Feature Article of Monday, 31 December 2012
Columnist: Landlord, Ibrahim Hardi
OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MAHAMA – WISDOM FROM THE NORTH
Your Excellency President John Dramani Mahama,
It is often said by elders that those who pay respect to the great, paves their own way to greatness. It is in the spirit of this wisdom that I bow before you in greetings – with my heart beaming with sincere honor and blessedness. I hope it will not be considered presumptuous for a tiny man of very low and humble character as me – an ordinary Ghanaian, to dare to congratulate you on your soft-worn greater height and to discuss pertinent issues connected to your election as our president. But first of all, accept my congratulations, although your hard-fought opponent, Nana Akuffu Addo,still questions the credibility of your victory and seeking redress in the Law court. In any case, it is only common law that those who seek equity must come with clean hands; Nana Akuffu Addo and the NPP’s claim of ‘electoral fraud’ against your election is stained with inconsistent facts and desperation, which in my opinion, cannot stand the Himalayan test of equity. It is in this conviction that I hasten to conclude that Ghanaians, consciously, meant you as our leader for the next four years, and without any modicum of indecision, gave you your much-touted one-touch victory.
Wishing myself to offer Your Excellency some token of my sincere happiness for you as my northern-brother, I have not found among my belongings – in any case, have I none, that I hold more dear or valuable than the wisdom I learnt from my fathers and some accomplished politicians who once wore your crown: I have reflected on and examined your victory more carefully, and wish to share some thoughts with you.
I have not crafted this thought with impressive vocabulary as many writers usually do, neither will I sing you praises as those who currently run around your corridors with CV’s nor use any provocative wording as most of your detractors will do; for my wish is that, I share with you, these thoughts that I feel are relevant and could help make you a better leader.
I guess you still can't believe it: that today, you are the president of Ghana. I have never doubted in your ability to reach this height, for it is often said that ''a chick that will grow into cock can be spotted at the very day it hatches''. Your past steps and actions in the political theater of this country – from Member of Parliament to Vice-President, had given all implications that you were destined to rule Ghana one-day; but not this soon did we all expect this to happen. The sudden manner in which you have exalted into this height, even burdens you with such high expectations and efforts to root yourself into that high-seat you now occupy and avoid the mistakes of the past that could have ruined what you have today. I hope your thought on your election is as reasonable as mine - your victory did not come through your personal deed or credentials, neither was it a reward for the mediocre performance of the administration you shared with your predecessor, the late John Evans Atta Mills, nor the somehow campaign your party staged. Rather,it was a vote of confidence reposed in you by anxious Ghanaians, with higher returns expected. It is therefore my wish to advise that you remain the humble president of the people and reasonably exercise your power to not only pursue vigorous social transformational initiatives to assuage the harsh living-conditions of the ordinary Ghanaian like my own-self, but restore the lost-hopes in those ‘'foot soldiers'' on whose sweat you achieved this fortune.
One weakness that was easily identifiable in your previous government was the apparent lack of control and decisive authority at the castle. The late president Mills presumably mistook this weakness to mean humility and peace-loving and rather betrayed the confidence of Ghanaians; some greedy people, most of whom still linger around you, exploited that weakness in him and usurped the state powers for their individual parochial interest, which consequently ridiculed the brighter political credentials of the late professor and caused his premature demise. When you discrete the cardinal principles of probity, accountability and social justice which forms the bedrock of any NDC government,and allow burgeoning corruption, ineptitude and mediocrity, the repercussions will be as inevitable as paid your predecessor.As a son of the north, I guess you still hold fondly to the wisdom of our fathers; when the frog in front falls into a pit, others behind take caution. The late Prof. Mills paid sacrificial lamb, so that you shall learn and avoid mistakes that will put you in similar or perhaps worse fate.
You have become a president at a time the nation is somehow divided about your credence to hold such a zenith office of the presidency. Compared to your predecessors who boasted of much credentials in all social, economic and political spectrum, you are yet to make any significant mark that stands you out of the ordinary. Unlike your immediate predecessors John E.A Mills who stood-out in his legal tutelage and even engineered VAT which has proven the best tax policy ever in Ghana, or John Kuffuor who had collated enviable experience in the various regimes he served and top political offices he held prior to becoming a president, or perhaps Flt. Lt. Rawlings who staged a back-to-back revolution and went on to establish himself as the finest leader Ghana ever had after Kwame Nkrumah, you have nothing yet to prove your worth. In spite of the fact that you hold two masters degrees and served as Communications Minister in the Rawlings regime and made two times Member of Parliament and later a Vice President of the country, never did you, in all those occasions, do anything extra-ordinary to settle doubt of your ability. Even your main contender in the just ended 2012 elections Nana Akuffo Addo has made an indelible mark in Ghana's legal jurisprudence as one of the finest Lawyers the country ever produced, although there have been several questions on his academic records at some times. I therefore take it that you have an Everest task on your shoulders to prove your worth, and as it is now, you have the best opportunity you can ever ask to settle that dust.
Your Excellency, we have learnt from previous times in our political history that those who wish to be viewed with favour by a ruler usually do certain thing in the nature of praises or may be attacking the ruler’s perceived enemies or opponents to please him. Such attempts are usually not destructive, but a healthy practice in every political group. However, certain excesses that occurred in the Mills regime have given reasons to keep your check on how your surrogates behave. It appeared that the easiest way to land a ministerial appointment in those days was to attack the founder of the NDC Flt. Lt. Rawlings who was strangely perceived as an enemy to a man he single-handedly brought into the political lamplight. That practice which the late-old Professor failed to check, apparently because he lost control of the stirring wheel, caused some deadly divisions in the political engine of the government and nearly put the party at risk of political extinction, but for divine intervention.
I particularly raise this concern because of certain utterances in the media in recent times by some of your apologists that have given rise to fears that those ugly times may recur. I heard Dr. Tony Aidoo of your office,Victor Smith,Eastern Regional minister daring to take on former President Rawlings if he criticizes your government even if it apparently goes in a wrong direction. Knowing how humble you are and the wisdom in which you were raised, I doubt if you sanctioned those ill-comments, but you must take absolute responsibility of the public conduct of any of your officers. You must not reward evil but show humility and wisdom. You are leading a divided house and must do everything within your powers to unite the people and fulfill the Bible prophecy; ‘out of many you come together as one’. I hope you will not disregard the importance and relevance of Mr. Rawlings to your victory and more importantly, the fact that you will need him in your house in the foreseeable future.
Your Excellency, I trust very much that your humility will lead you to listen to my thought and accept it, since it is not in my power to offer you advice. I hope you will accept it in the spirit in which I have written this letter; if it is red and pondered diligently, my deep wish will be revealed. With sentiments to Your Excellency, I sincerely remain.
Ibrahim Hardi Landlord