Nana Akufo-Addo’s Frustrations On Mahama’s “Good Roads”

President Nana Akufo-Addo

One of the famous clichés states that “wonders shall never end” especially, in the world we live in that is made up of people of immensely diverse social and psychocultural backgrounds. Indeed, it’s an energy-sapping adventure, and more so near impossible to attempt to make sense of the contours of human nature and/or individual differences. For a better expression, even the so-called “identical twins” are not necessarily identical in the true sense of the word.  

If humans are not diverse or insanely different in our mental, social, cultural, psychological, or moral outlooks, perhaps almost all of us will see events and interpret them the same way. In that scenario, maybe, either all of us will be truthful, pathological liars, political/apolitical, patriotic, or simply our behaviors will be exact replica of one another. But we know humans and our nature is such that all of us can never think alike or see things via similar lenses. Arguably, our inherent diverse nature provides meaning and enhances our collective as well as our individual humanity.

To a greater degree, it is why some people see green and say exactly as it is, because they have moral propensity to be truthful. But, in the vein, others may see blue color and forcefully argue it’s yellow; they see ordinary rock and insist it’s glittering gold; or, for example, in the case of former President John D. Mahama and his fawning followers, one of their false narratives is that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government left behind “Dubai-like” road network systems throughout Ghana.

By now, almost every Ghanaian in and outside the country had heard the NDCs’ campaigners boasting and rehashing a talking point that then Mahama-led government has an excellent record of building or fixing the nation’s deplorable roads/highways before Ghanaians massively voted them out of power in December 2016. Again, this goes back to the earlier point pertaining to human diversity, including how our diverse nature informs the way many of us view and untangle truth and/or how we severally process a body of information.   

As the visibly worried and frustrated president of the republic—Nana Akufo-Addo—rightly pointed out to some traditional chiefs and their people somewhere last week in the Ellembelle District/Western Region, “if ex-President Mahama had even built a tiny portion of Ghana’s roads while he was president, why do the traditional rulers and their subjects in almost every district he [Nana Addo] visited, kept asking him over and over again to fix their death-trap roads for them?” Where are all the “Dubai-like roads,” ex-President Mahama has been bragging about?  

For some of us any expression of “frustration” on the part of the current president regarding the carnage-prone roads left by former President Mahama is understandable, in that if one still insists the majority of the roads were built or fixed during the previous regime, that means the people complaining to Nana Akufo-Addo every day about the unpassable roads in their districts are either overselling their predicaments or merely engaging in lies for reasons best known to them. And no reasonable person would think these people are lying about their bad roads.

In what seems to be a rare public display of an obvious frustration and unhappiness yet one of his effective sociopolitical retorts since becoming president, Nana Addo smartly pushed back against Mahama-hijacked NDC’s nauseating campaign that their government fixed most of the Ghanaian roads and highways when in office. The sad irony is that millions of Ghanaians who live and use these shockingly poor-quality roads here in Ghana appear to be sitting unperturbed while worrying about sensational and extraneous happenings around them without bothering to call out one of the “Great Lies” of ex-President Mahama’s good old days “road tales.”

It is quite possible President Akufo-Addo’s immediate predecessor might have “built” many of the nation’s roads and highways; but one wonders why all the roads have quickly crumbled and in abysmal conditions within this relatively short period of time that Mr. Mahama is out of power? Here, several other relevant questions need to be examined, among them are: which of the “good roads” were at least constructed in 2015 and 2016 under Mr. Mahama, and what are their conditions at this point? If these so-called good roads are in dire need of reconstruction, then it speaks volumes about the shabby quality of roads the former president and his inept administration passed onto the NPP government.

For example, in May 2017 and June 2018, I was in Ghana and on each of those trips, my personal observation and experience travelling by road from Accra to Kumasi and vice versa with the state-run bus (the only form of transportation I trust a little bit), I was stunned to find out the main highway linking the two major cities in Ghana is still not up to world-class standard. By world class road, one is referring to dual carriageways separated by median strips or central reservations throughout and constructed with asphalt backed by well-lit rest areas at vantage points where drivers or travelers can stop by to use restrooms/toilets when the need arises.

The point is, if the largest city or the capital town (Accra) and that of the second biggest city—Kumasi—have substandard roads connecting them, then what kind of “good roads” former President Mahama has been pestering Ghanaians about? Keep in mind in May 2017 that I came to the motherland, Mr. Mahama had just handed over the seat of the presidency to Nana Akufo-Addo about four months earlier. So, for almost six to eight years of NDC government, why the Honorable, the “good road builder” Mr. John D. Mahama didn’t construct one of the most important roads linking the two biggest cities in Ghana? Nana Addo is right, if ex-President Mahama, indeed, built many of the roads he claims to have constructed, why do districts after districts keep begging or pushing this current president to fix their horrible roads? Good road constructions do not thrive on lip service nor do they build by shoddy contractors. So ex-President Mahama, please, stop manipulating Ghanaians and play the role of opposition within the ambience of real statesmanship!

Bernard Asubonteng is a US-based writer. Email:

By Bernard Asubonteng