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Opinions of Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Columnist: Frimpong Manso

Is there anything for the Ghanaian youth to imitate from today’s leadership?

According to the writer, the youth have in no instance been shown fairness by our leaders According to the writer, the youth have in no instance been shown fairness by our leaders

On May 19th-23rd, 2014, the African Development Bank (AFDB) held an annual meeting at Kigali in Rwanda dubbed “Leadership for the Africa we want.” Among the panels were Ibrahim Mo (Chair, Mo Ibrahim foundation), Dlamini-Zuma (Chairperson, African Union Commission), Paul Kagame (President, Rwanda), Obasanjo (Former President, Nigeria), Ruto (Vice President, Kenya).

Former President Obasanjo in his introductory statement said he was very uncomfortable about six month ago when a Nigerian young girl about 27 years old presented a letter to him and it reads; I am worried and constrained to write to you this letter, it is because I am in a situation where we have a past that I do not understand, we have a present that is confusing and a future which I have no confidence in.

In response, President Obasanjo said during his time, there were no facilities but there were opportunities. But in our case, it is the vice, thus there are facilities but no opportunities. Honestly, I think that the letter more or less addresses the most feeling of we the youth and that brings light to the topic; “What Does Tomorrow Hold?”

First of all, how is today’s leadership upfront? Today’s leadership perspective right from the religious leaders where the pastors, elders and other leading personalities assume themselves as the final hear say regardless of the circumstance, today’s religious leadership is more or less like the political realm where you have to lobby before a proposal which is prolific will be welcomed and done, hence the fact is always disputed.

Talk about educational system where a decision can be passed out without the notice of stakeholders, i.e., headmasters not aware of their student vacation and date to resume etc. Political leaders when assuming position has been the guarantee that things will come.

Like Prof PLO Lumumba once said, in Africa the politician is the major entrepreneur, the politician is the gate keeper, the politician is the one who receives the guest, the task collector and in this regard, leaders in polities are commercialized. Material worth has been the measure of success for many leaders.

Some years ago, leaders of the Gold Coast were fighting for freedom and independence. But today the question is; What Are We Fighting For!! What are the challenges and the pit falls? On the October 4th, 1984 at the General Assembly of the United Nations, Thomas Sankaran stated that, “Todays leadership has chosen a different path to achieve result.

Today’s leaders use their words to manipulate the populace into delivering what they want and Dr Peterson admit that as “act politically” hence political talks as it is referred.

They always conduct their lives to impose their ideological believes, to prove that they are always right, sometimes to attract the lion’s share of attention and to ensure that everyone likes them whether good or bad. But it all boils down to one important piece of evidence that, if you betray yourself, if you say untrue things, if you act out a lie, you weaken your reputation.

At the AFDBAM 2014, Ibrahim Mo said our continent is full of young people but look around, the average age of majority of our leaders – about 60 to 80. He further said it is only continent that we have leaders of these age range beginning a new term. Are we crazy or what, he asked?

However, in the African report on leadership, Africans, which our country is not an exception is desperately awaiting another kind of leadership, the sort that would eradicate incompetence and mediocrity and thereby create a virtuous circle fostering excellence and efficiency for the benefit of the population.

Today’s leadership had in no instance shown fairness to the young generation forgetting that the youth must be groomed and be given the needed space to explore.

President Madiba rightfully noted in his speech at the Annual Children’s Celebration in 2003 at South Africa that, “we understand and promote the notion that while children need to be guided, they also have an entrenched right to be whatever they want to be, and that they can achieve this only if they are given the space to dream and live out their dreams.

In this regard, it is essential that you remember most of our leaders have failed and are not worthy to be recognized as such. The last time I checked what it means to be called an honorable person, I stand to be corrected, it is someone who believes in truth and doing the right thing – and tries to live up to those high principles. In extension, the word honorable has to do with people and actions that are honest, fair, and worthy of trust.

Reference from But what heritage and principles our they passing to the youth; is it that of what we witnessed on 6 January 2021 at parliament over the election of the speaker or what we witnessed on the March 9, 2021 when the president was addressing the state of the nation in parliament. Our leaders are joking.

This I have come to comprehend with nothing inscrutable why during student Local Assembly (LA) meetings there seems to be chaos all the time. This was learned from nowhere but from our leads whom we imitate.

Must we be surprised with the issue that broke out at Kasoa on the April 6, 2021 when leaders of the National Media Commission (NMC) are fully aware with what is trending on TV, must we be surprise when an SHS student with no fear and no respect insult the first gentle man of our land when that is what we hear every single day on our media stations.

Well, we heard Mr. Joseph Osei Owusu urged members of the parliamentary press corps on December 6, 2017 that, they are not to use the misconduct of an individual MP to run down the parliament but the intriguing truth is what Kofi Anna says, “if some of us is poor then we are all poor.”

In the same way if one of us is guilty then we are all guilty, just like we say back in the second cycle that, “one spoilt groundnut soils all”.

Indeed, I admit the idea that what can be truly loved about a person is inseparable from their limitations but that should not be a guarantee to fall. Our formal president Jerry Rawlings, who passed away in November last year, was an exceptional leader in many ways. Even though he had his pitfalls, but on top of being a soldier and a true revolutionary, he was a moralist.

Now after the struggles and gain for the freedom as well as independence, let me submit to us that, it is high time we pay heed to the advice of Sankaran that, “In these tempestuous times, we cannot leave it to our enemies of the past and of the present to think and to imagine and to create. We also must do.”

Historically, the youth have been isolated from the mainstream leadership and development programme.

Sadly, the statement youths are the leaders of tomorrow has largely placed today’s leadership in the hands of the old whose vibrancy and synergy for sustainable development have burn out. Youth participation in Ghana goes back as far as the precolonial era and has mostly consisted in being forces of change.

This have ensured respect for fundamental rights and safeguarding their very basic needs of its population. This clearly depicts how ready and willing the youth are prepared to take up leadership.

Another important factor is, what has made our country so unpleasant and uncomfortable to leave and therefore has made most of the youth wished to migrate to other foreign countries without returning anymore. This brings back the letter which was given to President Obasanjo by the 27-year girl. Who is at fault?

Leaders comes from the society, so who is to be blamed, is it the society or the leaders? There is no need for blame games, there is no time for that. It’s high time to get united and skilled these young people properly, then they will figure what to do in a rightful manner and fix what has been worn out. But who will?

This reminds me of when the late former president Prof Atta Mills when he stood on his feet and rightfully spoke harshly to the leadership of the customs because they deserved it. He said, “officer of the customs, you are Ghanaian citizens.

You have to help us build a better Ghana. But if this is your behavior, if this is the kind of attitude that you have, then you are not helping us in any way. Let talk about our transport system most especially with the long distance (driving with care, proper checks, etc.), housing, pedestrian walkway which has turn to market site and car packs, trash at unapproved site, street Lights, our Security personnel, etc.

For a long time, our societies have embraced the notion that leadership is meant for the elderly among us said by Ivan Munguongego, but it’s absolutely critical to understand that, when we create no room and constantly discourage our youth and don’t believe in them, they will lose their spark.

However, leadership must make sure that every youth has the chance to prove themselves worthy and that must be offered equally to all. Michael Reuben, a human rights educator in Tanzania, explained, “youth need to be at the center of decisions that affect their lives.”

It is about time we imitate the good and circumvent the bad style of leadership from today’s leaders. Just like the current speaker said when he met the erstwhile UEW-K student’s three – four years ago when championing his agenda for the flagbearer of the NDC as their primaries approached.

He said, “The youth are not only future leaders but partners of today’s development.”
Regardless of what you have heard before, young African leaders such as Patrice Lumumba- DRC, Thomas Sankaran- Burkina Faso, Paul Kagame all showed up for leadership during their youthful age. Francis Tazoacha & Dr. Steve Tametong rightfully noted that, “the time has come for the Ghanaian youth to change from being abused and disillusioned to being the driven of social cohesion, human rights, justice, and sustainable economic development.

In an article written by Damian Avevor on the subject passing on the mantle of leadership, he noted that, there is the need for the youth of today to understand what leadership is, who can be a good leader and what should be expected of leaders.

Our age should not be a barrier and we need not wait to lead. Our everyday actions must prove that we are ready to lead since life is a learning process.

If one can learn to kill for rituals as seen at Kasoa on the April 6, 2021 and to destroy, then one can easily learn to love, safeguard and take up the mantle of leadership.

Here is the answer you all want to know, on the part of the youth, we are in dying need for leaders who will make things right even when it means self, meaningful, persuade, explain and justify their decisions.

We look up for a leader who is courageous not to mislead us, empathy towards the citizenry, a leader who has a sense of duty and greater good. We want a leader who does not seek position to enrich self rather to serve God and man.

The good shepherd knows his flocks. We need selfless leaders who know their people, live with us, identify our challenges, give us sense of concern and help us move into the future with hope. We need leaders who are ready to care, committed and ready to offer guidance and direction.

We do not need leaders who lack discipline in their personal life rather leaders who accept their failures as learning experiences and move on.

Let me conclude with the words of Kofi Anna, Kofi tells us as youth that it is our world now, and leadership needs to engage us and try to encourage us to take responsibility. He further noted that, we don’t have to be old to lead.

We know within ourselves when we must lead, when most suited to act, when to organize friends to take responsibility to take leadership and we should not hold ourselves back. Some old folks will tell us to shut up and listen, we are too young.

Yes, they do that, but he encourages us that we shouldn’t be coward by that. Let keep hope, be courageous, ask questions and take actions when we think we are right.

Together, The Youth For Education Believes “We Have A Dream.”