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Feature Article of Sunday, 19 August 2012

Columnist: Amenyo, Kofi

Akufo-Addo is the man to turn Ghana into a paradise

I now believe that Nana Akufo-Addo is the man who will turn Ghana into the country that we all really want it to be. An NPP government led by Akufo-Addo will transform Ghana into a paradise. The evidence is there for all who have eyes to see.

Akufo-Addo is already a rich man. He is not trying hard to become the president of Ghana in order to make money for himself. At 68, he is at an age where he will be thinking more of his legacy than the immediate trappings of the presidency. Such a man will be selfless in his duty to mother Ghana. In fact, he is likely to go a step further than the late president by donating his basic salary to a fund that will be used for charitable purposes. After all, there are many freebies surrounding the presidency which will be more than enough for him to live on.

Such a president will occupy the moral high ground which will enable him control his ministers and make sure that they do not acquire too much wealth. He will see to it that the ministers declare their assets on assuming and leaving office. Akufo-Addo was born a dadaba but he has toured all the regions and seen at first hand (even if he has never experienced it) how the other 99% of Ghanaians live. It is because of their sorry plight that he is seeking the presidency. He was Nkrumaist in his youth and has socialist pretentions that he cannot easily discard. Despite accepting his party’s programme of a “property owning democracy”, he will make sure that the less privileged in society are never left behind in the great rush for prosperity. That is why he will keep a keen eye on the lifestyles of his ministers and aides and make sure that they do not acquire too much wealth from their positions which they flaunt before the chattering masses. Under an Akufo-Addo government, ministers will not become rich overnight. Not even in the long run.

Just the other day, Akadu Mensema, writing from her research laboratory in Maryland, USA, gave us here on ghanaweb a very brilliant poem cum article in which she conclusively demonstrated the fact that there are too many Ewes in the public services in Ghana. She presented painstakingly collected hard facts and figures of Ewe names to buttress her case leaving no shadow of doubt as to the validity of her findings. What does it matter if one or two names on her list are really not Ewes or that we don’t know if some of the posts mentioned even exist or on what basis “too many” becomes “too many” and by how much too many is too many and what significance we can attach, statistically, to that? Her evidence is still crushingly overwhelming despite these minor methodological shortcomings. She was further able to show how inimical this situation of affairs is for the national wellbeing and how Ghana would make more progress if only there were fewer Ewes in public positions. Akadu’s data also show how grossly under-represented other tribes (especially the majority Akan tribe which should, naturally, dominate by virtue of their greater numbers) are in the public services.

An Akufo-Addo government will never make the silly mistake of putting too many Ewes in sensitive positions. Isn’t it better that a few Ewes lose their jobs if this will result in more bread on the tables of Ghanaians who will now have greater access to good drinking water, better roads, well equipped hospitals, classes that are not held under trees and, most importantly, greater national cohesion? That a few Ewes give up their jobs to people of other tribes is a small sacrifice worth paying for this greater good. Everybody understands that.

Akufo-Addo will not surround the presidency with his tribesmen. Oh no, not him. He will make sure that there is a good representation of all the tribes of our nation, including Ewes, among his closest advisors. He will not mind, for one moment, the fact that he did not get many votes from a particular ethnic group. What kind of a statesman will he be if he punishes a tribe for not voting for him? Great leaders do not succumb to such petty vindictiveness. He will be a father (or, rather, grandfather) to all in deed and not only by words.

Akufo-Addo has promised a university in every region and a factory in every district. He will surely do this and we have no reason to doubt him. He has been in politics for long. Not only is he the scion of an illustrious political family, he has also had firsthand knowledge of the inner workings of government under Kufuor. He knows that the electorate is tired of the unfulfilled promises of politicians. He will be different. He will be very different! He will also make secondary school education free. He has promised it and he will do it. He knows it is feasible. He has it all worked out perfectly. Some people want him to tell us where he will get the money to make secondary school education free. They want him to reveal this magic formula so that his opponents will filch the idea from him and make it their own. They lie bad. He’s not that stupid.

As for what his opponents have been saying about his personal character, we should learn to focus on the important things. His detractors say he is too arrogant but those who know him closely can attest to the fact that the man is as humble as an oyster. His magisterial arrogance is an ill-deserved epithet put out by those who do not wish him well. Even so, what is wrong with having a president who is doing a great job but is only a bit arrogant?

And what if he smoked wee before? Why should we deny a good man because of a few transgressions of his youth? St. Augustine led an exemplary adult life after his, admittedly, wayward youth. We should be more concerned about Akufo-Addo doing a good work when he is in office than what he allegedly smoked a long time ago. And they say he is now as clean as surgical gloves.

And so what if he likes women? It is better to have a lover of women at the helm of affairs doing a good job in turning our country around than a monk who does nothing. What is wrong if a man has a little fun now and then even as he is doing his work well and is not sharing state secrets with his lovers? We are Africans and a man having an affair is no big deal for us. As long as he is doing his work well, he can have a few women on the side if he wants to. Bill Clinton was not the most moral of men but many people agree he did a great job with the economy. Even King David, in his old age, had a young woman to warm his bosom. His wisdom did not depart from him on account of that. And did Solomon not have many wives and concubines?

So what if he is short? Have you not heard of great statesmen who were short or diminutive? He may be short in stature but not in brain power. Saul was said to be head and shoulders above everyone but he turned out, eventually, to be a bad king. The qualities of leadership are not found in the physical stature of a man. After all, we will not be asking Akufo-Addo to captain the national volleyball or basketball team. He will be leading the nation with ideas, guts and willpower which have nothing to do with a man’s height.

Akufo-Addo’s greatest strength is, without a doubt, his Christ-like characteristics. This is a man who has publicly declared that he is ready to lay down his very life (all die be die) so that Ghanaians will live a better life. What more sacrifice can we ask of a leader? What greater love can a man have for his fellow man than a willingness to die for him? This is love that surpasses even God’s own vaunted love for the world. How many of us reading this will be willing to make this ultimate sacrifice for his fellow Ghanaian?

Nana Akufo-Addo is, indeed, the only man who can turn Ghana around. Nobody, absolutely nobody but Nana, can do this. This is an opportunity we will never get again if we let it slip by.

Kofi Amenyo (kofi.amenyo@yahoo.com)

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