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Opinions of Friday, 24 October 2014

Columnist: Richard Annerquaye Abbey

An open letter to Nana Akufo-Addo

By Richard Annerquaye Abbey

Good day Mr. Akufo-Addo,

Congrats on your recent election as the NPP’s flag bearer. Much as your supporters are elated, I know you’re not that much because the feeling is familiar: having lost out in two previous national elections, you are very much aware of the task ahead to become President of Ghana.

Nana Addo, I have always admired you from afar. I have seen you as a role model and somebody I look up to. But I won’t vote for you unless you give me a reason to. Sorry if I sound harsh, but I think that’s the right way to go.

The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has had a tough time-solving some of the basic challenges that we face as a country. Nana, you can talk about the power crisis, unemployment, lack of proper healthcare, worsening corruption levels -- the list is endless.

For the past two or so years, I have written extensively to condemn some of the doings of this government. During that period, I know you were busy talking your party’s delegates into giving you a third chance, but if you have been reading my column, you would know how hard I have been on them.

Some have accused me of been unfair to this government. Some even say I am NPP. I don’t know if that’s true. What I know is, I am a young man with the best part of my life yet to come. I am surrounded by taxes all over. I pay income tax, VAT where necessary, and also my utility bills regularly.

Nana, I don’t see why I can’t condemn this government for failing to meet my basic expectations. It is not as if I am demanding that they do something extraordinary. Just imagine: after buying petrol, which is 50 percent more expensive than at the beginning of the year, and paying road tolls, I have to worry about terrible roads in the middle of the capital. How’s that possible?

I am not praying for this government to fail as some accuse me of. I am only fighting for a brighter future, not only for me but for my counterparts and even the younger generation. I won’t seek greener pastures beyond our shores – my greenest pastures are in Ghana.

But at the moment I feel this has been threatened by such weak performance by people we have trusted with our future. These people are raping the public purse without any shred of conscience. They create schemes to loot our meagre resources.

Nana, due to this crass mismanagement there have been times the reopening of secondary schools has been rescheduled because there’s no money to run the schools. You see the incompetence and non-seriousness I’m talking about?

I complain not because I enjoy it but because I have a social contract with government, and while I deliver my taxes, I expect them to deliver on their mandate. Is this too hard to expect of a government of supposedly highly-qualified individuals?

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, others see you as their saviour – the one to come and alleviate all the problems of this country. But to me, I see you as just another politician. Don’t think that because I’m disappointed in this government I will vote for you.

Just like the hundreds of thousands of youth out there, you must work hard to earn my vote come 2016. If there’s one thing that we have learnt whilst in school, it is to be rational human beings. We are not robots. We are not supposed to vote for NPP because NDC is faltering. What then becomes of common sense?

The only good news is, with the way the government is failing, there’s an alternative to consider choosing from.

Nana, before you cross the finish line successfully, I must tell you that you are in for a difficult battle.

There are those who say your party is not ready for power due to the internal bickering and clashes. Personally, I didn’t understand why machete-wielding thugs should throng your party headquarters with the intention of butchering fellow party members like some bush meat. Pathetic.

Is this a tip of the iceberg? I hope not because I know you’re always for peace and will never preach violence. As we head into the 2016 elections, I know you will be tempted to say you have the magic wand for all our problems. If you tell me that, you have lost my vote. Yes. Because you’ll be lying.

Our dumsor problems can’t be solved overnight. So I will be expecting to see your blueprint to solve challenges like that and not a manifesto full of mouthwatering promises that can’t be fulfilled. You need to be frank with me. I want to know how you’ll tackle corruption in your government should you win power.

Frankly, I don’t trust some of your confidants. Listening to allegations of how some of the people you put in charge of your campaign embezzle some of the funds, I worry about what they would do if they find their way into government.

Nana, the people need hope and some see it in you. But you must work for power lest you taste defeat, again. Forget those who say you can never be president or those who say being president is not your birthright. They don’t even control their destinies, not to talk of yours.

Am I being too difficult? No. I am just fighting for my unborn children. They don’t deserve irregular water supply, dumsor dumsor, poor health and road infrastructure, and unprecedented levels of corruption. They deserve better.

Although I am considering you as alternative to President Mahama, you must prove yourself to me before you can earn my vote. I know a single vote is nothing, but it’s all I have and I will use it wisely.

I will be expecting your reply, Mr. Akufo-Addo.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Annerquaye Abbey

NB.

The author writes for the Business and Financial Times (B&FT) newspaper and can be reached via abbeykwei@gmail.com.