Politically, it was unwise and naive on the part of Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo to have chosen a relatively unknown Dr. Mahamadu Bawumiah, who on his own couldn’t have contributed an assured or guaranteed 10,000 votes from his political constituency as at 2008 (provided he even had a strong constituent base as at 2008) compared to Boniface Abubakar Saddique and the many others who were considered for the choice of running mate in 2008. Any political pundit or pollster couldn’t have been wrong to have opined that the choice of Bawumiah as at 2008 was politically a bad move.
However, with time, events and circumstances, Dr Bawumiah has proved to the entire nation that by being chosen: Nana Addo was not just looking at an individual who could just pull the votes from a certain part of the country, tribe, region or religious denomination as expected of vice presidential candidates in contemporary Ghanaian politics. Little did we know, that deeply rooted in Nana Addo’s choice was the patriotic bravado yet politically unwise decision to give Ghana an academician, intellectual, hardworking researcher, and serious economic doyen who could help in the nation’s economic transformation as vice president. Had Nana Addo been a football coach he could have been likened to former Barcelona trainer Pep Gaurdiola, who after being appointed as Barcelona coach decided to discard a then proven winner, household name, football wizard and two time Balon dor winner Ronaldinho who could have given him instant and assured success and further handing his famous number 10 jersey to a relatively unknown Lionel Messi. Many including myself labelled Gaurdiola’s decision as stupid and premature. Little did we know that by saying goodbye to Ronaldinho, Gaurdiola was about establishing Barcelona’s dominance in European and world football for the next 10 years and making Messi the face of modern Barcelona whereas showcasing to the footballing world a rarely rare talent, unseen since the days of Pele, Maradona, Di Stefano, Best, Daglish, Eusebio and Polo. Today, not only has Messi vindicated Gaurdiola, he has single handedly equalised, broken, belittled and made nonsense of every record Ronaldinho made while at the Camp Nou. Likewise, Nana Addo’s choice of Bawumiah as running mate can also be likened to the decision of the Barcelona president who invested over a million dollar in treating a young Lionel Messi of an anti growth hormonal disorder that impaired his growth and footballing abilities as a boy.Whereas Newell Old Boys (Messi’s childhood Club in Argentina) and other interested clubs knew of his extraordinary talent, they were simply not willing to spend a monthly 900 dollars as cost of treatment of a then sick Lionel Messi who was just 4.2 (4 feet -2 inches). As visionary as they were, Barcelona took the risk and invested money in treating Messi of the disorder, even offering his parents jobs and financial support in Spain. Today, we are all living witnesses to the outcome of Barcelona’s investment.
Gaurdiola, Barcelona and Nana Addo were all not just looking at the present but were futuristic in their decision making. By choosing Bawumiah as his running mate, Nana Addo was just not just thinking about winning the 2008 general elections but seriously considering the future of our dear nation Ghana. Bawumiah, the man political pundits branded in 2008 as Akuffo Addo’s political mistake has today proven to be Ghana’s biggest discovery after oil. There is one big difference between great leaders and those who pretend to be leaders and that is VISION. Great leaders make choices not just to meet the demands of the present generation or to solve present problems. Great leaders make bold decisions with tomorrow’s problem in mind. It is such lack of vision and the thirst of winning today’s power that compelled John Mahama into sharing half baked RLG laptops some few months before the 2012 elections forgetting that when these laptops run out of power they wouldn’t be charged with the Korle Lagoon or Lake Bosomtwe but with electricity. Just 3 years after sharing these laptops, our energy crisis has ridiculously ridiculed our President in his own wisdom and conscience. The basic logical question a toddler would even ask is; how are these laptops going to be used when there’s no electric power? Mao Zedong and Lee Kuan Yew had great visions for their countries. Their visions have today transformed China; a country previously plaqued with hunger into a modern global superpower feared even by America and Singapore once a tiny island into a global economic hub. Through his policies and choices there’s no denying the fact that Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo is a visionary man passionate about transforming Ghana and making us the real gateway to Africa. It is his vision to economically transform Ghana that led to his choice of Dr. Bawumiah as running mate. Anytime Bawumiah speaks on national economic issues, one can only disagree with him based on partisan differences not intellectual front. His analysis of national economic issues is full of common economic sense spiced with technical know how. He is one of the few reasons why we have still not given up on Ghana. In him we see a man with brains ready to serve his country.
To some of us, Nana Addo’s greatest achievement may not be his ascension to the seat of Ghana’s presidency but his patriotic bravado in choosing a politically unknown Bawumiah and launching him on the national political stage. Bawumiah might not have won him the elections in 2008 but had he won and died in 2012 like our late president Mills, he would have left Ghana in the hands of a capable and noble economic brain as vice president. The worst thing to have happened to Ghana was not the bond of 1844, Nkrumah’s overthrow, the 1983 drought, fire and famine or the May 9th Stadium Disaster. Ghana’s biggest tragedy was the day president Mills died. Not that we lost our best president ever by his death. However, by his death, we had no mandate than follow constitutional provisions and impose on ourselves a corrupt, greedy, heartless and highly incompetent man whose sole aim as we have all seen is primarily focused on winning elections. A president who waits for his own parliamentarians to die before developing their constituencies just to win by-elections. Professor Mills left us with a president who labelled over 25 million Ghanaians as people with short memory. Under his watch as president, we have overtaken Nigeria in corruption, slept in darkness like never before, spent millions of dollars in rearing Guinea fowl that flew to Burkina Faso and never returned and borrowed like an irresponsible nation. He created the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), allocated millions of dollars under the pretence of developing the North and conived with cronies in fraudulently robbing the good people of the 3 Northern regions.
The final point I’m trying to drive home is, Professor Mills chose John Mahama a seasoned politician as his running mate in 2008 and it won him the elections. Nana Addo could have done same by choosing a politician who could have given him the votes compared to Bawumiah. Yet, he took a bold and patriotic decision to give Ghana a vice presidential candidate we needed not an election winning vice presidential candidate. So, like Nana Addo, how many of us are willing to sacrifice our personal achievements in fulfillment of higher national agenda? How many Ghanaians can sacrifice their personal gains for national development ? How many of us can sacrifice taking bribes to ensure that the right things are done. How many police officers can say no to 5 cedi bribes and arrest irresponsible drivers? How many parents can resist the temptation of not paying bribes and allowing their children to go to various second and third class senior high schools their grades secured them? How many media men can reject the brown and white envelopes and report stories just as they are? It took the patriotic sacrifices of ordinary citizens like you and I into transforming the great Western and Asian countries we pray, fast and queue for their visas. Till we learn to sacrifice for our dear nation, we will vote and vote but will be far from development. We must sacrifice our partisan belongings, ethnic identities and religious ideologies to vote for the right and competent people. Let us learn to say no to politicians who are only interested in today’s elections and support those who care about our children’s future.
May God bless our homeland Ghana and make us great and strong.
Michael Kwadwo Nketiah