By Sani Said Baba
According to Cicero, whoever fails to learn from the past, is condemned to repeat it. From the days of Kwame Nkrumah, who is the architect of modern Ghana, to the present democratic dispensation, the country has experienced a lot of political upheavals. In its more recent history, the cases of immediate past President John Dramani Mahama and incumbent President Nana Akufo Addo happen to be central focus of this short piece, with particular reference to the striking semblance of the nature and dynamics between Nigeria and Ghana. Before I venture into my discourse about the impending presidential elections in Ghana, I must first confess that it is a period of mixed feelings for Ghanaians. The recent demise of former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings had left Africa and many parts of the world mourning till today and I must first condole with the government of Ghana, Ghanaians and Africa at large for this irreplaceable loss.
Despite the great contribution of Mahama in various aspects of administration ranging from economy, administration, to national development vis-à-vis health, education, infrastructure and a whole lot of unprecedented achievements, he was in 2016 voted out of office, paving the way for Nana Akufo Addo to get to power.
It is instructive to mention that Mahama followed the example of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of Nigeria in the display of integrity by conceding defeat in the interest of the country. However, against all expectations, Akufo Addo’s government has not only failed, going by popular opinion, but is found wanting in more areas than one. Is it in administration, education, health, job creation, youth inclusion, just name it.
Much as there is a striking resemblance in Ghana and Nigeria’s political situations, it is believed that Ghanaians must have learnt one or two lessons from events that had unfolded in Nigeria since 2015. These include propaganda and baseless rumours rooted on regional and religious differences, which were used against the then president, who many have come to believe was leading country with honesty, justice, and never tempered with the course of national unity. while accepting his defeat in good faith, he was quoted as saying “One day, Nigerians will remember me as the most honest president who believe in democracy and freedom of Nigerians”.
Shortly after the new government of General Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in, the country relapsed to comatose, and never recovered even as the first four years ended. Buhari’s offer for a second term was rebuffed by not a few Nigerians, many of whom called on Jonathan to re-contest. He was sorely missed!
The situation in Ghana is a direct replica to that of Nigeria. The only difference is that Mahama is still willing to come to the rescue of Ghanaians at this trying moment, to resuscitate and continue with the unprecedented development that trailed his four years. Ghana became a rallying point for infrastructural development under him, as well as a haven for security consciousness in addition to sterling performances in education, health and commerce. The elements that brought his government down in 2016 used the same strategy similar to that used in Nigeria – propaganda and packaging. Some participated in bringing down Jonathan’s government believing that Buhari will be a better performer. But how wrong they were!
Back in Ghana, Ghanaians did not have to sleep hungry because food was readily available and affordable, but the story is different today. No one had to live and die at home because of poverty. Health care was quite affordable and many things were freely accessed by all Ghanaians. On the contrary, reports have it the present administration has not only been unfair to foreigners, especially Nigerians, but has supported the police to brutalise them and their businesses – abolishing the cordial relationship that both countries once enjoyed.
I had erroneously believed that great leaders never exist in Africa until I read the documentary publication of Mahama’s projects by Ovation magazine tagged “Ghana at Work”. Reading his charming socio-economic policies in Ghana, I came to the conclusion that he must be the kind of leader the country needs, especially in this trying period of its history. It also dawned on me that great leaders still exist in Africa. This is no doubt the view of most Ghanaians and those who either visit or live in Ghana.
I would also like to advise Ghanaians against repeating the same mistake Nigeria made. Jonathan’s developmental efforts were derided, and exchanged for Buhari. Public opinion has since dismissed his administration as a failed effort. It is said that Buhari has also failed to protect the lives and property of the citizens with constant cases of kidnappings, banditry, and terrorism rending the air. Then, there is the loud sound of abject poverty in every corner to the extent that three square meal has become a luxury.
Ghanaians have a duty to go down memory lane as they troop to the polling booth come December 7, 2020, and make a rational decision as to how they wish to live their lives in the next four years. Will you vote for a Mahama that has ready made answers to every challenge or the sitting president that has appeared clueless.
More so, voting Mahama is the best way to show respect to late Jerry John Rawlings, the founder of NDC, who singlehandedly restored Ghana to the path of greatness. And of course, both leaders have striking similarities in terms of zeal and determination to take Ghana to greater height.
This is one golden opportunity Ghanaians must not miss. December 7 beckons, and Mahama is the man! One good turn, they say, deserves another.