Forsaken By Men Of God
Hardly had I finished digesting this veiled admission of wrong by Rev Kusi Boateng did I hear about the shocking account of the revered Bishop Dag Heward Mills who resigned from the Board in August 2022.
“If I say that I, as a trustee, do not know many of the financial and technical issues concerning the Cathedral, it means the discussions about the National Cathedral were held by some people outside the trustees’ meeting or perhaps in a forum that I was not present or invited to.”
“On the one hand, the National Cathedral is said to be a Government of Ghana project, with the government taking financial decisions. Yet, on another hand, at meetings, it is implied that the trustees have taken or participated in taking some decisions,” he lamented.
Members of the Board of Trustees who we were told are responsible for generating funds, do not discuss financial issues at Board meetings? What then do they discuss? Building drawings?
Well, before Bishop Dag resigned, Pastor Mensa Otabil dissociated himself from the project. At least, that is what the executive Secretary of the National Cathedral told us.
Dr. Paul Opoku-Mensah, in a statement, explained that “prior to the registration of the members of the Board of Trustees in 2019, Dr. Otabil opted out since he could not give the needed attention to the project. So, Dr. Mensa Otabil did not resign from the board as was being alleged, but excused himself at the point of registration of the directors in July, 2019.
Whatever made Dr. Otabil to accept his nomination to be on the board, but held on to registering and eventually excusing himself, apart from what we have been told, can only be imagined.
Then comes in Archbishop Duncan Williams and Rev. Eastwood Anaba, also members of the board of Trustees. Apparently concerned by the startling revelations and other happenings regarding the project, the two clergymen called for its suspension pending the outcome of an independent audit.
“…in the spirit and cause of transparency and accountability to the Ghanaian people, the current Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral shall appoint an independent, nationally recognised accounting firm to audit all public funds contributed to and spent by the National Cathedral. Auditors will also audit the overall cost of the project,” excerpts of a memo they jointly signed and addressed to the board, requested.
They also said the project should not continue until the economic conditions in the country have improved. “That current activities advancing the construction of Ghana’s National Cathedral shall be deferred until the atmospherics in Ghana are improved and the audit of the Cathedral account is done,” they added.
This, for me, is evidence of objectivity and logical thinking. Particularly, of Eastwood Anaba. I have never paid much attention to him until recently when he made a statement during a sermon that endeared him to me so much. And it had to do with logic.
He said something to the effect that if children are a gift from God, He will not allow prostitutes to have them when devout Christians do not have any.
Is this not true? That some devout Christians have searched for the fruit of the womb for many years to no avail, while non-religious persons get impregnated after one-night stands? That even rape incidents result in pregnancies much as teenagers get impregnated when they play mum and dad? That was just by the way.
It’s Time To Go
It is in the spirit of logical thinking that I add my voice to the calls for NADAA to abandon the personal pledge to build a national cathedral for God.
I can hear some of his apologists say what nonsense! What becomes of the money sank into the ground? There is a saying in our local languages which translates thus, ‘whatever has been eaten, they should eat it, what is left, we shall protect’. Therefore, to that person, verily, verily I say unto thee, there are manifold uses to which we can put that land located in a prime area in Accra and the deep hole in it. I shall mention only two here:
Current state of the project as at November, 2022
One: Sell it for the construction of modern office complexes of the kind of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Shippers’ House, Ridge Tower, SU Tower, Advantage House, Ecobank Head Office, the Octagon and Accra’s answer to the World Trade Centre, all located within the same vicinity as the botched National Cathedral.
Two: Sell it to an estate development company to build skyscraper accommodation facilities for the working class who on a daily basis troop to the central business district to work and return to their homes located three to four hours’ drive away. These workers spend an average of five hours in traffic to and from work every day.
I make this suggestion because currently, there is a growing phenomenon of workers who have managed to build houses on the outskirts of Accra, abandoning their homes for rented accommodation within Accra in order to avoid the stress and cost of commuting. They return home on Friday nights and on Sunday evenings, they repeat the routine.
This development is quite revealing given that prospective land owners in the Greater Accra Region will soon have none to buy. Aburi, Nsawam, Tsopoli and Winneba will be their closest options. The situation becomes dire if one considers the fact that there is no evidence of a plan to introduce speed trains into the transport mix in our national capital.
NADAA, if you do this for Gyankroma’s children and her children’s children, their friends and family, God will say unto you “for what thou hath done, I forgo my cathedral that ye promised.”
BY Eric Mensah-Ayettey