I Will Make Akufo-Addo President
Note from writer: This is a 3,559-word letter meant to be carefully considered. It is figurative in many senses, and readers are urged to critically judge it solely on its merits.
25th February, 2015
Writing as a linguist to the King of Adomland...
I bring you greetings from Adomland, an imaginary town from my short story Gravellatina.
I have a rather bold proposition for you, and will encourage you to peruse this letter to the very end. Perhaps you may never read a more auspicious letter than this, in your entire political life. You must read, as your willingness to comply will lead to a swift change of your fortunes.
Knowing your scintillating erudition, I am sure you know the source of the word "auspicious." For others, it comes from a period where the Romans attempted to predict future events by observing the behaviour of animals and birds. An 'auspex' was one who watched the flight of birds for omens. Accordingly, the Oxford English dictionary defines the word 'auspicious' as, "Conducive to success; favourable." The same dictionary also explains it as, "Giving or being a sign of future success."
Nana, I have not watched the birds or animals; they are too lean and too weak to move due to the economic hardships in the country. In fact, most of them are in enforced hibernation—and for some, rigor mortis has set in—because of the rather difficult times that they are experiencing. But I have observed the people, and what they have said convinces me that there is auspicious news for you. In fact, I have heard their calls from pitch black darkness; and that is exactly why I am writing to you.
You see, I have been arguing in favour of the development of the whole African continent—Ghana is too small a pond for me to swim in. I also try to remain non-partisan or exercise practical neutrality. On one occasion, however, I stated how much I like John Mahama, much to the disgust of some of my readers. Yes, I like John, he looks like a good man I can perhaps have more than dinner with. But I have good news for you, and that informs my decision to write to you. And pardon me for my circumlocutory discourse. I am rather used to more precise colloquy than this. And sorry, if I experience a flight of verbal gymnastics, it is a sweet weakness I am working on.
Mr Akufo-Addo, were you almost startled by my title: "I Will Make Akufo-Addo President"? Did you peruse and perceive it as a cataract of stupidity for me to make such a forthright assertion?
Perhaps an arrant fool or a deranged soul who is not even a politician tells a seasoned politician like you, she will make him a president. But, stanch the flow of your palpable incredulity for a split second, and think: What if such a person is as convinced as a blind man saying he will stone you with fresh pebbles for the Kpeshie lagoon?
And yes, I deliberately use this analogy because it is entrenched in the local psyche. A blind man must be surely standing on something, else how can he make this bold, arresting, and definite statement?
For your information, I am not only standing on colossal granites; I am hearing not just the painful and panting susurration, but the deafening cacophony and stentorian shrill of the voices I mentioned earlier. They are swirling in my mind like an unpleasant eddy, sucking me into their vortex of emotions; and with my apathy banished, I identify with their catalogue of harrowing sentiments.
So, I don't bore you with all that they are saying, I shall tell you exactly an important message which should delight you, and also help you pause for a thought. Hear their chants: "We want Nana! We want Nana! We want Nana..." Sadly, the refrain from a vital minority goes like this: "But... But... But..."
Ignore this dissenting minority for a moment; generally, the omens look good for you. The superb opportunity for you to become Ghana's next president has arrived. Believe me, you will never have a better chance to rise to the dizzy heights and intriguing vertex of power. Your star has shone like a mesmerising cynosure.
In any case, you cannot ignore those dissenting voices forever, if you want to taste the tantalising fruits of the presidency. And that is the more reason why, I crave your attention. Please listen to me, in my capacity as the linguist to the king of Adomland, as I have rightly mentioned at the start of my letter.
While you may not agree with all that I have to say to you, you must still listen. Perhaps others may eavesdrop and debate the merits of this letter till the cows come home.
The ideas below will directly and indirectly answer two key questions that anyone in your shoes must answer with transparent sincerity and unrivalled honesty: Why do we need a president? What are Ghanaians looking for?
Are you still wondering how I could make you president? Keep on reading.
After two failed attempts at the presidency, and still planning to stand in 2016, it is obvious you are bent on becoming president; and if you listen to me, I will give you the keys to the Flagstaff House. You will not need to beg for it!
Arrogance and obduracy leading you to ignore what I tell you, may, and I repeat, may see you lose the 2016 elections, and be crushed forever. And if you miss this open goal, you will never ever be president of Ghana like your father was. Perhaps, he will not be too pleased with you, after you draw your last draught of breath, and go and slumber next to him in the unseen.
1. You Must Be an Epitome of Selflessness
Nana, you see, Ghanaians are looking for a selfless government. The people of Ghana are tired of all the real and perceived corruption that is taking place in the country. Without a modicum of doubt, the endemic and systemic corruption in the country is a perennial worry to all. And Ghanaians are praying for a government they can trust. Sadly, the party in power has not stemmed this tidal wave; and, Ghanaians will be ready to give you the mandate, if you could prove that you are the right person to take necessary action.
Unfortunately, you have a mountain of a task to prove this to the people. Your cause is not aided by the fact that you have lost two elections already, and have ploughed quite a substantial part of your fortunes into politics.
Nonetheless, if you are ready to go the long distance, then do what I am about to tell you; for no government has ever done such a thing. It will prove to the ordinary Ghanaian that you are indeed selfless.
Yes, do this: Take an oath that you will not receive any salary for the first three years of your first term in power. Yes, three years for you, and two for your cabinet. Use this period to justify and prove yourselves like oxen is proven. You may receive no more allowances than the average Ghanaian will expect. Remember, you are trying to change opinions, and making politics about service, and not a pageant for personal enrichment and aggrandisement. When you have proven yourselves in your first term, a second term will be a cinch.
Following this path, there are several others apart from your government who will equally ask for a substantial reduction in their salaries, or even refrain from taking a salary altogether. Others will come from all over the world, and serve and contribute in making Ghana great, even for a pittance.
Remember, people see the "chop-chop" going on, and consider their increasing hardship. They are bitter when they see politicians like you; you and your ilk have a low stock.
Why call for this sacrifice? The economy is failing, and the man on the street still sees and believes that government is profiting at his expense. How they would love to have someone willing to go over and above expectations. If you tell them your cabinet will be willing to forego their salaries, and you take a binding oath in a court of law, there are many who will give you their vote. Trust me, such an oath will sway public opinion massively in your favour. After all, most people think you want to come and 'chop' the money, and that is why you are trying all you can to get into power. They don't see service: they see selfishness.
Nana, the typical Ghanaian does not trust you, but if you can do what I have said above, you will go down as the most selfless president Ghana has even known. In fact, the people will be praying for 2016 to come early; they will love to see the back of Mahama and his coterie.
And if you, as president do not "chop", there are others who will think twice. Believe me, we know that the system is rotten; your selfless act, though, will start expunging Ghanaian politics of its entrenched corruption. It is not feasible to imagine that after sacrificing three years of your salary, sweating it out to see an improvement in the life of the average Ghanaian, you will sit aloof and apathetic as people bilk and bleed the national coffers. Is it possible that you will be indifferent? Would you sacrifice your money, and watch others misuse and mismanage it? I very much doubt!
2. Shed Your Air of Arrogance
Nana, you naturally have a formidable look which many times can seem alienating. You see, I naturally admire your outward mien. When I look into your eyes, I see someone with a willingness to work. But on several occasions, the spectacles from which most people see you, conveys the message of a bellicose and belligerent warrior. Even some see you as an arrogant spoilt person. This has never helped your cause. On occasion, your laughter seems more forced than natural.
As average Ghanaians are required to vote for you, they must believe what they see, and not just what you tell them. You know yourself better than anyone else does; however, your subliminal messages communicated to people are sometimes a cause for concern.
Listen, and listen carefully, you need a rebranding strategy which will help you shed your air of arrogance. Ask the ordinary man on the street: John Mahama or Akufo-Addo, who seems more like a humble person? You should know the answer to this question. It is not fact; it is perception!
Your situation is not helped because you had a privileged upbringing. Many Ghanaians would have liked to have had such a life, but they did not. However, you cannot apologise for a decent life. In fact, you do not have to apologise to anyone for your good fortune. It is God's gift to you. What you must do is to balance this with a new, approachable, refreshing demeanour. Let the average man see that you are humble; not you thinking you are humble. You must work on this, as opinions are bound to change. A few strokes of the change lyre, and people will start warming up to you.
And like I have given you the auspicious news, there are many who are going through hard times. They are waiting for you to show a measure of humility, and they will give you the benefit of the doubt. The economic hardship in the country will make them take a keener interest in you.
3. Show You Are a Ghanaian
Nana, Ghanaians are looking for a Ghanaian to be president. If this is a pun, it is intended. Why make a comment like this? Why is there a perceived feeling that a president only represents a part of the country, particularly where he comes from? Indeed, tribalism has been our national curse!
Let an Ewe come into power, and he floods strategic positions with Ewes. Let an Asante assume the reins, and Asantes get a better treatment. Are we not Ghanaians? No, we represent our tribes. How sad. How myopic of us.
You see, there are those who will never vote for you because you do not come from their tribe. Leave those people alone. You don't need 100% of the votes to be president. Nonetheless, what you need is to convince the ordinary Ghanaian that you are a Ghanaian who wants the very best for Ghana, and not for the people of Akyem Abuakwa, or even the Eastern Region.
You have been at the forefront of issues, from Ghana Academicals, through the Professional Associations in the hey days of Acheampong, through to Movement for Freedom and Justice, to the repeal of the iniquitous Libel Law; it has always been about GHANA. Show this current generation it is really not about you, but it is about the red, gold, green, and black star, flag of the Republic of Ghana. Be reminded by these words from the second stanza of our national anthem: "To thee we make our solemn vow: Steadfast to build together; A nation strong in Unity."
Starting from today, your language must be more inclusive to ensure that Ghanaians up and down the country feel that you are nothing but an embodiment of a true Ghanaian. After all, you want to rule Ghana, and not become a tribal chief. Here too, you must walk a tight diplomatic rope. While your words matter, your silence on relevant issues is equally oppressive. The least said the better.
Our tribalism has fractured our national unity, and Ghanaians are looking for a binding force who can bring north and south, east and west, together. Are you inclined to be that man? If you can be that sort of person, prepare to see a sharp increase in the votes you will get from some places you would have virtually scored naught. Speak for all Ghanaians. Avoid inflammatory speeches. It will do you much good.
4. Show You are Clean
This is a rather important point considering the happenings in the last few weeks. You see, your use (or alleged use, to be fair to you) of substances has not been very helpful to you. Perceptions win or lose elections.
People still feel quite unsure how you intend to tackle the festering drug problem. In fact, they are concerned whether you will be doing drugs when you get into office. I know you will be protesting your innocence, but you see, it is not a question of what you say, it is about what people think. If you did not have these issues, very likely, I will be writing to you, addressing you as president rather than telling you I will make you president.
You must try your best to show the people that you are clean. Do whatever is within your power to convince them you are not using drugs, and rather, that you will be the first president to break the chain and flow of illicit drugs through our porous borders.
Don't take this point for granted. Remember how close you came, the last time. You cannot allow votes to slip through your fingers. Choose to sweep matters under the carpet, and most likely, your political life will be the next to join the rejectamenta.
5. Write More to the People
Nana, get back to your desk and write.
This point is perhaps the most important of all I intend to tell you. It is where the test of your competency for the job will be displayed before the virgin screens of the electorate. After all, the current government may blame whoever they wish, but their failure in government has thrown a wide berth to you, and you must demonstrate your apt authority to steer the affairs of the country.
Yes, tell the average Ghanaian in simple language what you will do for them. Your party cannot just do this for you. And when you write, cut out the gobbledegook and the obscurantism; it will not get you anywhere. Use your PR machinery to circulate your ideas to the electorate. Make your case to the people. Utilize available technology to tell your story.
In fact, go right where the average Ghanaian is going. Meet them with your simple and clear message. Remember that they do not have the time for all the hazy details—which must be readily available for those interested. But tell the people in clear terms what you really stand for, and what you can do for them. That is precisely what matters to them: Can this man change my situation? Can he keep the country safe? Questions of such nature are what people want clear and credible responses to.
Yes, go ahead and let them know how sorry you are for the electricity issue, and show them how they will never experience anything like this, ever. Tell them how you will create jobs and reduce youth unemployment in particular. Make it clear how you plan to reduce the cost of living; your strategy to improve healthcare; raise the standard of sanitation; and facilitate a more educated Ghana. Don't curse this government; tell the people exactly what you—Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo—will do when the baton is handed to you.
Let them know that you will not abandon all the projects that this government has started. Don't waste time demonising this government (remember they have done some things right); so give credit where credit is due, but remember to show how you will improve on what they have done. Saying they have failed here and there is not the route you should travel; focus on where you will take the country. Please cut back on insults. It alienates you.
You Will be President
I stated five things above, and perhaps, I could state even more, but do these five, and you will hit a home run.
If you are willing to listen to the advice I have given you, 2016 will be a walk in the park for you. After all, there are many Ghanaians who have voted for you in the past; all you need is to win a few more votes. Do what I have said, and you will be thanking me after the 2016 elections. Ignore my advice, and you may very well lose again.
In 2016, it will be eight years of NDC being in power, and looking at the trend so far, in our fledgling democracy, NDC are surviving on a prayer. Your willingness to do what I am telling you will be the coup de grâce.
I don't mean to sound partisan, I am not; but like the average Ghanaian, and as you will read from www.angelinakmorrison.wordpress.com, I am thinking and believing that Africa will develop. A president, who follows the advice above, will surely be the right leader to start a revolution of the fortunes of the continent.
Mahama will not follow my advice because he is already in government. You are the one striving for power. And since you are a Christian, I may throw in a few Bible verses for your immediate attention and onward instruction. You remember the Joash and Elisha story from 2 Kings 13:14-19. Do this, and even more; not less, and it shall be well with you. Miss out some of my steps above, and you may kiss goodbye to the presidency.
This is a great opportunity we have for a change in government. Mahama is having a tough time, and we Ghanaians want change, but we want a safe change. Remember, we will not vote for you simply because you belong to NPP. You must merit it.
In some ways, those who say that you cannot be president are right. It is because of the underlying issues, some of which I have highlighted above. Nevertheless, if you are willing to follow my advice, like the wise woman from Tekoah followed Joab's advice (2 Samuel 14) leading to the return of Absalom; soon you will be a desirable candidate. Trust me, Ghanaians will start pining for their glory days post-2016 elections. Yes, there will be no need for an election petition. No intricate vote rigging will keep you out of power; for the people will hail you as they did Jesus when he entered Jerusalem. No "chief priests" and "scribes" will be able to subvert or annul the overwhelming will of the people.
Remember, Nana, "Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment" (Job 32:9). However, I am confident you will do well to understand my message.
You can find me in the smallest hut in Adomland.
Your humble servant,
Angelina K. Morrison
Angelina K. Morrison is interested in national development, true religion, and self-improvement. She enjoys thinking, and writes stories only when the muse grips her. Her first short story for public consumption is available for free at Amazon on 28th February & 1st March 2015. Strangely titled Gravellatina, it is part of a breathtaking five-part gripping series. You can email her at [email protected], or find her at www.angelinakmorrison.wordpress.com or Facebook page.
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