Nana Akufo-Addo And Ghana Election: Once Bitten, Twice Shy

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It is not always too bad to make a mistake, but it can be unacceptable to repeat the same mistake, some would say. There is no country where this statement applies more than in Ghana ““ recently, the oasis of democracy in Africa.

For many years, Ghana was the cradle of undemocratic rule, mismanagement, military brutal adventurism and joy ride, which led to a near anarchy. Democracy was put in the dustbin of history and hopelessness. But that dark history of Ghana did not last forever. Suddenly, Ghanaians decided to take their future in their hands. Through collective commitments by dedicated citizens, the country has been metamorphosed to a success story and resurrected to a peaceful land to reckon with. Militarism and coup attempts have suddenly become a frowned adventure of the past in a country where an enviable democracy has replaced dictatorship. The democratic root started to grow deeply and gradually germinated to the rule of law; freedom of speech, association and religion, the right to vote and other democratic credentials have long followed suit and become systematically synonymous with Ghana. So is economic success. With the democratic institutions gradually in place, the economy has been growing uninterruptedly and different peaceful and successful elections ““ at least to the African standard ““ were ushered in. With its incredibly pleasant and unbelievably hospitable citizens, Ghana has shown the rest of the world that peace and democracy are the nucleus of progress and prosperity. This is a priceless result of a collective achievement by dedicated Ghanaians.

From the civilian government of Nkrumah, to the military administration of Ankrah, Acheampong and back to the democratic Rawlings and presently, Mahama administrations, the power baton has changed hands repeatedly ““ albeit, sometimes undemocratically – in Ghana. Effectively, since 1993 till today, Ghanaians have the privilege to choose their leaders democratically. Well, having in mind, we are operating in the African political terrain, let`s not argue forcefully whether all those elections were democratic or free and fair in the real sense of it; don`t forget, after all, that it was George Bush ““ not Al Gore ““ that became the president of the USA after the 2000 election! There is one man in Ghana, who has not only been in the political arena of the country since 1977, but he has tried to keep the political wagon moving in the right direction. In Ghana and far beyond, the names Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo do not only ring a bell, they equally need no a repetition or further introduction because they carry a heavy weight.

Strictly speaking, I try as much as possible to be apolitical since I am allergic to politicians who can be political harlots ““ most of them definitely are. As if you have ever seen me at the door of those prostitutes! However, I often follow my instinct, which mostly comes out to be correct. It happened in Rwanda with President Paul Kagame. The same can be said of former President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba of Namibia, who just won the 2015 Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. So when my instinct tells me that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, back up with valuable achievements and managerial acumen, will turn the economy of Ghana around and bring much needed prosperity to an average Ghanaian, I have less problems to stand on that conviction. At the ripe age of 33, Nana Akufo-Addo became the General Secretary of the People`s Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ), whose “NO” campaign in the UNIGOV referendum of 1978, ultimately brought down the military government of General Ignatius Acheampong on 5 July of the same year. But Nana Akufo-Addo did not stop there. He championed the cause of human rights, rule of law, justice, freedom, and democracy, fighting for the rights and liberties of Ghanaians as well as giving free legal assistance to the poor. This is a rare achievement amongst the African political class, a bunch of fastidious elements.

In October 1998, Nana Akufo Addo contested in the presidential election under the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and lost to John Kufuor. Again, in the hotly contested 2008 Presidential election against John Atta Mills, Mr Akufo – Addo won the first round by 4,159,439 votes representing 49.13% of the total votes cast ““ short of the 50% required by the constitution to avoid a second round. It is believed in many quarters that the election was heavily rigged in favour of John Atta Mills, who eventually won in the second round. Well, we are in Africa, where incumbency (party, leader) voodoo plays a vital role. A very good reason why President Jonathan of Nigeria has written his name in the golden book of history despite his loss, isn`t it?

With the once flamboyant economy going down the abyss journey of decline, coupled with blatant corruption, nepotism and cronyism, Ghana political alarm bell is ringing. The power supply has become an essential commodity, resulting in the blood bank scrambling to save their lifesaving blood from drying up. Mass exodus of foreign investors, who depend on power supply to produce, has become a norm. So is mass retrenchment. It is very easy to see the frustrations on the faces of average Ghanaians. Definitely, the political handwriting is clearly written on the wall in Ghana. “Mene, Mene“¦..” Call it a harbinger for change, if you like.

As a respectful legal juggernaut with a wealth of experience in law, democracy and impeccable record in community services, backed up with enviable philanthropic achievements, it might be strange to any sane person to understand why Nana Akufo-Addo has not been elected president of Ghana in his previous attempts. Blame it solely on the ruling party`s rigging machine? Perhaps not! While many Ghanaians have narrated their woes and disappointment voting for the ruling party, others believe the government of President John Mahama will definitely change the economic gear and drive the economy to a safe field. Perhaps, you never know. Africa, after all, is the continent of political abracadabra. But I am a believer in facts and figures.

With the obvious facts and figures available, it is definitely not entirely strange to hear many Ghanaians grudging and insisting they will grab the unique opportunity in the 2016 presidential election to exercise their franchise. A massive vote for Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who has so far displayed deep political maturity, commitment and seemingly genuine interest of the masses, will not be a big surprise, after all, once bitten, twice shy!