Here’s a tale of two political leaders– one basking in media glare and the other turning out to be a sorry footnote to it; one a national talking point and the other nearly invisible.
It is also a story of two political parties – one focused on the state and the other oblivious to them; one serious about its political future and the other confused about the political course to follow.
It was refreshing listening to the President last Friday speak on a wide- range of issues, including the 2012 elections. In an exclusive interview with Radio Gold in his office, President Mills maintained that the 2012 elections will be peaceful, and that Ghana will not die.
On the other hand, Nana Akufo-Addo was at his violent best when he addressed a cross section of media representatives at a Christmas get-together at his Nima residence in Accra last Thursday evening.
The flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo, reiterated his earlier call on his supporters to engage in violence in the 2012 general elections.
“Having taken over a peaceful country from former President John Agyekum Kufuor, it behooves President Mills to do same by ensuring a hitch-free election in 2012,” he said, adding: “We expect equal reciprocity from him or, we will fight with our might.”
Nana Akufo-Addo claimed he is surprised that in spite of the bloodshed that characterized the bye-elections in Atiwa, President Mills never uttered a word about the unfortunate developments.
It is interesting listening to Nana Addo as against President Mills and juxtaposing both comments, I cringe.
While President Mills has over the past three years proven to be a shinning example of everything we should seek in 21st Century political leadership, Nana Akufo-Addo, on the other hand, has embodied the very worst of 20th Century totalitarianism.
The other time, it was the fact that “the stakes for power in Ghana are high as a result of our oil discovery. And the last time, it was him becoming president at all cost. And then: his infamous “all-die-be-die comment. More than two years as the leader of the opposition NPP, we have not heard of one single policy alternative from Nana Akufo- Addo, yet he has continued to preach violence in every given opportunity. Can our nation endure the luxury of having another president without the public ever having the opportunity to evaluate the leader’s policy alternatives?
In a world of hostile competition where leaders fight for national interests, we have lost our nation to relational political players such as Nana Addo, who barely understand the link between a policy statement and a nation’s moral development. While great leaders debate policies, the best way to move their nations forward, and protecting the young generation, the attention of the Ghanaian opposition leader is fixated on Ghana’s new -found wealth – oil.
Leading with integrity is one of the great challenges of leadership, and that word “integrity” many will also agree eludes Nana Akufo-Addo’s glossary.
When John Mills announced his vision for Ghana, even before he became president, they thought he had gone nuts. “Impossible! It can’t be done! The reason for this was that no other President has thought of doing what he had in mind for his country. It was, and is still a novelty in this proud West African nation’s political landscape.
He was bent on becoming the first president in Ghana that will run the country as if it were a business entity – a business entity whose sole aim is to maximize the nation’s wealth for its people.
History was thus in the making, and his ambition was not without a reality check and caution. As a realist, he realized from the onset that this would be a staggering mission that will require a dyed-in-the-wool band of leaders around him. But, it had been his secret ambition for years, and he knew how to go out and get the job done.
Did he always succeed? I don’t think so. But is he moving in the right steps? Absolutely, yes! Some political opportunists will all too easily say no because of character flaws on their part. However, and to a very large extent, well- intentioned Ghanaians will tell you that although work is still in progress, yet the nation is making a remarkable recovery from the abyss of destruction and excesses of John Kufuour’s NPP regime.
The reality is that we have been going through a big change for the past three years, and with each year, it only seems to grow exponentially. Denial of this does not negate that it has been occurring and will continue to occur. In Ghana, we have seen governments, politicians, businesses, and individuals attempt to lead or manage these changes from a place of greed, sycophancy, power, and manipulation. However, there have also been some great success stories of development, creativity, and successful changes as in John Mills’s case.
The next few years may be crucial for Ghana: Depending on who wins the race to the State House, it will be one of regression and instability or a continuation of the great creativity and developmental strides presently gripping the nation, much like the Pre-independence and Rawlings era.
Ghanaians will have to decide in the next election, just what the future of Ghana holds for us, our children, grandchildren and future generations – retrogression, as in Nana Akufo-Addo or progression, as in John Evans Atta Mills?
I shall be back
By: Dela Coffie
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