Once upon a time, I nearly grounded a Press Conference at the now defunct Pan-African Hotel in Nima. It was a Press Conference organized by a group that labeled itself as Sapta. The group demanded an apology from Mr. Sam Pee Yalley, a leading member of the then ruling National Democratic Congress.
In rubbishing the call by the then opposition New Patriotic Party that the President, Professor Mills should move into the newly-established Flagstaff House, he said, “I do not think the Jubilee House or whatever they call it should be any place that the President should live. There is even an Embassy (French) behind it; Jesus Christ…TV3 is at the corner. Nima is at the place there.”
The group considered the statement as derogatory and puts Nima in a bad shape. They said he should retract it and also apologize. And that the President should whip his boys into line.
I was at the Press Conference as a concerned young community-activist. And any community-activist worth his salt will not miss such a programme.
However, things went awry when I rose up to ask a question. The group was not happy with my statement that there were other members of the NPP that made more derogatory statements against Nima and Muslims at large and it led to a hullabaloo because I was prepared to argue my case out. The question that came out that day was “which media house was I from?” And I kept on responding that “I am a medium”. One does not have to be with a media house to disseminate information especially in an age where smart phones and social media have expanded our universe. Daniel Coleman, the author of the book Emotional Intelligence said through Social Media, “We can connect with others or collect information easier and faster than ever.”
I remember vividly, a man who claimed to be a chief said that they “would sit on me and I will never rise up in life.” He meant to scare me with spirituality. I laughed at such an empty show of bravado. If you have powers to stifle someone’s progress, you should have one to project yours. One just had to see the man to fathom his pathetic state of living.
Why do I recount this story that I wish not to remember? I do so to make us appreciate how Nima was viewed then. And how gracious we should be now that those wrong and erroneous perceptions people held about Nima is gradually eroding with the realization that Nima is one of the best if not the best places to be in the world.
If in the past, people thought the President of the land should not be closer to Nima and today we wake up to have the President of Ghana residing in Nima, then truly speaking, we must trumpet this beyond the atmospheric heights of the world. We must blow this beyond the noisiest Vuvuzela of the 2010 World cup and make merry.
On 7th December, 2016, Ghana went to the polls to choose between continuity or change in government. The results that came after showed that Ghanaians were profoundly disinterested in the government in power. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party won the incumbent John Dramani Mahama and his National Democratic Congress with what pundits described us ‘beyond riggable margin.’
It is interesting to note that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo began the efforts of becoming the President of Ghana since 1998. Twice he run against former President Kufour for the flagbearership of the NPP and lost.
In the year 2007, he run against sixteen other flagbearer-hopefuls and won the slot to lead the New Patriotic Party into the elections. Eventually he lost to Professor John Evans Atta Mills of blessed memory.
Ever since he lost that contest, he became a marked object for constant vilification and vituperative attacks from his opponents. Some described him as divisive, a man with a repugnant character and very arrogant. A senior journalist of the land is reported to have told an expatriate that Nana Addo could only be seen in the morning after one battled with a cloud of herb smoke covering him. He meant to say the man smoked the herb incessantly. All these were calculated statements meant to tarnish and batter the image of the man. These lies were oft-repeated till some became an ‘established truth’. After all “a stupendous lie said with zeal will overtime gain credibility.” But all these remain what they are, LIES.
This got compounded when he felt the NDC rigged the 2012 election and therefore resorted to the courts in a landmark case that became known as Election Petition. For eight months, lawyers of both parties together with EC argued their cases out in a highly-tensed style and fashion that was televised to the world. Eventually, the court upheld the decision that he lost that election.
The attacks resumed. The fake prophesies by some mealy -mouthed self-acclaimed ‘men of wisdom’ that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo can and will NEVER be president seemed to be the obvious and established truth.
He decided to contest the 2016 elections again. In the run-up to the elections, his residence was under constant attacks. One Presidential hopeful, Hassan Ayariga said that Nana Addo, as grown as he is, is still living in his father’s house (Nima residence). The opposition referred to the place as “Nima Flagstaff House” in a derogatory style and fashion just to put it in the public’s mind that he will forever remain in his Nima residence forever adrift in his ‘foolish’ dream of becoming a president one day.
In the book, Arrow of God, Africa’s greatest writer, Chinua Achebe who is known for the complex language of proverbs with which he spices his writings stated rather interestingly that “Unless the penis dies young, it shall surely eat bearded meat.”
The penis in this case is Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo’s unrelenting and unconquerable will to come back after each defeat. He never let his ambition die young. Eventually, it ate the bearded meat of becoming the President.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo won the 2016 elections in a grand style by making President John Dramani Mahama become the first-ever one-term president, the first sitting president to perform so abysmally at the polls and also the first incumbent President cum candidate to lead his party into opposition in the fourth republican dispensation we find ourselves in.
The point must be made that few days before the elections; a large crowd of NDC supporters used the route near the house of Nana Addo during one of their campaign in a form of a keep-fit session. The security men at the house claimed stones and bottles were hurled into the house. It led to a serious altercation with gunshots all-over the area. After that incident, a deputy secretary of the National Democratic Congress described Nana Addo as “nobody” in this country. Therefore his house should not be treated as important.
As a Nima boy, I became very proud the day after Nana Addo was declared winner of the elections. The hitherto quiet atmosphere around his house immediately became a scene of attraction. It was as if the whole world had its eye there. The heavy presence of the police, the cordoned-off area, the beautiful fleet of cars entering house really pointed to the fact that things have changed and conditions have become better. To reduce it to bare bones, the Nima Flagstaff House has indeed come to pass. I felt really proud as a Nima boy.
Few days ago, President Nana Addo Dankwa-Akufo Addo released the list of appointees at the Presidency. In a televised address, he let all and sundry know those who will help him in his office. The most significant thing to this space is that it was televised live from Nima. Live from the residence that was under constant attacks for several years.
His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa’s story is the Nima story. The Nima story of resilience. The Nima story of understanding when rejected yet coming back to be overwhelmingly accepted. The Nima story of courage in the face of extreme adversity. The Nima story of holding on even when your own inner circle move against you. The story of mental strength, fortitude and bravery. The Nima story that shows that only the omnipotent God determines our future. Not Asuma Banda or Nii Lante Vanderpuye or Nyaho Tamakloe. The story of intelligence and love for others.
His story perfectly personifies the statement of Orison Swett Marden that “there can be no failure to a man who has not lost his courage, his character, his self-respect, or his self-confidence. He is still a King.”
Nana Addo’s story aptly captures the statement that “there is no failure for the man who realizes his power, who never knows when he is beaten; there is no failure for the determined endeavor, the conquerable will. There is no failure for the man who gets up every time he falls, who rebounds like a rubber ball, who persists when everyone else gives up, who pushes on when everyone else turns back.”
Let it be told one day, that I lived in the time of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Walking Law from Nima. Let it be told that I lived in the time of William, the Nima boy who became a President. Let it be told that I lived at the time of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the man who brought the ‘Flagstaff House’ to Nima.
NB: The Writer is a proud Nima boy