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Opinions of Friday, 20 January 2017

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Open letter to his excellency President Nana Akufo-Addo

Dear Your Excellency President Akufo-Addo,

I wish you Akwaaba (welcome) to the presidency of Ghana. Before you were conceived by your parents, God knew you and had ordained you to be the liberator who would come to set his people (Ghanaians) free from some form of socio-politico-economic slavery at an appointed time.

As biblical Joseph, Moses and David were chosen by God to liberate his chosen people (the Israelites) from hunger, from the slavery in the land of Egypt and from tyranny and dominion of the Philistines, so have you, President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, been selected by God to rescue Ghanaians from poverty, intimidation and purposeful denigration.

God has a purpose for you same as Ghanaians have a high expectation of you to save them from the tormenting joblessness staring them in the face for the past eight years, insecurity, lawlessness, institutional corruption, nepotism and the seemingly NDC-government sanctioned practice of selective justice.

You were not born incorruptible for no reason. You were not trained during your childhood upbringing to respect the laws of the land for no reason. There is a reason behind the personality of whom and what you are. It all has to do with coming to set the Ghanaian captives free from rogue and corrupt politicians, traditional and public leaders.

To succeed in the task set before you by God, and to live up to the high expectation of Ghanaians, I shall advise you to treat all Ghanaians fairly, but firmly as the laws of the land may dictate. There should be no distinction in treatment of Ghanaians depending on their affiliation to political parties, status and their nearness to, or how farther away they are from, you. You must be a father for all without any consideration for a shred of tribalism that may wrongly compel you to treat same Ghanaians but differently.

One thing that can hold you back from achieving the purpose God has for you as the President of Ghana is to allowing the practice of corruption of all shapes and forms to creep into your administration. Corruption can come in the form of embezzlement of public funds, abuse of power, laissez-faire attitudes that may unconsciously encourage your appointees to commit crimes with impunity.

I shall advise in accordance with the idiom, “Charity begins at home” that as strict a disciplinarian as you are, your intended fight against corruption could best be started first with punishing a member of the NPP who goes against the law for whatever selfish reason. Such instance or occurrence will carry a strong message across to the entire Ghanaian population; instil in them the fear of being dealt with according to the law regardless of their political affiliation.

The moment you allow members of your government, cronies if you have any at all, members of your party, and allow some supposedly powerful traditional chiefs to influence you or intercede with you for their subjects who have committed crimes or are in breach of the law, that will be the beginning of the gradual fall of your presidency.

In the bible all the chiefs who disobeyed the commandments of God to them ended up being disgraced and losing favour in his eyes.

Take a cue from the following two true stories to decide how to go about governing Ghana to the admiration of both God and Ghanaians.

In 1973 at then Kumawu Tweneboa Kodua Secondary School, there came a Senior Prefect called Edward Adusei Pianim, the younger brother of the renowned Ghanaian Economist Kwame Pianim. On one afternoon at lunchtime in the School Dining Hall at around 14:00-14:30 hours, if I have got the time correct, he did something many students ignorantly considered very unusual but it worked wonders.

He called one Stephen Owusu, a family member of his who was one year his junior, to mount the school’s rostrum in the middle of the dining hall in the full glare of a student population of nearly one thousand, sat to have their lunch. He reprimanded him by narrating the disgusting breaches Stephen Owusu had committed with same believing that he could get away with them because his brother was the Senior Prefect. Come and see how Stephen was awash in shame and could not look up, although as truant as he was.

Senior Pianim announced that Stephen Owusu would be suspended from classes for a week on the following strict terms. He was going to weed the school compound for a week. He would start his punishment as soon as classes begin in the morning. When classes were in session, he would be outside weeding the compound. When it was time for breakfast, he would stop to go to the dining hall. When classes resume after breakfast, he was back to the field weeding only to stop when classes end at 14:00 hours (2pm) for lunch. He did this from Monday to Friday.

After that Stephen Owusu became a reformed person to never again do the silly things that incurred him the punishment. Senior Pianim was held in awe by almost the entire school population. It became a topic of discussion among students that if he could do this to his own younger brother or family member, what about others who were not related to him in case they caused infractions? Their punishment might be worse.

As strict disciplinarian as he was, during his one year tenure as Senior Prefect, many students behaved themselves. There was less indiscipline among the students at school.

Had he not started with his own ruffian brother, he could not have achieved the level of discipline that prevailed in the school at that time. If he had overlooked his brother’s malpractices, many a student would have behaved similarly in the hope of getting away and total indiscipline could have come to reign in the school.

The other true story is when corruption clearly crept into former President Kufuor’s NPP government, and was questioned as to why corruption was engulfing his government without him trying to do anything about it or bring it under control; he gave an answer that did not sit well with many discerning Ghanaians. He said, “Corruption started from the era of Adam and Eve”, purporting it was right for people to embezzle public funds or engage in acts of corruption. That was the impression he carried across instead of accepting his failure to defeat corruption within his government by sacking, prosecuting and imprisoning his corrupt appointees.

That marked corruption or the public perception of corruption within his government led to the defeat of NPP in Election 2008, or facilitated the rigging of the election by NDC. The same blatant corruption within President Mahama’s NDC-led government partly contributed to their defeat in Election 2016 although God had prepared you to take over the reins of government long ago.

With these two true stories, I mean to tell you it is better to let the law punish anyone who disobeys it without any interference in the favour of the perpetrators by you. If you punish any NPP member, it will send a strong signal to all others to behave themselves properly as you will not spare them at all if you could do that to a member of your own party.

Why this letter to you since you have not fully started work yet, one may ask? My answer is very simple and it is found in Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it”. It is better to point out certain things to you in advance, in the belief of forewarning you; and to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

I hope you will consider my suggestion or advice carefully but not to see it as a nuisance that must straightway be consigned to the rubbish bin. I want you to be remembered as an exceptionally successful leader who was able to rid Ghana of corruption, the bane of the country’s economic progress, to rather bring prosperity to all.

Yours Faithfully,

Rockson Adofo