By Dele Momodu
Sometime in April this year, I was a guest on a radio programme on Ghana’s Starr FM. I was asked to assess the pace of development in Ghana under the current administration of President John Dramani Mahama. My perspective on what I considered the great work that President Mahama was doing in Ghana immediately set in motion what became a chain reaction of several media conversations on the performance of President Mahama. Those who felt nothing good could come out of Nazareth dismissed every positive appraisal of the Mahama administration. At this time, the predominant rhetoric was that nothing good was happening in Ghana. His critics and political opponents labeled him incompetent. It was the most malicious misrepresentation of a leader who had taken unprecedented steps in the infrastructural development of his country. It was as if there was a conspiracy to hide the humongous transformation that was unfolding in Ghana.
I have lived in Ghana for the past fifteen years. My work as publisher of Ovation International magazine has seen me traveling across all continents of the world within the past twenty years. I know development when I see it. The little I had seen under President Mahama was visible enough to the blind and audible enough to the deaf that truly, this was a nation that had made significant progress from where it was some five to ten years ago. My idea of Ghana under President Mahama was built on the foundation of the work that I saw. But the cynics would have none of it. The discordant tune of cynics and doomsday prophets who saw nothing good in this great African nation challenged us to embark on a fact-finding mission across the various developmental projects of the Mahama administration.
A few weeks after my interview with Starr FM, Ovation International established contact with President Mahama’s office and requested an audience with the President. Within a few days, access was granted to our media team to all the various projects nationwide. The journey towards the production of the Ovation International World Exclusive on Ghana began.
As our crew covered project to project, they traveled the lengths and breadths of Ghana, conducting interviews with citizens, visiting project sites to see first-hand and to ask questions about these projects. There were times our crew had to travel on the President’s entourage, just to ensure that they captured in detail most of the significant events now documented in this collector’s edition.
As we moved from location to location, what we saw was a nation and a government in a hurry to deliver the dividends of democratic governance to its people. As we began to unveil teasers on the projects undertaken by the Mahama administration, the narrative started changing. Those who initially said nothing was being done by the Mahama administration now sought to label the projects as “an artist’s impression”. When that narrative fell flat on its face, they switched to a new melody; this time, the discordant tune was the tale of how the projects were too expensive!
But this itself reflects the sheer tragedy of politics with bitterness. There are several lessons to take away from the unfolding scenario in Ghana, the process that produced this historic edition of Ovation International and the steady, resolute focus of President Mahama in the face of impossible odds.
First, President Mahama did not hesitate in giving us approval and access to these projects. The simplicity of his style of governance helped collapse the walls of unprecedented bureaucracy that is commonplace around government officials of his caliber. From his residence to his office to the projects we covered nationwide, his remarkably efficient disposition to the business of governance is worthy of emulation.
Second, it is a lesson of life that you never know who would appreciate what you are doing. It has taken this special edition of Ovation International to convert many skeptics in Ghana to ardent admirers of what I love to describe as the “Mahama Magic”.
Third, President Mahama’s approach to vile criticisms from his political opponents and critics speaks volumes about his personality and character as a perfect gentleman who does not belong to the school of do-or-die politics that has largely become the bane of the African continent. Despite the insults hurled at him, he refuses to take offence. His usual way of responding to his critics is that “When you are not on the seat, you can never imagine what it takes to be the President of a country.”
For Ghanaians who have followed the Ovation trajectory over time, long before President Mahama became the vice President of Ghana, we have devoted great attention to Ghana because of the significant socio-political and economic bonds that Nigeria and Ghana share so closely. Ovation’s interview with President Jerry John Rawlings and his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings remains one of the lengthiest ever granted by the founding father of Ghana’s National Democratic Congress (NDC). We covered the good works of President John Agyekum Kufuor and collaborated with the late Honourable Jake Obetsebi Lamptey to promote tourism in Ghana. We supported the administration of the late President John Atta Mills. We are glad to extend the same hand of fellowship to President John Dramani Mahama.
Last night in Accra, we launched the special edition of Ovation International focused on Ghana at an event attended by His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama and graced by the crème of Ghana’s media personalities and celebrities.
What we have done represents another bold step by Ovation International magazine in its remarkable twenty-year history of projecting the best and brightest of the African continent to the world. This edition of the magazine is a world-class documentation of developmental activities in Ghana under President John Dramani Mahama. The exceptional quality of the projects we saw in the course of producing this magazine re-enforce the original dream of Ovation International; a magazine built on the hopes of a continent free from the stigma of war, the plague of poverty, and the scourge of disease but a continent on the rise, a continent ready to build again, a continent ready to show the world that indeed, a new Africa is possible.