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Opinions of Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Columnist: Akwah, Nana

Absolute Arrogance And Pride Cause Of Paul Afoko’s Downfall

“Sometimes it's difficult to accept, to recognize one's own mistakes, but one must do it. I was guilty of overconfidence and arrogance, and I was punished for that”. Mikhail Gorbachev

Clearly, there are all kinds of people in this world. But it is the dangers of pride that concerns me here. Pride can happen to anyone, not just the rich and powerful. If we allow our pride to get the better of us, our downfall is not far off.

What is Pride?

Wikipedia defines pride as:
“A loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.”

The following definitions come from
“A high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.”
“Offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.”
The afore-mention character traits surely are breeding grounds for pride and arrogance.
To manage pride, we must be aware of the conditions where pride can grow and thrive. Repeated success can make one proud. After all, everything is going well and it seems that you can do no wrong. Over time, pride can get the better of you by making you complacent. This is especially so if good times or times of ease follow your success.
But bad times follow good times as surely as day follows night. As tempting as it is, we cannot assume that things will always go well. Such an attitude can cause us to be unprepared to manage a sudden change in fortune.
The dangers of Positions of Power and Responsibility can be a slippery road to tread upon and many like Mr. Paul Afoko of the NPP should have known that.
There are many such people that have found their way into mainstream public service. Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
To rule is to serve. But it is easy to forget this when you hold a position of power and responsibility. Power can corrupt and pride can get the better of you. Over time, you might think that you are entitled to certain privileges because things would collapse without you. Instead of putting the interests of others first, you may end up putting your own interests first.
But the higher you climb, the more drastic your fall can be. After all, when you have reached the top, the only way left is down.
Of Dangers of Pride and Arrogance I think that, there's something in the Ghanaian psyche, it's almost this kind of right or privilege, this sense of entitlement, to resolve our conflicts with violence. There is this arrogance to that concept if you think about it.
Most people fail to realize one would have to actually have to sit down and talk, to listen, seek and to compromise, fail to recognize that, that is the hard work required of someone who would want to lead.
Having seen the conditions where pride can grow and thrive, what then are the dangers of pride?
Complacency is one of the great facilitators to push to fall.
A repeated success stultifies your sharpness and makes you complacent. There is less incentive to be alert and careful with your approach and methods when things are going your way. After all, if it is not broken, why fix it?
Paul Afoko’s dilemma had risen through bad advice from his legal advisers and his perceived supporters who out of ignorance of the NPP regulations had brought this unwelcome decision. Afoko failed to take heed to reason and must accept his intransigent behavior for what has befallen him. He failed to take advantage of the platform given to prove his case. He was complacent and thought he could prevail.
But here lies the danger. An approach might work for one set of conditions but not another. If you become less than thorough in your plans and execution of your methods due to pride in your ability, it could lead to trouble.
Afoko’s careless and needless mistakes have eventual metamorphosed into the cannon that have brought this self-inflicted indefinite suspension.
Many people including Paul Afoko fail to understand that during times of adversity when you struggle for survival; there is no room for pride. As such, your methods, forged in the trials of hardship and necessity, should always, always be the best. It is imperative that you would quickly discard methods that do not work and keep those that do.
Most of us fail to appreciate the situation where pride can cause you to make careless and needless mistakes due to a lack of prudence. We tend to trust too much in our ability or underestimate the situation. As such, we may not be as thorough or as cautious as you used to be. This lack of caution can lead to a disastrous turn of events and this exactly the situation Paul Afoko has found out.
The NPP chair should reflect on the issue, either it is outright stupidity or loss of awareness; Afoko should find time and space to review his inflexible posture to the platform offered to redeem what he was been accused of.
We fail to recognize that pride can insulate one from well-meaning advice. The last thing a proud person would want to hear is something that cuts him or her down to size. The very idea that they can be wrong or make a mistake is disrespectful. To utter such words is profanity!
Proud people live high up in their ivory towers. They are unaware of all that happens in the realm of mortals. When unpleasant truths confront them, they either filter them out completely or hear and see selectively. This loss of awareness will bring about their downfall sooner than later.
Paul Afoko failed to realize that the people he sought to alienate were the very people that elevated him to the position. One of the worst things about pride is that it can alienate people. Making boastful claims or boasting about your success, connections and power will not endear people to you. Also, it will not do your relationships any good if you take over all the credit for yourself. Such actions will only create resentment and turn people against you.
Conceited people often find themselves without friends or support. This state of affairs can hardly turn out well for them.
The NDC, Afoko’s protégés and people of like mindset in the hypocritical traffic simply want NPP to do nothing.
That is all the devil wants of the son of God—to be let alone. That is all that the criminal wants of the law—to be let alone. The sin of doing nothing is the deadliest of all the seven sins. It has been said that for evil men to accomplish their purpose it is only necessary that good men should do nothing.
Pride can cloud your judgment and make you lose touch with reality. As a result, you might end up striving for things that you think is possible, but in reality is beyond your reach. This could simply be a matter of a lack of caution and planning. Or it could be a matter of timing. In either case, the result is failure because of biting off more than you can chew.
It is said that pride comes before a fall. This fall can be fatal if you exceed your limit, lose your footing and fall from the height of your success and power.

Everything in this world is transitory and fleeting. Nothing lasts forever and fortunes change constantly. So whatever we feel proud about will one day change as all things change. What then is the basis for our pride?
While it is good and healthy to feel a degree of pride in our achievements, we should not let it get the better of us. We should not let our pride go to extremes. Instead, it pays to be moderate when it comes to feeling pride. The Universe helps the modest to prosper but brings down the arrogant.
Many a time it is our stupidity combined with arrogance and an unbounded ego that will get us a long way.