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01.04.2015 Feature Article

Letter To Xexemuxe - Like Mahama Like Obama, Like John Like Jonathan!

Letter To Xexemuxe - Like Mahama Like Obama, Like John Like Jonathan!
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Dear Xexe,

If "superstition" were human and she had a nationality, she would have been Ghanaian Xexe.

Ghanaians are so superstitious, drawing supernatural lines between events comes so naturally to the ordinary, average and even the sophisticated Ghanaian it makes even a simple task like breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide look Herculean. Xexe, in Ghana, for instance, no death is a natural death. Even when a 125 year old man dies, someone will say "they have killed him"; whoever they are, only God knows.

Just a few years back Xexe, we were in this country when Barack Obama won the US elections while we were waiting to hold ours. USA is a federation of 52 states like Nigeria is a federation of 36 states. It has two Parliamentary Chambers like Nigeria; it runs a typical presidential system of government. It was and still is not anything like Ghana. And yet, for whatever intent and purpose, we drew lines between the results of the USA elections and what ours should also be.

An honorable NDC MP admitted in a comment on Facebook just recently that the NDC did draw a line between the youthfulness of Obama and Mahama. So at least that is one admission of a line drawn by the NDC, which had nothing to do with political and realistic reasoning as to what should determine electoral victory in Ghana. But it was good for NDC then so they were happy to draw those lines.

Xexe, many more lines were drawn beyond the youthfulness of Obama and Mahama. Even the rhyming of their last names was an issue. In fact that even took the centre stage, and Mahama as in Obama became a by word in Ghana. And even beyond that we nick named John Mahama Ghana's and indeed Africa's Obama.

We drew another line between the names of the political parties Obama and Mahama represented. Democrats and National DEMOCRATIC Congress. And we even mentioned some ideology issues and previous states visits by former US presidents to Ghana. Republican George Bush visited during an NPP government administration and Democrat Bill Clinton visited an NDC government.

That was not all Xexe; lines were also drawn between the opposition here and opposition in the USA. The NPP has same party colors as the Republicans and they also have same party symbols; the elephant. Those were low hanging fruits for the superstitious minds then, particularly those who felt the fate of Obama and Mahama were tied, so once Obama won in the federation called the USA, Mahama must also win in the non-federal Republic of Ghana.

Xexe, as small as our country is we like to rub shoulders with federations even in our superstition. When it suited the NDC, it did not matter to them the USA was a federation of 52 states. But now even many more obvious similarities between Ghana's John Mahama and outgone Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan are being drawn and the NDC has all of a sudden turned defensive. NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketiah called it superstition and lotto.

Coin flipping is a lottery, so I actually agree with Johnson Asiedu Nketiah when he said the superstitious lines being drawn between the fate of John and Jonathan is just lotto. Today the coins have flipped and the glaring similarities don't favor John Mahama so we are being reminded that it is superstition and it is lotto. Has it not always been superstition and lotto - even in the case of "like Mahama like Obama"? Why does it all of a sudden matter that it is superstitious and lotto?

Xexe, let's check the similarities between what has just happened in Nigeria and how it relates to Ghana.

1. Jonathan is 58, John will be 58 next year, which is our election year.

2. Buhari is 72, Nana Addo of NPP will be 72 next year, which is the election year

3. Jonathan succeeded a late president and went on to win for his first term, John also succeeded a late president and went on to win for his first term.

4. PDP uses the umbrella as a party symbol, and NDC also uses the umbrella as a party symbol. Some even draw a line between the letter 'D' in the middle of their party names.

5. Jonathan's wife made public speeches which became an issue, and John's wife also suffered a similar fate even though on a much smaller scale.

6. Dumsor (power crisis) got worse in Nigeria under Jonathan and so did it get worse in Ghana under John.

Xexe, some are even drawing a line between legendary corruption under Jonathan and under John, but as for corruption it is massive under almost every African leader so it is not quite unique in this case.

In spite of all these similarities, we are supposed to believe that this time round it does not matter, but in the case of "like Obama like Mahama" it mattered and we did everything we could to draw people's minds to those superstitious lines ahead of the 2012 elections in Ghana.

Well, the NDC General Secretary had his say, but so did the NPP Communications Director, Nana Akomea. He thought the NDC is not being consistent and that when the Obama thing suited them they played it up but they are trying very hard to ignore the similarities here. He thinks if Jonathan had won, NDC spokespersons would have been out there playing up the similarities in age, party symbols and all that.

Indeed, Political Scientist Professor Amoako Baah noted that polls ahead of the Nigerian elections showed Buhari was going to win so he was not surprised. He also stated that Buhari's victory has flawed the argument about Nana Akuffo Addo's age, so he will not be surprised if the wind of change in Nigeria right now blows to Ghana, like in the USA where Obama actually represented change but the NDC deliberately failed to acknowledge that difference because it did not favor them.

But Xexe, thinking a bit more realistically, like all other elections in this country, victory does not come to any party on a silver platter, no matter how hard you try to leave it to fate rather than hard work. I do not subscribe to superstition but I am a keen observer of events so I just can't avoid what made the rounds then, with respect to "like Obama like Mahama", and what is currently making the rounds in terms of "like John like Jonathan". Over to you Xexe.

Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona
Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona, © 2015

The author has 21 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: SamuelDowuona

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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