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Opinions of Friday, 13 May 2022

Columnist: Anthony Obeng Afrane

The John Mahama you never knew

John Dramani Mahama - Former president of Ghana John Dramani Mahama - Former president of Ghana

Once upon a time a rider came across a few soldiers who were trying to move a heavy log of wood without success. A corporal was standing by just watching as the men struggled. The rider couldn’t believe it. He finally asked the corporal why he wasn’t helping. The corporal replied: “I am the corporal. I give orders."

The rider said nothing in response. Instead he got down from his horse. He went up and stood by the soldiers as they tried to lift the wood and helped them. With his help, the task was finally carried out. Who was this kind rider?
The rider was George Washington, the then President of US and the Commander-in-chief of the US Army!

Magic is defined as having or apparently having supernatural powers, eg: a magic wand. It can also be defined as something wonderful or exciting as in "a magic moment."

People who have extremely excelled in their fields have had "magic" added to their names, and one example that comes to mind is Earvin Johnson Jnr. Johnson accomplished virtually everything a player could dream of during his 13-year NBA career, and he was named Magic Johnson.

And I would like to tell you a true story. Some years ago, luck was not our best ally, we woke up to the news of a gory accident on the Tamale-Kintampo stretch of road in the Brong Ahafo Region where over 60 people died.

President Mahama visited the survivors of the accident who were injured and receiving treatment at the Kintampo Government Hospital and other neighbouring medical facilities. He donated some provisions and cash for the welfare of the victims.

Few days after his visit, I decided to make a follow-up to the hospitals to find out how the victims were faring. And I shed tears over the kind of testimonies that I heard.

The first came from a hospital worker. She told me they never had a prior notice to the President's visit, and so were taken by surprise. The worker told me that she was touched by the humility of the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Army. She said while they were moving around like headless chickens to look for a befitting chair for the President, His Excellency opted for a common chair used by visitors of the facility.

This is what an injured victim of the accident has to say: "I feel so well, after the President's visit. It was heartwarming for a whole president of the nation to shake hands with me and give me words of encouragement. This is awesome! I have to walk out of this hospital without thinking of any bill, because it has been taken care of by the President."

Then came the testimony of a mother of one of the accident victims also responding to treatment. She said that the items given to her son by President Mahama are enough to open a provision shop!

The above comments reminds me of Job's remarks in Job 29:11-16, "Whoever heard me, spoke well of me, and those who saw me commended me, I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist them. The one who was dying blessed me, I made the widow's heart sing. . . I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger.

Dear friend, Kwame Nkrumah is gone, but we have the opportunity to correct the ills of the past. Power and success can impress certain people. But there is something even more impressive to all people, and that is humility. And that is the powerful gift H.E. John Dramani Mahama possesses. He is a quintessential leader who deserves to be called Magic Dramani Mahama.