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04.02.2009 Feature Article

Honour in defeat

Honour in defeat

The agony of defeat needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated. But in all things, it is a very miserable one. So excruciating is the pain that to soothe it, people always resort to explanations that end up accusing others.

After a typical football match, the defeated team will leave the stadium cursing the match officials for biased officiating. Some will blame the quality of the pitch. Others will put the defeat on the shoulders of hostile spectators or the weather.

What defeated teams; never do is to take a close look at themselves; for that reason they will never give credit to their opponents for superior display of skills and their ability to exploit chances to advantage.•

They will not admit that they played below form, took things for granted and played to the cheers of the crowd most of the time instead of scoring the vital goals that will give them victory.

For such teams, they are more likely to make defeat bedfellows, since they will never make self-assessment and work on their weaknesses and formulate better strategies to confront their opponents in future assignments.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) is still nursing its wounds and trying hard to locate where to place the blame. The defeat in Election 2008 was a painful one, it must be admitted, but the search for scapegoats is becoming too much.

At the national level, supporters are blaming the national executive and the campaign team for not doing enough, when enough means what? The NPP Election 2008 campaign cannot find its equal in the country's political history in terms of resources ploughed into the field, the intensity and extensiveness of the campaign and the exploitation of incumbency to the fullest.

Apart from the rallies that witnessed tens of thousands of people attending, there were the live concert shows, beach jams and radio and television adverts that supplemented adverts in almost all the newspapers.

The billboards in various sizes are still where they were, dominating the highways, city streets and roundabouts with Nana Akufo-Addo's presidential face with its infectious smile beckoning every Ghanaian to give him the nod so that he can move this country forward. "The best man for Ghana", is a bold statement, pairing a catchy slogan: "One Touch" on all the billboards, banners and posters.

The musicians, both secular and gospel, and the concert party people were not left out of the bandwagon. It was as if the whole country was on a journey to a dreamland, where milk and honey were flowing in copious abundance.

There was no doubt about the results of the December• 7, 2008 election. In the estimation and minds of many, it was going to be a day when Ghanaians would finally endorse Nana Akufo-Addo officially and complete the coronation process started at the NPP congress of December 2007 held at the University of Ghana, to elect a presidential candidate for the party.

The presidential candidate went as far as touring some West African countries campaigning in international arena to espouse his foreign policy, more like a head of state interacting with his counterparts in the sub-region. He also addressed Ghanaians in some-foreign lands in the US and Europe to sell himself and his party for Election 2008. So what more was expected from Nana Akufo-Add and his campaign team?

At the regional level, constituency executive are venting their spleen on the regional executive, while at the constituency level, it is the ward chairmen and polling station chairmen who betrayed the party.

Perhaps, the party needs to take a closer look at its 'campaign message. Campaigning on the wings of continuity comes with its problems. For all you know, the saying that "all that glitters is not gold," has some relevance here. All the things being touted as major achievements of Kufuor's government that the NPP was so proud of continuing, did not register with the majority of the people. It could also be that while looking at its achievements, and making a lot of noise about them, the NPP failed to take cognisance of its deficiencies captured in the mood of the people.

The apparent overconfident posture of the presidential candidate, and the perception that he had not experienced suffering before and that he was in for the presidency for the sake of the rest of us poor people might not have endeared him to many people.

He was heard several times saying at every opportunity that he had not credited yo kegari (gari and beans) before and that he is a successful and famous lawyer. In an environment choked with very, very poor people, one 'does' not score high marks boasting about wealth that may not necessarily have for its origins, hard work, honesty and selflessness. It is good politicians take note of some of these things in their next endeavours in the political arena. Sometimes it pays to be humble.

Notwithstanding their complaints and reservations, the rather antagonistic stance the party adopted towards the people of the Volta Region cannot be downplayed because of the dangerous forebodings it has for the unity and cohesion of this country.

The national executive, apparently to address the concerns of the rank and file, saw a good scapegoat among the people of the Volta Region. Their solace is that but for the people of the Volta Region, who were at their animalistic best, the NPP would have won the election.

It was only in the Volta Region that NPP's hundreds of thousands of supporters were prevented from voting. It was only in the Volta Region that their polling station agents were intimidated, harassed, beaten and, in what turned out to be the most outrageous of all claims, murdered.

It is strange how the NPP should anchor their hope of victory in Election 2008 on the support they expected from the Volta Region. And here a few truths, albeit harsh, need to be confronted.

This is a region that for eight years did not seem to be part of this unitary country called Ghana. For its record in the military and the police service, Volta Region was the only region in Ghana for eight years that did not have any officer qualified enough to hold any command position in the security services.

Those who care may kindly tell readers how many officers from that region in the military commanded any of the services or units of the Ghana Armed Forces or held any command position in the Ghana Police Service over the last eight years.

They should tell us how many of them headed any of the state public institutions or even served on their boards.

The absence of people from the Volta Region in former Kufuor's cabinet was explained that Members of Parliament from the region were not on the Majority side. What about the positions of deputy ministers? What about the hundreds, if not thousands, of qualified and competent professionals the Volta Region has produced? Could their talents not have been exploited to the glory of this country?

A few of them were in the news, though.
That was when they were being escorted to serve prison sentences or when they were lucky to be granted presidential pardon. As a final act to seal their isolation, the people of the Volta Region were only those who suffered the pain and disgrace of having their border with their Togolese brothers and sisters closed at short notice before the December 7, 2008 elections contrary to the assurances by the government to the diplomatic community that Ghana's borders would remain open during the elections.

To alienate a whole people like this, and expect them to support your bid for the highest office of the land, to say the least, is to credit them with no natural intelligence. That should not be and it is the naked truth people must be ready to face if they expect better things in the future.

People may take things for granted, but when it matters most, the people of the Volta Region will prove that they are not blind to see.

This country must be seen to belong to all and it should not be deemed as an act of charity or benevolence if a few crumbs should be thrown at some people while others are feeding fat on the nation's resources.

Credit: Kofi Akordor (Daily Graphic)

Daily Graphic
Daily Graphic, © 2009

This author has authored 236 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: DailyGraphic

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