THE PRESIDENT has adopted three key presidential habits which I admire. Presidents who adopt such habits finally succeed in their endeavor to develop their respective countries. While they listen to the cries, complains, criticisms and insults, they talk less and with patience. They concentrate their efforts at finding solutions to the problems and complains raised. That is the mark of a good leader; a good and focused president for that matter. The truth is that when people know you are responsible and possess the can-do spirit, they demand from you. This is the position where the President has found himself in.
Prophet Moses was impatient. He easily got angry when the Israelites he led started complaining, nagging and apportioning blames. In fact, great grandpa Moses was not a good leader even though he had the full support of the mighty Hand of the God of Israel behind him. Barely six hundred men, women and children followed Prophet Moses from Egypt along the way to the promised land of Canaan but Moses could not withstand the numerous complains and at a point in time, he issued a very serious dicta like “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. Moses was not the talkative type because he stammered. He, therefore, passed the test of one of the key habits of a leader. He talked less. But he failed in the other two useful habits. He was tired of listening to complains and he was impatient. When the Israelis complained of thirst in the hot desert, God instructed Moses to direct his rod at a rock for water to flow for the people to drink. However, the people’s numerous complains angered him and made him strike the rock instead with his rod, attracting punishment from God. It was for such reason that God told him that his eye would see Canaan alright but his foot will never step on that soil. This came to pass.
The very day Nana Akufo Addo was sworn in as the Executive President of Ghana, Ghanaians started to complain. Wherever he went, the chiefs, the youth and a cross-section of the people complained of bad roads, lack of good drinking water, lack of school blocks, dumsor and unemployment, etc. The man patiently listened to all the complains since he knew he was voted into power to solve problems. Then the man hit the road, running like a hare. His predecessor had boasted that he had constructed and an unprecedented number of roads in the country and so when people started complaining of bad roads, President Akufo Addo got confused. As he was traversing the land to seek votes during the electioneering campaign, he noticed that the roads were very bad and he also complained. His competitor John Dramani Mahama, who got angry, said Nana Addo was sleeping when he traveled on those roads. Today, even though President Akufo Addo has not been speaking loudly of his achievements as far as road construction in Ghana is concerned, Ghanaians are living witnesses to the number of good roads, overhead bridges, flyovers and interchanges built, as well as other projects in the pipeline. As for the NDC apparatchiks, since they are wearing ‘wooden glasses’, they cannot see any of these projects. At least, I drove over the Tamale Interchange last week. And this is a project which was unthinkable.
Any half-hearted politician would have dropped the idea of free SHS when the idea faced harsh criticism from the NDC. Some said it could become possible in twenty years time whiles others like Okudjeto Ablakwa, (the Presidential Travels Specialist PTS), said free SHS would collapse in a matter of five years if it was introduced. Their boss himself, Mr. Mahama, said it was not feasible and that the NPP was using the promise as a political trick to win votes. The then candidate Akufo Addo kept his patience and kept hammering on the issue as he criss-crossed the country in his bid to become the President of Ghana. When they questioned where he was going to get money to execute the project, he kept silent. In fact, he kept all his trump cards on his chest, waiting for the opportunity to deliver them. As for insults, vilifications and sheer disrespect, the man Akufo Addo heard all and was able to contain them because he had and still has very strong shock absorbers, and the skin of a crocodile. Today, the first batch of the free SHS project are in tertiary and other higher institutions.
All the flagship programmes he promised and initiated are on track but as I wrote last week, he has been disappointed by the communication outfit of his party. The government talks of more than one hundred factories built under the One District One Factory Programme but we don’t see them because, the leadership of the party, who are in the places where these projects are located, is not talking about it. MMDCEs are keen on awarding contracts while sitting in their air conditioned offices but shy away from showcasing such projects through the media for the people to see or even visit project sites to see the progress of work. Constituency and regional chairmen are also busy lobbying for contracts while the job of trumpeting the achievements of the government lies somewhere, unattended to. Heads must start to roll as soon as possible. There is no time to lose because election 2024 is just around the corner. The government must not wait till election is near before showcasing achievements like they did the last time around. The minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Dan Botwe and his deputy, Martin Adjei Mensah Korsah, my very good friends, should wake up from their slumber. MMDCEs must be made to expose the NDC communicators who continue to disturb our ears that nothing has been done in respect of the One Factory One District programme, roads, school blocks, dormitories, Agenda 111 etc.
Talking about school blocks and dormitories reminds me of what Mr. Mahama said when the double track system was introduced in the face of the huge intake of SHS students, following the introduction of free SHS. He teased the government by saying that the double track system is a traffic light system of education. Today, many SHS are not practising the double track system because school blocks and dormitories and other facilities have been built to accommodate the students. How will the person in Accra know of such achievements if he is not told? And who will tell them if not the MMDCEs and the constituency and regional communication officers? Or is it the case of a grab a post and go to sleep scenario? I hereby serve notice that if I wait for one month and nothing is done as far as showcasing the achievements of government is concerned; I will throw away my fountain pen and grab my trenchant pen, don my solid and shining armour of confrontational discourse and go to town with verbal showmanship. The result will be acidic, abrasive, caustic and nasty. MMDCEs, communication officers and of course, the Minister of Information, should go for their iron crash helmets when the time comes. After all, who am I, Angel Gabriel, for? No cigar today because I am already steaming with uncontrollable fury.
BY Eric Bawah