His Excellency, President John Mahama yesterday opened the 47th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS which was held at the Accra International Conference Centre.
While addressing his fellow heads of state, President Mahama faced a challenge as he realized that the last two pages of his speech were missing.
“Well I am missing some pages”, he tells the august house and colleage Heads of States. Nevertheless, he was able to give highlights of the rest of the speech extempore. Kudos to the President for his razor-sharp mind and confidence.
Ever since this incident occured, a lot of varied opinions have been given by many commentators. My investigation has revealed the cause of this unfortunate episode. The explanation and facts are as follows:
1. The President had his full speech with him before the start of the summit. He gave the speech to his Aide-de-camp (ADC) / body guard when he was interacting with his colleague Heads of State before the start of the programme.
2. One of the aides to the President approached the ADC and requested for the full speech to be photocopied for the journalists and dignitaries at the summit.
3. The ADC gave the FULL SPEECH to the presidential aide who left to do the photocopies. In the process of running the copies, the last two pages of the speech got stuck in the photocopier machine without the knowledge of the presidential aide.
4. The presidential aide then returned the speech to the ADC without the last two pages. The ADC placed the incomplete speech on the podium for the President to read.
5. The President read the speech until he was caught off-guard when he could not find the last two pages of his speech but quickly recollected what was in the speech and still finished impressively.
6. The Chief of Staff has ordered the aides of the President involved in this gaffe to submit a written explanation.
My comments /opinion:
1. The President cannot be blamed for this glitch. He went to the summit with his FULL SPEECH.
2. The aide who collected the speech from the ADC for photocopying broke basic presidential protocols. The original full speech should never have left the ADC’s custody.
3. Again, the presidential aide was negligent and inattentive during the photocopy process. What was he thinking of or doing that he could not check and recheck to make sure he was returning the full speech just as he collected.
3. That presidential aide’s negligence and incompetence exposed the President momentarily to an unnecessary and avoidable distraction.
4. What baffles me is why the aide did not do the photocopies before coming to the venue. What was he in a hurry to get to the venue for when there was still unfinished business before the start of the summit?
5. Finally, what authority does a presidential aide have to collect the President’s speech from his ADC a few minutes before the start of the summit? That was a complete breach of security around the President.
6. The presidential aide clearly acted unprofessionally and ultra vires.
7. Anybody involved in this disaster must be sacked after rendering an unqualified apology. This kind of behaviour should not be taken lightly. If you can lose concentration around the President or in handling his documents, then you are not fit to go back to your office.
Credit: ISRAEL VENUNYE