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Opinions of Friday, 15 July 2016

Columnist: Baidoo, Philip Kobina

Elections 2016: God helps those who help themselves

When I was growing up I used to think that the above headline was biblical, but it is not. Though it is a very old saying and can probably be traced to the Greeks.

The modern rendition of it, in the English language, is credited to Algernon Sydney in 1698 in an article titled ‘Discourses Concerning Government’. However, it was Benjamin Franklin, the American statesman, publisher, writer and inventor, who popularised it in the 18th century in his Poor Richard’s almanac.

To err, according to Alexander Pope, is human, because we are not perfect and we make mistakes in life all the time. It is a wonderful phrase, which serves as a balm when misfortune dish out its lethal tentacles, perhaps when we succumb to terrible errors.

In 2012, we made a big mistake of handing over the sovereignty of the nation to President Mahama. Some made that faithful decision based on various reasons. Among them was the compassion vote after the death of his predecessor, and I can quite follow the rational.

Some gave him the thumbs up, because they thought he is young and dynamic and could do a better job. It was a calculation that never quite fell in place, and we have been severely short changed. Not just that, but we have been robbed of our dignity and everything that a civilised society stands for.

My last paragraph will be severely contested with counter claims that Ghana is doing perfectly fine. On that score, I will reserve the judgement to the suffering masses. However, keeping the corruption, which has engulfed his administration, aside, the president has proven to be woefully incompetent to solve the fundamental needs of the nation, which has led to serious regression in the enthusiasm and aspirations of the people.

He took over an economy, which was firing on all cylinders, with most Ghanaians overflowing with the proverbial hope and optimism. Firstly, he allowed the only refinery in the country to go into a vegetative cardiac arrest that disrupted all the economic fundamentals. Because the wheels of every economy turns on oil, so we ended up digging deep into our reserves to finance the purchase of finished petroleum product, which recalibrated every economic activity in the country.

This loaded huge pressure on the cedi; a difficulty that could have been avoided.

Secondly, for the past four years he has not been able to solve the toxic dumsor problem, and this has destroyed both medium and small scale industries that employ a lot of people in the country. Self-employed people like seamstress, tailors, barbers etc. have been decimated. I don’t even want to talk about the plight of poor pure water peddlers who survive on razor thin margin of their daily sales.

Productivity is the backbone of every national currency. The oil and gas industry, which really took off after he succeeded President Mills, added 18% to our national export, yet he has not been able to translate it into economic gains, especially when it comes to the stability of the cedi.

I can go on endlessly to argue why President Mahama has failed Ghana, however I think these most salient indicators will do for now.

For those who live in the villages; whose minds are set in stones, there is nothing that can be done about them. The fact is they cannot comprehend the brouhaha that city dwellers make about dumsor.

On the other hand, the voters who live in the big cities like Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi etc., it is life on a knife edge. And these are the silent minority taxpayers who cannot even afford credit on their phone to vent their anger on radio as he infamously complained when he was in London a while ago.

Nevertheless, I know their voting block is good enough to stop the Mahama gravy train. After all he won by a majority votes of 325,863.

The Akans will tell you: if you embark on a good project, you inadvertently solicit a helping hand. So long as Mahama remains as president of the republic, we are doomed to retrogress. The helping hand will come when we get rid of him.

How in God’s name should we be paying increasingly higher electricity bills when crude oil prices are at an all-time low since the financial crash in 2007. Ask yourself the question if we cannot not afford to pay for electricity at the current modest crude oil prices what will happen when it jumps up dramatically?

We will be doing ourselves huge favours when we show President Mahama the door and bring in some someone who will do the job. Ghanaians need a serious president; we have been short changed badly, and I believe God can only help us when we first help ourselves by calling time out on President Mahama.

Writer's e-mail: baidoo_philip@yahoo.co.uk

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