By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
“Ivorian President, 70, is 10 times better than 55-year-old Mahama”, says Akufo-Addo.
By this claim, we can see that Akufo-Addo is justifying and rationalizing his own age factor. He turns 72 in 2016 when the Presidential elections will be held. For the records, Akufo-Addo’s father (Edward Akufo-Addo, Titular President of Ghana in the Second Republic) died at 71 as an accomplished lawyer and politician.
True, the age of Methusellah has nothing to do with the wisdom of Solomon; but it takes more than wisdom to provide the leadership needed for nation building, at least, in our kind of democracy. The assumption is that wisdom comes about with ageing, even though I have come across some old men with gray hair whose asinine or bovine stupidity left me slackjawed.
In politics, age may not necessarily count as the most potent factor but it has dire implications, especially in terms of “physical attrition” and the huge demands of office. It is assumed that at a ripe age of 70 or beyond, anybody entering office as the President of a country may not be physically, mentally (psychologically), emotionally, and morally sound to be able to perform the duties of such a high office, especially if the lifestyle of that person raises eyebrows.
Akufo-Addo will be contesting the elections as the oldest candidate in Ghana’s history; and he is already carrying along a heavy baggage full of undignified factors that have already doomed his two previous attempts at becoming Ghana’s President at all costs. Thus, for him to be concentrating on the age factor now suggests something ominous to me.
The issue may not necessarily be pegged down his age but many other compelling factors, particularly what new currency he will bring to the table to warrant his being preferred at Election 2016. He says he won’t change his strategies for doing things as he seeks the goodwill of voters (beginning first with the NPP’s delegates at the October 18 congress to choose the flagbearer and then being extended to the national electioneering campaign scene).
He has already jumped the gun to settle on Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as his running mate even though he hasn’t been certified as the party’s flagbearer. Why is he in a hurry—and desperate too?
Beyond all these issues (of age and his being in a kind of indecent haste for the general elections) lies the real nub. What solutions does Akufo-Addo have for the country’s problems. He has so far been heard criticizing, criticizing, and criticizing without offering any better option.
I want to alert him to the fact that although age may play a huge part in the factors that will inform the electoral decisions to be made by voters, other pressing issues regarding character and vision for the country’s development (beyond his monomaniacal fixation on free senior high school education) will come to the fore.
From what has come forth from him thus far, I am more than persuaded to conclude that he hasn’t learnt any lesson from what caused his defeat in the two previous elections; and he isn’t adding anything new to the equation. He remains what he has been all along: a desperate seeker of the Presidency to fulfill his childhood ambition of becoming Ghana’s President; self-aggrandizement aforethought and being pursued with unprecedented alacrity. A mirage it will remain!!
President Ouattara is making headway because he has an opposition front in the country that cooperates with his administration to prosecute the agenda for national development, not to sabotage efforts.
So, citing the Ivorian leader’s age to rationalize his own circumstance or inadequacies is beyond being ridiculous. President Ouattara isn’t doing what Akufo-Addo is praising him for on the basis of his age but on the basis of the programmes and policies that he has taken decades to work on. He isn’t carrying as much of a baggage as Akufo-Addo is doing. So, any hasty drawing of parallels between him and Akufo-Addo is misplaced.
I insist here again that nation-building is not an individual’s affair but a collective effort that needs a leader with the ability to unify the people and galvanize them for action. Akufo-Addo is being dismissed by his own party members as violent and not a unifier. Is that what he will depend on to enter the Presidency to perform better than the incumbent? Some politician!!
I shall return…
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