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Opinions of Friday, 21 November 2008

Columnist: Ahenkro Osei

Ghana -Onwards & upwards

My fellow Ghanaians, in a few weeks we will be going to the polls to choose a new leader for our country. I have followed the campaigns of the two leading parties and their leaders and I have a few observations I would like to share with you.

I believe we are at the beginning of real change in our country. We have the opportunity to move forward and progress with the NPP with Nana Akufo Addo as president or go back and regress with the NDC with Prof Arthur mills pretending to be president. At this juncture in our nation’s journey, Ghana cannot afford to slow down the pace of its development and we should build upon the gains that the current government has achieved in its tenure in office. The only way to achieved this is to look at the records of the NPP and NDC and then vote for the party that gives Ghanaians the best chance to progress and achieve our lofty ambitions.

I genuinely believe that the NPP has shown that although not perfect, it has over the last 8 years set this nation on a course which, if followed will lead this nation to progress rapidly in the coming years.

Ghanaians are well respected as professional and hardworking people everywhere you go in the world except in our own country, and I believe this is because of a lack of visionary leadership and discipline. In Nana Akufo Addo,I see a man who had the opportunity to live a sheltered life but chose to put his life on the line to fight against oppression and injustice without resorting to violence and who believed in Ghana when he started his crusade over 30 years ago and still believes in Ghana today. He risked his life when he was young and had everything to lose to fight for our rights and I believe Ghanaians should believe in him and back him to achieve the vision he has for Ghana. We will not get to the promise land in 8 years, but he will lead us on the right trail.

For 20 years under the P(NDC) we lacked any direction. We needed a leader who set the agenda for the people to follow, instead we had a leader in Jerry “the jackal” Rawlings who had agendas with the people. Rawlings had what Nkrumah wanted, ultimate power and if he had any positive vision he could have ushered Ghana unto the path of progress but instead this man who seduced many Ghanaians me as a kid included when he forced himself into the Ghanaian psyche with his “locally acquired foreign accent” and his “anomaa entua oginaho” speeches failed to offer any vision for a country that was in need of a visionary leader to move us out of our poverty. And let’s make no mistake my fellow Ghanaians,we were very poor and not very resourceful. Unbelievably up until a few years ago, we still bought “iced water” from unhygienic containers and drank them out of cups covered with flies. This was simply because although the technology was available to bottle the water, we had the P(NDC) government which did not understand and still does not understand that the government of the day cannot provide all the people’s needs and it needs to encourage and not persecute local entrepreneurs who not only provide innovation but also employment and pay taxes to the government. Hence a win- win situation for everyone. Even today we have the P(NDC) and Prof mills saying they are against wealth creation, instead of encouraging the rich to invest in business and industry. Companies like Microsoft, Wal- mart, Tesco and Sainsbury’s are not state owned and some of the Owners even support the opposition in their various countries but the government of the day does not persecute or campaign against them. Why? Because those governments, understands that the interest of the people is greater than any personal grudges. The P(NDC) still criticises president Kuffour when he travels oversees to seek investment not understanding that Ghana is not the only country seeking investment and that having our president personally interacting and assuring these investors gives us a clear advantage over other countries. Now we have the same P(NDC) who do not see anything ethically or morally wrong in diversifying the Gihoc Cannery and selling it to the former first lady or bringing in a new Education system yet send their children oversees to study or will not account for how they got money to buy bullet proof 4wd’s or to clear their names of corruption levelled against them in a Norwegian court by former Ghacem officials. Astonishingly the P(NDC) still has the audacity to ask Ghanaians to vote them back into power. Ghanaians have a “fa ma nyame” attitude but it does not mean we are stupid. As the saying goes, “you can sheer a sheep many times, but you can skin it only once.”

My fellow Ghanaians, we cannot afford to go back to wandering in the dark. We have seen the light and come too far to turn back the clock of progress. This is not 1979 when we were told one man, one toilet yet these P(NDC) leaders have boat houses, yachts and definitely more than one toilet. In the year 2000, America turned back the clock of progress gained under 8 years of Bill Clinton and the Democratic party and voted for George W Bush’s Republican party and today, both the Republicans and Democrats are paying the price for that decision. Let’s not make that mistake.

In Nana Akufo Addo, I believe his dedication to fighting for the rights of Ghanaians in the past and his vision for Ghana’s future makes him the best man for Ghana. I am sure Prof mills is a nice man, but the fact that he is not in control of his party and his insistence on consulting Jerry “the jackal” Rawlings 24 hours of the day and his lack of a clear vision for Ghana makes him an unacceptable choice as president. In these Global financial crisis times, we cannot entrust our economy to the P(NDC) after they failed to run our economy efficiently in the past. The NDC was not set up with the aim of improving the lives of Ghanaians but to prolong the stay in power of the renegade government which was the P(NDC) and became the NDC.This lack of a positive ideology led to a lack of vision, which the NDC still does not have for the people of Ghana today. “If you do not know where you are coming from, how can you know where you are going”.

I believe that a visionary leader can set the agenda for a nation and if followed through, it can lead to great things. When the United Kingdom wanted a leader to inspire them during the Second World War, they turned to Churchill. In America, President J.F Kennedy said America would win the race to the moon and they did. Also in 1963, Dr Martin Luther king Jr made his “I have a dream” speech on Washington square and over 40 years later; we have the first black American president. His vision has come true. Nana Akufo Addo also has a vision for Ghana, let us believe in him and his vision like he believed in Ghana when he set out on his political journey all those years ago and support him so that, God willing and with hard work it will come true for us as well.

My fellow Ghanaians, once again we are at the crossroads. Let’s not go back to the politics of “nye bro”, but support a party that believes that Ghana belongs to us all and every Ghanaian has the right to determine his or her future without been persecuted by the government in power but rather supported and encouraged. Let us build on the strong foundation laid by the Kuffour government and move our country in the direction of a new dawn of progress. To quote Shakespeare, “There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyages of their lives is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves or lose our ventures”. LET US BELIEVE IN GHANA TOO AND VOTE NANA AKUFO ADDO AS OUR NEXT PRESIDENT. AND MAY GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND GHANA.

Ahenkro Osei