You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2016 10 15Article 477838

Opinions of Saturday, 15 October 2016

Columnist: Adnan Mustapha

President Mahama: The man for Ghana

On the 24th of July 2012, dark clouds besieged our country Ghana. Everyone regardless of our political affiliation, ethnicity or religion was saddened by the sudden and untimely demise of our then President, His Excellency John Evans Atta Mills. By 2pm, the streets had become empty, businesses were generally slow, and the country was silent except for echoes of radio and TV stations which were transmitting the biography of our lost president and at the same time, tributes from the local and the international communities. As per the constitution of our motherland, the then Vice President, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama was sworn in as our President.

I can vividly recall the demeanor of President Mahama when he walked into the parliament house to undergo the swearing in before he could be pronounced as the President. He mustered courage to overcome the sorrow and shock that had engulfed the nation. This in my view, is by far the saddest day of the fourth Republic.

By the close of 24th July 2012, we had a new president. A young, energetic, dynamic, determined but heartbroken gentleman who was a former member of parliament for the people of Bole/Bamboi, a former member of the Pan African parliament, a former Deputy Minister, a former Minister, a vice President and now President. He is by far the first and only politician who has risen through all the political stages of our country’s history. An astute communicator, a good husband and a father for all. Whilst anguished by the loss of not only his boss, but also his mentor and best friend, the biggest test of his life was presented to him; to lead his people.

Accordingly, president Mahama was also immediately by unanimous decision, made flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). He had a huge task of competing with similarly experienced politicians like Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the December 2012 elections for the Presidency. During this same period, the NDC was greatly divided into many factions. The former first lady had broken away to join a newly formed party known as the National Democratic Party (NDP), the founder had fallen out with the party and there were rumors of team A and B. As their leader, President Mahama’s first move was to restore unity within the rank and file of his party if indeed he was to stand any chance of tasting victory in the then forthcoming elections. The death of President Mills opened a new chapter for members of the NDC. Disputes were immediately settled except that with the former First lady who was eventually disqualified from contesting by the Electoral Commission and therefore could not contest in the elections.

The NDC with its new proactive and visionary leader had gathered all its arsenal in preparedness for the 2012 elections. President Mahama had only three months to campaign while discharging his duties as President. Some called him the lucky one while others referred to him as the Chosen one. I saw a man with vision, determined and poised to take his country to the promise land where opportunities will be made available to all without paying regard to ethnicity, religion, political background, social class or gender. The above qualities he exhibited among many others informed my decision to vote for President Mahama in 2012.

Election 2012 was keenly contested and President Mahama came out victorious and thus was pronounced the winner by the EC. His victory marked the fourth for the NDC since the country’s return to democratic rule. The atmosphere was euphoric especially for members in the NDC camp and dignitaries came in from different parts of the world to support us on the occasion. As we ushered the new leader of the country, the NPP cried foul alleging electoral malpractices by the EC and the NDC and went ahead to contest the Presidential elections at the Supreme Court. This was the beginning of the challenges to confront President Mahama.

The Challenges
Unlike the relatively saccharin foundation of the other heads of states, President Mahama’s commencement of office was rather a very rough period. The first nine months of his first year of ascending to the presidency through the ballot was rocked with challenges prominent among them being that of the Court case. The NPP and its candidate Nana Akufo-Addo sought ‘justice’ from the Supreme Court in an effort aimed at averting the will of the people. Undoubtedly, this slowed down the pace of activities that were outlined by the President in his 2012 manifesto but in no way distracted his genuine attention and mission for his people. The President was cited in the famous election case as a second respondent and was duly represented by his abled lawyers. In the end, the Supreme Court maintained that the elections were free and fair.

As if this was not enough, a series of calamities followed suit. Fire outbreaks guttered many business centers across the country. This extended to some other institutions for example the medical store in Tema. There was also an unprecedented series of strike actions by various workers from the public sector. The famous June third disaster cannot be left out. Frequent power outages famously known as “Dumsor” added insult to injury. This is by far the biggest test any leader of our country has had to deal with. President Mahama did not panic, he accepted all these as challenges that come along with the job and worked assiduously to manage them. This I believe was due to the fact that, prior to his assumption of office, he had anticipated the enormous task ahead, thus understood the challenges and expectations and contained them. He mustered courage to believe, the courage to envision, and the will to fight and above all to never relent on his promises to the Ghanaian people.

Achievements
Ghana under the tenacious leadership of President Mahama has seen an unparalleled infrastructural upgrade from all sectors of the economy. Indeed he has been touted as the redeemer. Many have rated him to be at par with Kwame Nkrumah our first President in terms of infrastructural development. According to Kofi Annan; a former UN Secretary General, “Education is the single most important tool that has the potential of liberating a nation from the shackles of poverty and conflict”. In his own words, President Mahama said “education remains the surest path to victory over ignorance, poverty and inequality”. To this effect, the NDC government made a commitment and worked at ensuring that quality and affordable education is made accessible even to all from the best of urban areas to the remotest of rural areas in the country. Great efforts have been made to eradicate schools under trees. There are more children enrolled in schools now than ever. Both the basic and secondary cycle levels have seen major boosts in terms of infrastructural advancement.

As the saying goes, “our health is our wealth”. President Mahama is addressing our health needs like never witnessed before. The Police Hospital, the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, The Legon Teaching Hospital, the second phase of the Tamale teaching hospital, Military Hospital in Kumasi, Upper West Regional Hospital etc. are all in their final stages of completion. This will not only improve our healthcare needs, but increase quality as well. We are gradually getting to a point where Ghanaians will no longer need to move out of the country in search of quality health services.

Apostle Dr. Kpakpa Sraha in his opening prayer at the commissioning of the Teshie Nungua water desalination plant said “today we celebrate a great victory over draught and lack of portable water”. The famous “Kuffour gallons” are now a thing of the past. It is very evident now that people no longer have to queue for portable water. President Mahama has lived by his own words through his continuous work to deliver to the people of Ghana, good portable drinking water. His vision is for the attainment of universal access to this vital resource by the year 2025. In the interim, he is working to ensure 85% of urban and rural dwellers have access to portable water by the end of 2016 a feet which is almost achieved as significant investments have been made to this effect. Some of these projects include: Kpong water supply expansion project phase 1, Accra-Tema Metropolitan Area water project and the Teshie-Nungua desalination water project

In his 2015 state of the nation address, President Mahama made a bold and determined statement that he was going to fix our power situation which has bedeviled the country over the years. Ghana has suffered from insufficient power generation and this of course has been due to the initiation of limited actions by all previous governments aimed at solving the problem.

The situation worsened when President Mahama took over as president. Ghana had to resort to load shedding to be able to contain the situation while a more lasting solution was being pursued to curb the menace. Since his assumption to office, president Mahama has worked tirelessly at meeting the power needs of Ghanaians. A number of additions have been made to our generation capacity and these include; 110MW steam component of the T2 power plant at Aboadze, 250MW Ameri Power Plant, 225MW karpower barge, 220MW Kpone thermal power plant etc. Government has also moved to engage independent power producers (IPP) through power purchasing agreements. Notable among these IPPs include: Sunon Asogli Phase II 180MW, Sunon Asogli (coal fired) 750MW, CenPower 350MW, Jacobsen 260MW, Amandi 240MW and GE 1000MW.

All of these investments have contributed tremendously in containing the power situation. Gradually, we are moving away from the persistent power outages to a more stable power supply situation. It is however important to note that His Excellency has not relented in his efforts to fix the problem. The forecast is that, by the end of his second term In Shaa Allah, Ghana will be energy sufficient.

In the green book, it is estimated that the total motorable road network stands at 71,063km. The road sector has seen a major improvement throughout the country. The GH? 3 billion Cocoa Roads Improvement Program (CRIP) has provided a major boost to the road sector especially in cocoa producing areas. Currently, all the Regional capitals in the country have had/are having their major roads asphalted. Beyond these works, major road networks such as the Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange, the Kasoa Interchange, Sofoline Interchange, Spintex Road Bypass, the Adome Bridge and many others are all being constructed in an effort to reduce road congestion, traffic and motor accidents.

Other sectors such as Agriculture, Transportation, Communication, Tourism, the Security agencies have all received their fair share of development under the stewardship of President Mahama. Indeed Ghana has never been safer than it is today. Freedom of speech is practiced at its peak. Corruption unlike in previous administrations where it was back dated to the era of Adam, has been accepted as the country’s biggest challenge. Persons accused of engaging in corrupt activities are being reported and handed over to the appropriate institutions to be appropriately dealt with. President Mahama has not only restored confidence in our economy, but also made governance in spite of all the challenges look easy.

The above achievements accomplished by our President gives me hope for the future. It reaffirms my belief in his ability to continue working for his people. I have studied the options available to me and I have come to the conclusion that indeed His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama is the right leader for our country. As I conclude, I will like to urge my fellow countrymen and women to rally behind and vote massively for President Mahama and the NDC for a prosperous Ghana for he is indeed changing lives and Transforming Ghana.

Long live President Mahama
Long Live NDC
Long Live Ghana
Adnan Mustapha