Feature Article of Monday, 31 December 2012
Columnist: Yaw Ampofo-Ankrah
Just a few months to the 2012 elections in Ghana, the depth and substance of the Mahama youth phenomenon was dismissed as nothing more than energetic euphoria that would not last or translate into meaningful votes when it really mattered.
But as Yaw Ampofo Ankrah, who is regarded as a leading architect in the pro Mahama Movement explains, the energy of the various groups must not be stifled but immediately structured and directed towards an even more effective campaign in 2016.
There are those who do not support Real Madrid but immediately switched allegiance once Christiano Ronaldo joined the Spanish giants. I am sure we witnessed the same but to a lesser extent when Michael Essien moved to Chelsea and then on loan to Madrid.
You may call me politically naive and I will be cool with it. But trust me, I am no fool when I say a good percentage of those who voted Mahama and ensured that he became President were not NDC supporters. The relevance of this view will soon become evident.
Similarly, it is no secret that in football, you do not change your winning team no matter how weak your next opponent might appear to be. The best coaches in the world would tell you this for free, but these days that rarely happens. Free things can end up being the most costly.
Make no mistake about it. Even when you are successful at what you do, you still have to make room for changes and plot for more success. Look at Samsung, Apple, Nike and closer to home, Rlg, or any other super brand and the key is not about getting to the top but staying ahead of the competition by winning and attracting new followers.
In my own field, I can highlight the influence of Sir Alex Ferguson who recently admitted that he is going against his own managerial history - and that of Manchester United. WHY? Because he is introducing what he calls a "revolutionary" diamond tactical formation.
According to a BBC report, Ferguson is moving away from the formation that has been his tactical template throughout his 26 years at Old Trafford. Great names like Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Andrei Kanchelskis are among the players to have fulfilled the role Ferguson loves - but the modern game requires versatility and adaptability, and even as he approaches his 71st birthday, the Scot is prepared to move with the times to maintain success.
Take it or leave it, love them or loathe them, just like Manchester United, the NDC took a huge gamble in the 2012 campaign by reluctantly and cautiously acknowledging the activities of ''surrogates'' as Pastor Otabil famously declared.
At first, the party hierarchy fell short of officially embracing or directly engaging these groups but it was inevitable.
After all the NDC is a grassroot party and these surrogates were emerging right from the people. It was a game changer. One thing is certain. Those who have the ability to change games have a better chance of winning any game no matter the conditions.
NDC won the 2012 elections against huge odds because at every turn, the party was flexible enough to change critical strategy and even critical personnel in the face of crisis after crisis. That is the mark of a durable brand.
That is why even though I respect the reasons the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has given for filing a petition at the Supreme Court to contest the December 7th and 8th polls, they must surely know that they cannot run away from the real reasons for their defeat.
I am just wondering who within the NPP will be bold enough to announce that their captain was simply not good enough and that it is time to move on.
It is not my job to tell the NPP why their candidate failed to garner enough votes to defeat an opponent who only had FOUR months to campaign. Critically for us (pro Mahama campaigners) we must focus on our game and do our homework very well to ensure that Captain Mahama does not overwork himself again like a farm mule come election campaign 2016.
I have total faith and confidence in the powerful team of players who shouldered the burden of delivering a one touch NDC victory.
Need i mention any names? The list is ridiculously long but credit must first go to those who coordinated the campaign on different fronts.
In football language, we would say fine players such as Hannah Tetteh, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Edward Omane Boamah, John Jinapor, Akyena Brentuo, Ablakwa Okudzeto and the long list of young stars did not disappoint or buckle under immense pressure.
Every successful team needs the men and women who are ready to do the hatchet jobs in order for victory to be assured. Usually these are not the most glamorous or stylish of players yet they get the job done.
I kid you not, but the NDC could not have won the elections without their influence. Mention the supreme old guard led by the PV Obengs the Totobi Quakyis, the ET Mensahs, the Ade Cokers, the powerful Ahwoi brothers and others like Ambassador Victor Smith.
I am sure they were all pleasantly surprised at the huge impact made by the youngest generation of Ghanaian voters in the campaign.
So now I ask, can we deny the role of the youth in helping to ultimately shape the outcome of one of the most fiercely contested election campaigns in Ghana's history?
In part 2, Yaw Ampofo Ankrah unravels how the youth delivered spectacularly for Mahama at the polls.
The fatal mis-calculation of the opposition was to brush aside the sincerity, relevance and potential impact of the various pro-Mahama groups.
Whether it was the Abeiku Santana led Youth for Mahama, Ladies for Mahama, Zongos for Mahama or Movement for Mahama, each felt a sense of belonging within the NDC party.
Once this ''belonging'' and sense of importance in the scheme of NDC affairs was secured, the groups began to breed new followers and ferment spontaneous interest from followers and neutrals alike.
The NPP's suggestion that all the groups were bought and would run out of steam was not only naive, it was seen as an insult by these groups who were bent on proving that they were ready to go all out for Mahama. And that is exactly what they did.
Yaw Ampofo Ankrah is an international Media Consultant and Convenor for Movement for Mahama (MFM)