WHAT MAKES JOHN MAHAMA AN IDEAL POLITICIAN/LEADER – Oswald Nana Sarpong
Oswald Nana Sarpong, nephew of Former Prez John Agyekum Kufour writes…
Depending on which side of the political spectrum you belong to, you may either be a staunch supporter or a critic of John Mahama, the former President of Ghana. Love him or hate him, but you can’t ignore him. Even his detractors and political opponents agree that John Mahama is a perfect blend of an astute politician and a shrewd leader. His decisiveness, clarity of thought, personal integrity and missionary zeal is beyond doubt. It is because of these unique selling propositions that he was elevated despite opposition from within his party.
So what does Ghana Inc think about former President Mahama? A recent survey of 100 Ghanaian chief executives who operate their businesses in Ghana and outside conducted by Zenith for Economic Times revealed that 80 percent of the respondents want John Mahama back as chief executive of corporate Ghana. So I asked myself: what is it that makes John Mahama the leader of masses as well as classes? I am not a fan of the NDC party and those who know my background understand why that long-held position about the party. The last time I wrote about the former Ghanaian President and his leadership traits, I received hundreds of messages expressing deep disagreement with the position I espoused in that article. I read about six articles online which were published by one Emmanuel Onyinah who had issues with my background and what I wrote about John Mahama. He didn’t understand why a nephew of Former President Kufour will say or write beautiful things about John Mahama.
As a business leader, it is important to see opportunities when they knock on the door and grab them. This was what informed the decision by my colleagues to vote for the return of John Mahama. While making decisions, leaders need to not only keep the present in mind, but also have foresight to envision the future. In a competitive business environment, it is not only about identifying opportunities, but a lot also depend on the speed with which decisions are taken. Many of my business friends have lost confidence in the current administration. Many supported the Npp and its presidential candidate because of the party’s philosophy when it comes to doing business. Many including myself decided to relocate to Ghana after the 2016 election because of that preconceived notion. We saw the support John Mahama gave to some local manufacturers including my senior Ernest Chemist. Many businesses moved to Ghana under Mahama because of the friendly, active and safe business environment the administration created between 2014 and 2016. I met him once the whole of his eight years as Vice and President of the country. But the impression I got was that he is never low on confidence and that is probably one reason why he is able to inspire confidence in his people.
I met him when the dumsor was at its deadliest point but he spoke with confidence and hope and true to his word, solved the crisis before leaving office. When Times interviewed me, I was open and blunt. The problems facing Ghana are beyond this NDC and NPP politics we need a government that will not run on whims and wishes of any individual. Our progress must be reform-driven, our reforms should be policy-driven and our policies must be people-driven. This approach gives Ghanaians a clear cut direction, confidence to take appropriate and quick decisions and lends transparency and uniformity in the system. This was the direction John Mahama was taking Ghana before his exit.
I listened to his state of the nation addresses and responses he gave to the media whenever he was questioned about his projects and policies and he always displayed that he had the capacity to monitor, and follow up. I am not sure he is a management graduate, but his wisdom and innovations surpassed what is taught in management schools. His experience of intensely traveling the length and breadth of Ghana made him understand the problems at the grassroots level.
We are where we are as a people and always taking backward steps because of our penchant for ad hoc solutions to our problems. Our problems must be solved same way we solved the dumsor problem . John Mahama spent long time to understand the problem from all possible angles before going for the solution. He was an excellent listener. He didn’t take ad hoc steps or looked for short cut or cosmetic changes and solutions. He focused on permanent and long-term solutions with futuristic vision and transformation from the roots.
The last time I wrote about John Mahama, I advised him not to come back but to stay off our mainstream politics and guide our young politicians. That piece of advice received many endorsement. But I am not sure same advice this time will receive even 1 per cent endorsement. All my business friends and other friends in the academia, the military and other security institutions and friends leaving outside Ghana who hitherto shared same position with me have changed their position. They have joined those supporting his come back. The NDC’s come back is my problem but looking at the situation we find ourselves now and the state of our nation, we have no option. We need John Mahama back and he can only come back via the NDC vehicle.