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Opinions of Sunday, 15 January 2017

Columnist: Obour, Dominic

The reality after NPP’s election tsunami and promises galore

As a Ghanaian living in the diaspora, I couldn’t have been prouder than last week, as many of my compatriots queued for long hours to cast their votes to elect a president and members of parliament. In a year when the likes of the “Mighty U.S.A.” witnessed an eventful election of one Donald Trump with protests and a campaign unlike it in the history of America, it was heartwarming to watch via Joy News TV and Adom TV millions of Ghanaians peacefully going about the exercise of their voting rights. Once more, we showcased to the world that Ghana remains the brightest star of Africa. Just a week before, Gambia’s Yaya Jammeh had conceded defeat in the nation’s general elections only to turn around nine days later to quash the results and thereby seeking a recount and a possible rerun of the polls.

The fact that all the International observers – the likes of the Commonwealth Observer group, the AU and countless local election observing bodies graded Ghana with high marks is a testimony to how far we have come. The subsequent concession speech by the out-going president, H.E. John Dramani Mahama, and the congratulatory messages from the other five competitors to the president-elect, Nana Addo-Danquah Akufo Addo, further confirms our democratic credentials.

Well, the Igbos of Nigerian have a saying that “Whatever was hot, must in the end turn cold.” Gradually, reality is setting in as the wild jubilations subside. We need to acknowledge that we have a nation to build and an economic to save. No matter our political, religious, or ethnic orientation, we cannot run away from the truth that Nana Akufo Addo is now the president-in-waiting of our great Republic, having been declared the winner of the December 7 Polls.

By God's grace, Nana Addo will assume office on January 7, 2017. To say that the task ahead is herculean and daunting will be an understatement. Nana has his work cut out for him all because of the teeming unemployment and the general health of the national economy but also, and more importantly, by his own “talking point promises;” chiefly among them - one village, one dam; one constituency, $1million dollars; one district, one factory; free high school; as well as nursing and teacher training allowances and creating jobs.

The pressure to deliver will definitely be immense and grow day by day. This is even so judging from the massive support from the scores of unemployed youth for the NPP and the sheer landslide nature of this particular political contest. With an outright parliamentary majority which is unprecedented in the Fourth Republic, Nana and his team will have no excuses. It is equally understandably true and tenable, that many of us will be keenly expecting the new government to fulfill their pledges on assumption of office. There's nothing wrong and it is within our rights. It is, however, in the light of the this that I wish to offer a few "childish" words of counsel:

One, though it is within our rights to demand what is truly ours by virtue of the social arrangement entered into with the incoming administration, and the fact that Nana must keep his side of such social contract; Nana and his advisers will need an essential "honey moon" period. This will surely allow them to critically, and prudently assess the situation and state of Ghana's national health and to wisely plan ahead as an experienced medical practitioner diagnoses a disease in order to better prescribe the best sure possible.

So, comrades, don't expect to see swift changes or immediate fulfillment of these promises from the word go. Akufo Addo would clearly need roughly a minimum of a year to set things right. Remember the maxim: blessed are those who do not expect, they shall not be disappointed (says Benjamin Franklin).

Secondly, flowing from the above, we must all toughen and brace ourselves up for difficult, stressful and painful times ahead; knowing that it isn't going to be easy at all. It's better to be patient, endure the uncertainty of this “diagnostic period” now to get it right; not only for ourselves but for posterity.

Like us, Nana would have to take the necessary painful decisions to detour the “Ghana Vehicle” to its definitive right destination and apply the bitter pills to save the Ghana Project. Any rush on our part will be very suicidal. One does not "devour" a meal with both hands merely because such a person is dying from extreme hunger.

All and sundry must exercise patience for the new administration in order for it to lay down a good and a formidable foundation- economically. It's an open secret that the micro-economic indices or fundamentals of the country are wobbly and weak. Just as any solid and magnificent edifice ought to have a strong, unshakable foundation, the execution of the new Ghana Project will call for time and meticulous planning and strategizing to set up a solid economic base to offset any future eventualities and to propel the nation into where we ought to be. Without these, the Ghana edifice will be like building set upon sand. The rains will come and buffet it and it surely will be a great fall or collapse.

Finally, we must remember: Nana won't put food on your table but, as Pastor Otabil said a little while ago, I believe that the Ghana Project beginning January 7, 2017 will surely determine the kind of meal you feast on your table. That simply means that we must still fend for ourselves. We must learn to work, be creative and industrious. We must eschew laziness. We must literally continue more than ever to use our hands and brains.

We must endeavor to learn to fish for ourselves while the benign climate for entrepreneurship are laid down. Don't let us be idle , busying ourselves with nothing; remembering that the Almighty Himself won't even do for us what in his wisdom we can do for ourselves.

And so, as we enter into a new era under the leadership of Nana Addo-Danquah Akufo Addo, we must beware of the PLAGUE OF ISRAEL – rush, unnecessary complaining and impatience. We are definitely in exciting times, but surely, we must prepare ourselves for tough and difficult start to the race we are just about to begin.

With courage and the determination to succeed, with guidance from above and with ingenuity, creativity, right attitude and disposition, the NANA DREAM for our nation will ultimately come to pass like many of his forbears. And Ghana will take her prideful and rightful place in the comity of nations where she will become a land where everyone can dream as big as he or she can, to fulfill his or her God-given potential and destiny.

By: Dominic Obour, M.A. in Public Relations, Iona College, New York