Wed, 19 Jun 2024 Opinion

Leadership – Not About Brawls But Brains

By Brig-Gen (Rtd) J. Odei
Leadership – Not About Brawls But Brains

The recent visit by Dr. Bawumia to the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs and the observations made on his character by the eminent Chiefs are worth digesting.

The chiefs observed that Dr. Bawumia's leadership style is a departure from the violent and radical approach that has characterised some of our leaders in the past.

The chiefs believe that his calm demeanour will enable him to make informed decisions that will benefit the country and the citizens.

They further remarked, “We state with all emphasis that when it comes to effective leadership, you don't have to be radical, violent, or pompous to be a bold leader. Being a bold leader is not about brawls, but rather brains.”

The eminent chiefs hit the nail on the head because leadership is not about brawls, violence, insults, and deceit but brains. You need brains to solve the numerous problems facing the nation and whoever is elected must show proof of his intelligence and character.

The eminent chiefs are convinced that when it comes to selfless leadership, the rumours that he will be a push over when elected are based on his calm, gentle and polite disposition and believed that he will be his own man.

What recommendation do you need again to vote Dr. Bawumia as the next president of Ghana?

Good leadership is the key to the development of every nation and poor leadership leads to under-development as has been experienced in many third world countries. The chiefs believe that his calm demeanour will enable him to make informed decisions that will benefit the country and the citizens. Informed decisions cannot be made without humility and regular contact with many of the citizens. Dr. Bawumia's approach in his campaign has revealed that he attaches a lot of importance to these principles.

For the first time in political campaigns in Ghana, the usual long convoys of V8 vehicles is missing from Dr. Bawumia's campaign trail. We notice the use of buses and vigorous matches in the streets of towns and villages to offer him the opportunity to interact with the people as against mammoth rallies with loud speakers and irrelevant political speeches.

Good leadership is not about insults, arrogance and violence and whilst ex-President Mahama is not insulting his political opponents, he has woefully failed to control some of his communicators especially Sammy Gyamfi and others from these unacceptable behaviours.

His silence on their activities is an indication of his tacit approval of their actions and consequently, the ex-President cannot exonerate himself from blame.

Radicalism, pomposity, violence which have characterised the conduct of many National Democratic Congress (NDC) activities are the issues the eminent chiefs spoke about.

From the revolutionary days of “we no go sit down make them cheat us every day,” the respect of our elders and leaders has suffered a monumental damage never to be regained.

The story of the 'Montie three' and the description of these characters as “babies with sharp teeth” by JJ Rawlings, leader of the revolution, was an admission of what the revolution has bequeathed to the Ghanaian society.

The NDC has not found it necessary to shed off this posture and continue to enjoy the services of such characters.

The NDC criticises hypocritically and always with hidden motive or agenda. Wikipedia defines hypocrisy as “the practice of engaging in the same behaviour or activity for which one criticises.”

The party is good in pretending or couching its words in such a way as to convince the ordinary mind to believe what they say. It also has a habit of telling lies repeatedly making people believe what they are saying is the truth.  The current criticisms of corruption levelled against the New Patriotic Party (NPP) are a typical example of “the pot calling the kettle black”.

Good leaders sponsor policies after they have subjected them to critical intelligent analysis and evaluated the probability of acceptance and the risks involved. When the Free Senior High School (SHS) was proposed by Nana Addo, he passed the initial test of answering many of the questions of the doubting Thomases.

Ex-President Mahama emphatically stated that its implementation would take more than twenty years. Meanwhile President Akufo-Addo, who had done his homework, assured Ghanaians it was possible and on assumption of office took steps to implement the policy.

Mahama's late acceptance of the Free SHS is not only embarrassing but shameful considering the level of criticisms and the actions he took against the programme including mounting of billboards throughout the country to persuade Ghanaians not to support it.

Interestingly, the NDC can boast of the support of some intellectuals and professors in academia who are all over radio stations and the social media. So how can a policy of 24-hour Economy be introduced without any critical intelligent evaluation of its effects on the Ghanaian society?

Since this obnoxious policy was announced, attempts that have been made by some of the intellectuals to explain the policy have rather done more harm to the policy.

I have also not heard of any of these professors coming openly to defend the policy and explain its benefits to Ghanaians.

The new proposal by the ex-President to build a new capital city for Ghana is a big surprise. With the current state of the national economy, is this a top priority?

It seems to suggest that the vacuum created by the 24-hour Economy needs to be filled. In his estimation, “the new future city could span three regions, namely the Greater Accra Region, Eastern Region and Volta Region and would be situated near the Volta Lake.”

He is reported to have added that “the new city will be a green, digital metropolis featuring tourist and amusement attractions, industrial parks and financial services.”

This according to the flagbearer of the NDC will be focused on creating a new growth pole and generating thousands of jobs both during the construction phase and after completion.

He stated that “it is time to decongest Accra by relocating some government ministries, departments, agencies and financial institutions to the new city.”

It sounds like a good vision, and I don't want to fall into the category of critics of the Free SHS, to condemn the whole idea right away without given it a thought. Three major factors come to mind, namely the Ghanaian, financial resources, and time.

The success of this project will to large extent depend on the Ghanaian who will eventually be the beneficiary. There is the need therefore to sensitise Ghanaians, seek their views and support where necessary.

I hope lessons learnt by Nigeria in the construction of Abuja starting from 1981 will be useful lessons to guide him in his proposals.

The idea can be mooted by any political leader or party but for acceptance and implementation, many Ghanaians must lend their support to the proposal.

No visibility studies have been conducted and location has not been discussed, and therefore if the ex-President intends to implement the policy within the limited time he has if he is lucky to be elected, then he has a long way to go.

Financially, what are the implications for the economy and can the economy as it is today support such a venture?

The economy needs to be stabilised to ease the burden of many Ghanaians. In our present situation, is the building of a new capital a priority or a gimmick? Will the building of a new capital necessarily generate employment to the average Ghanaian, and how long would it take to implement such a project? There are many questions that need to be answered like the 24-hour Economy if he wants Ghanaians to take him seriously.

My experience in the military has thought me to be conscious of time in any endeavour, and my experience in life also tells me that no matter how brilliant a plan is, if the timing of its implementation is wrong, the plan will surely fail. Time is therefore an important factor that must seriously be considered if the creation of the new capital is to be implemented. Is the proposal going to be implemented within the next four years? Once again, I think not much preparatory work has been done and if care is not taken it will not survive the test of time.

Yes, to be a leader is not about brawls but brains. The flagship policy of 24-hour Economy fell flat and the proposal to build a new capital is being rushed to fill the gap. This clearly demonstrates how Dr. Bawumia's campaign has unsettled the NDC, and they need to do something fast to avoid an embarrassing defeat. Chasing the Electoral Commission which is one of their priorities in the coming elections is not the answer to their problems, and they must review their strategy.

The choice is now clear as to who has a clear vision for Ghana.

Vote Dr. Bawumia for brains.
By: Brig-Gen (Rtd) J. Odei

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