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Opinions of Friday, 14 August 2020

Columnist: Anthony Obeng Afrane

The rebirth of John Dramani Mahama

Former President John Dramani Mahama Former President John Dramani Mahama

The eagle has some amazing characteristics; traits found in top-notch leaders. I would love to share with you some few major characteristics of this terrific bird.

Fearless: The eagle is very brave and never intimidated by the size of its prey. It can prey on goats much larger than itself. When other birds fly away from the storm with fear, an eagle takes advantage of the current to soar to greater heights.

High-flyer: eagles can fly up to an altitude of 10,000 feet, but they are able to swiftly descend at an astonishing speed of over 100 kilometres per hour and land on the ground safely.

Vision: the eagle has a powerful vision and can spot a prey 50 miles away.

Vitality – An eagle is full of life and has the power to endure.

As I was analysing these characteristics of the eagle, I had an interesting revelation about some unique qualities of former President John Dramani Mahama, and my eyes popped out in surprise. The young man from Bole has all the above-mentioned qualities of the eagle and more.

He has exhibited a lot of bravery by taking tough decisions when he was president, and among these is his decision to go to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) regarding the maritime border dispute between Ghana and la Côte d’Ivoire which Ghana won. Dr Desmond Tweneboah Kodua captures this bold stance beautifully in his article: “MAHAMA’S DECISION TO GO TO THE ITLOS, 'COURAGEOUS AND BOLD.”

Please read on:

One of the key characteristics of great leaders is the ability to make decisive decision at the right time. Careerists are always reluctant to take any risks whatsoever and are only concerned for their own survival. I was one of the persons who vehemently opposed the decision to go to ITLOS and explicitly expressed my position and why I thought was a reckless decision in a document I prepared and forwarded to the Mahama administration and the former UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan.

I was of the opinion that the former President and his legal team had taken a wild uncalculated risk, putting the country and its people at risk and was emphatic that the mission will not only end up unaccomplished but was also going to waste valuable time and resources. We must commend the President and his team of advisors for effectively assessing the situation, understanding the issues and the problem and pursuing their goal and objective throughout the period leading to this sweet victory all Ghanaians are celebrating across the globe. We must also commend the former Attorney General, Mrs Marrietta Brew Appiah-Oppong and her legal team for filing a detailed memorial to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) to ward off Cote d'Ivoire from the disputed oilfield. The current Attorney General also deserves our commendation for the maturity she displayed by pursuing the matter upon taking over from her predecessor.

Mr Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General must also be commended for the numerous attempts he made to reach a deal on the dispute. Ghanaians across the globe are celebrating this wonderful achievement and the patriotic spirit being displayed by the people of Ghana both home and abroad, is a message to our leaders that they understand risk, know how to mitigate risk and be willing at times to make bold decisions to exploit success.

But this is not my main focus for this article; the eagle has another incredible characteristic I want to share. By the time an eagle reaches the age of 30, its strength deteriorates so much that survival becomes difficult: its talons lose their flexibility and cannot properly grip prey, its beak becomes dull and bent, and its wing feathers grow thick and heavy, sticking to its chest and impairing its flight. The bird then retreats to a mountaintop for months, and knocks off its beak by banging it against a rock, plucks out its talons, and then plucks out its feathers, each stage producing a regrowth of the removed body parts that “renews” the eagle and allows it to live for another 30 to 40 years.

The eagle is not alone in this breath-taking attribute, even though his loss in 2016 is a sour memory, former President Mahama like the eagle has gone through the painful process of rebirth, and judging from the subpar performance of the sleepy, banal, corrupt, hodgepodge and sozzled Elephant, the rebirth of the young man from Bole is going to be extremely beneficial to the people of Ghana.

He is coming back with more vim, vigour and learned lessons. And I can't wait to see his job creation agenda for the youth, remuneration for Assembly Members across the country, his free healthcare for all Ghanaians, his Big Push agenda, a 10-billion dollar infrastructure programme to build more schools, more hospitals more roads, among many other critical infrastructure needs. Abracadabra! The eagle is back! And ready to soar!