesi however pretended there was no problem between the two but actions taken thereof meant otherwise. George Afriyie was stripped off his Chairmanship role of the management of the senior national team, the Black Stars after a period of being defunct at the Association. Kwesi Nyantakyi again showed why he would be the imaginary PRINCE, Niccolo dreamt of as he finally sacked George Afriyie as his Vice President.

 

GEORGE AFRIYIE’S POLITICAL NAIVETY

The whispers and writings on the wall amongst the football fraternity almost certainly had it that, George was going to succeed Kwesi if he ever was going to leave his post. President Kwesi Nyantakyi confided in his trusted men that he was not interested in seeking re-election after his term elapses amidst presidential ambition at the top of the continental hierarchy, CAF. Judging from the message, George was obviously not happy with certain treatments meted out to him by Kwesi – a situation that seemed to have made him a bit short-sighted. He could have endured with patience and humility and revenged in a more brutal manner especially as his boss would have needed his consent for his escapades at the Confederation of African Football. He could have hurt Kwesi more from inside pretending as if he loved him the most rather than the more difficult path he has chosen. After all, Niccolo posited that the end always justifies the means and it might be foolhardy to completely overlook George’s threat, Kwesi knows the hidden routes of this game all too well.

 

Will Kwesi Make a U-TURN??

THE PRINCE (1532) was clear on leaders keeping their words or otherwise

“Everyone admits how praiseworthy it is in a Prince to keep faith, and to live with integrity and not with craft. Nevertheless, our experience has been that those princes who have done great things have held good faith of little account and have known how to circumvent the intellect of men by craft, and in the end have overcome those who have relied on their word. You must know there are two ways of contesting, [*] the one by the law, the other by force; the first method is proper to men, the second to beasts; but because the first is frequently not sufficient, it is necessary to have recourse to the second.” (27)

Kwesi Nyantakyi could probably look into his handbook, smile and organize a press conference or setup an interview and easily backtrack on his words. Although, he is legally at liberty to change his mind, integrity issues have become a concern from the general public as they look at how events will unfold. The reality however could dawn on Kwesi to live as THE PRINCE he has been all this while.

Can George Afriyie unseat Kwesi Nyantakyi if he changes his mind? It looks very close to impossible.

Can Kwesi Nyantakyi overcome his battle with the State? We shall find out in the coming months.

 

By Kofi Ajeasi Ampah/ XYZ SPORTS

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