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I reflected hugely on the image projected of the president, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo while in opposition, at coming up with a decision to write on this subject. When I began following politics in the year 2004, it was a contest between Professor John Mills and then President John Agyekum Kufour. I followed keenly because I wanted to have a clear appreciation of what the whole issue of politics was.
The results of the 2004 elections, as I sat quietly at the Accra Central Police Barracks those days, was a real time for one to feel the pain of a loss of an election. Here was a cool and calm, as well as an intelligent Professor who was seeking a mandate to govern his country. In no time, he conceded defeat and accepted the results. I took interest in the character, Mills. I was highly motivated and decided to add him to my love for Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah whom I have naturally come to love since I heard and read about him.
That was what it was at the time. Then in 2008, again back in Accra after National Service, I was keenly following the political space. Although quiet active, I was not deep within the political space, and had to play the role of a non-participant observer. I observed, and I remember where I was clearly on that day. I was at Asylum Down when the discussions on the debate of a IEA encounter was undertaken. How the cool and calm Professor Mills came up against Mr. Akufo-Addo who was then riding on the back of incumbency.
All these while, we have been told how resolute the man Akufo-Addo was. How he does not tolerate corruption and how incorruptible he was. Indeed, when the infamous “all die be die” tape was released, there were fierce efforts to clear the then candidate Akufo-Addo as it was sensed to lead to his defeat. How ever effective that was, the results of the 2008 elections went in the favour of Professor Mills, now late.
The opposition conduct, and the involvement of Mr. Akufo-Addo, was nothing short of a perfect man, who would make a perfect president, who was denied the opportunity to ‘serve’ his ‘beloved’ people. The nation had quietly and interestingly, endured the pressure and waited for another opportunity at the polls.
Unfortunately, but as planned by God, Professor Mills died while serving as president. It then became the responsibility, as imposed on his Vice, John Dramani Mahama, to assume the reign of power. He did so, and managed to steer the affairs of the nation until we headed for the polls in the 2012 December general elections.
Here again, candidate Akufo-Addo emerged as the candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and was projected as the best candidate, and the best man to lead Ghana out of the ‘quagmire’ and challenges they claimed to have found. Numerous campaign messages were crafted, and sold. In the end, Ghanaians renewed their faith in the then acting President John Dramani Mahama and elected him to serve a full 4-year term.
This was never taken easily. The nation was thrown into a state of legal battle as the ‘perfect’ candidate Akufo-Addo felt he was legitimately elected and was denied. Ghanaians were made to believe that indeed, his message resonated and was really the rightful occupant of the seat of President. The court process ended at exactly 8 months. In the end, the results so announced by the Electoral Commission of Ghana, were upheld.
Again, for the period of the reign of President Mahama, then opposition leader Mr. Akufo-Addo was made to appear the messiah who was standing in perfection to deliver the nation, but was denied and drummed home the need for Ghanaians to have him back.
As a result, many cases of allegations of corruption were leveled against the government. Indeed, those which were perceived, were made real. Then I came recently to recognize one thing in politics. In the game of politics, psychology must lead to perception, then perception must lead to a created reality, that created reality, must lead to electoral decision (psychology-perception-created reality-electoral decision).
In all of these, candidate Akufo-Addo was still being held as the best and perfect man. Indeed, he had on several occasions, lend credence to accolades of him being above corruption. While at that some test cases emerged from within his party when he was elected flag bearer into the 2016 elections. His then Chairman, General Secretary and Vice Chairman, Paul Afoko, Kwabena Agyapong and Sammy Crabbe, raised issues bothering on how the party’s finances were being handled.
They revealed how the party had created accounts and operated with the signature of the Vice Chairman Mr. Freddy Blay. They cited accounts created and run by the party outside the knowledge of the chairman and the general secretary of the party. While these issues were up, Ghanaians quietly waited to see how these issues of corruption were going to be dealt with.
Indeed, some in the NPP made claims that the management of party funds had nothing to do with the nation’s purse and must not be a matter of concern to Ghanaians. In the end, the individuals who revealed these acts of corruption within the NPP party, were schemed against and removed from office. Immediately, everyone was whipped in line. The clean sheet of Mr. Akufo-Addo must be drummed once more.
Ghanaians bought into the ‘perfect’ candidate, to come and perfect the governance system he had so criticized for many years. He was given a mandate on the 7th of December, 2016 to come and salvage the Ghanaian from the ‘corruption’ they so much spoke about.
On the day of his inauguration, a day which never went without the much-talked-about plagiarized speech, he called on all Ghanaians to be citizens in the building of the nation, Ghana. He proceeded to charge Ghanaians not to be spectators, albeit borrowed.
Ghanaians heeded his call and decided to join the citizenship chorus to indeed, be citizens. Then, before the government could settle, in a few weeks after taking power, the perfect man, the incorruptible Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was greeted with a massive case of corruption involving the sale of contaminated 5 million litres of fuel under some bizarre conditions at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company (BOST).
When the BOST saga broke, I am sure appointees waited to see how the issue would be dealt with by their boss, the incorruptible President. It was the first major corruption issue to hit the government. This was sufficient to cause panic in the annals of power. The people of Ghana waited patiently to observe how the man who was said to be incorruptible would stamp his feet to deal with corruption. It was a moment of truth, to establish the credibility of the President and his government.
Unfortunately, it appeared the president came into power with the acceptance of the image created that he is incorruptible. Indeed, that informed him to act to keep a clean government. To him, admitting corruption of an individual in his government, would be a dent on the entire image of his government. To him, it was better to protect each and every unit in order to protect the universal. Indeed, as a result, the president came into the matter, and in the clear view of the public, cleared the first corruption case that greeted his government.
The ban on corruption was lifted for a free for all acts of corruption under his government immediately officials observed how their president, Mr. Akufo-Addo handled the BOST corruption saga. They were informed of a protective president who would shield them no matter the weight of corruption involved in. They knew he will hold the brush to wipe dirty corruption clean. And he is just doing that.
Since that day, one issue of corruption upon the other, came up. In all instances that he had the opportunity to speak about, he cleared the issues and presented Ghanaians a clean sheet at least, of his government. As to whether the people really believe that is the real truth, is another matter yet to be established.
In addition, citizens of this country were made to believe that this was a man who is so tolerant and an avowed human rights lawyer who would frown at any attempt to infringe on the rights of any citizen under him. The ‘perfect’ man was in charge and governing.
It came as a shock when a young man by name Reginald Sekyi Brown, by merely raising a placard at an event the First Lady had attended to raise funds for the construction of a pediatric unit, to call her attention to a huge facility that has the capacity to employ about 3,000 Ghanaians, which was constructed, completed, commissioned, and rotting away, to be opened to provide healthcare for the ordinary Ghanaian, was arrested and detained for hours. This young man was not holding any weapon of mass destruction, not an air to surface missile, not a bomb, or a chemical weapon. Just a placard, could receive this level of humiliation from the government of the human rights lawyer.
Indeed, but for the results of the 2016 elections, Mr. Akufo-Addo would have retired from politics the perfect African President here in Ghana, whom, having put himself up to liberate the Ghanaian from their suffering, and ‘corruption’, was regrettably rejected by the people. The man who would never tolerate corruption, the man who would uphold the rights and liberties of all, the man who would have built the Ghanaian economy, would have been rejected. So would it be told in history.
Fortunately, we have him as president of the Republic of Ghana. We are witnessing his skills. We are witnessing how a whole president could he accused of being in the pocket of a national football administrator. Today, we are seeing how his governance is impacting on the image of this country. We are seeing how on almost weekly basis, if not on daily basis, corruption is spotted under his government. We are recognizing how he lacks the will to punish. And we are in the alternative, recognizing, how his whole agenda, is geared towards running a government that is so clean irrespective of what the citizens hold.
Indeed, the ‘perfect’ man is here. Ghana, and Africa have him. Africa is experiencing him. This gives the citizens accurate records to assess his image, to judge his words according to the image he presented when seeking power. This, shall be the cardinal pillar upon which he would be examined, and a decision made on his government by December 2020.
By Stephen Kwabena Attuh (ASK)