President John Evans Atta Mills is nearer his dream of being re-elected by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to fly the flag of the umbrella organization into the 2012 Presidential elections.
Unfortunately for his challenger, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) form a large chunk of the NDC Electoral College. They are also the men and women with the cash to grease the palms of the party executives and other members of the Electoral College.
Meeting with 85 of them under the guise of a review meeting of the MMDCEs, barely three weeks to the Sunyani congress, is one huge advantage incumbency has bestowed on the sitting President. It was only natural that the President put all of them in the right frame of mind to perform their expected duty by the time the party big shots converge on the Brong Ahafo Regional capital.
For me, as a political commentator, it is the expected role of the MMDCEs in the Electoral College, more than their actual performance on the ground that accounted for the praises lavished on them by the President at Koforidua, the other day. It should not take any Ghanaian with genius to come to the conclusion that these are men and women who have failed in their basic assignments.
Chief Executives who cannot even move rubbish from the city and town centres, cannot, in all fairness, be said to have performed admirably. These are men and women who have been reprimanded by their sector Minister for their inability to rid their various localities of rubbish. Some of them have been at the receiving end of party faithful in their various localities.
It is unfortunate, but the entire country is suffering from the offshoots of the NDC congress. So much national efforts are going into the NDC contest that this poor nation is the loser. When the President met his representatives in the various localities on Wednesday, why could he not come hard on any of them? The answer is simple.
With barely a month to the poll that is so crucial to his political fortunes, John Evans Atta Mills would not want to rock the boat. That is why every one of them has done so marvelously well in the election-clouded spectacles of the President.
Apparently, the President is so intoxicated with events in Sunyani that he is beginning to have an image of all Ghanaians, who have nothing to do with the election drama, as people who could not be trusted to make an informed judgement on the performances of his men and women in the local government areas.
On Wednesday, I listened to Joy News and heard the President of the Republic loud and clear. In the opinion of the Number One Gentleman of the land, those of us who have not seen the momentous transformation of the country, since he stumbled his way to power at the Independence Square in Accra on January 7, 2009, have decided not to see, which reminds me of an incident leading to the Presidential and Legislative elections of the year 2000.
In those days, when Mr. Peter Nanfuri, now Paramount Chief of Jirapa, was Inspector-General of Police, an announcement went forth that all billboards of political connotations along the main streets in Accra should be removed. It came to pass that many such boards advertising the NDC and its flagbearer Prof. Atta Mills still decorated the streets after the order had long passed.
The media approached the IGP, and asked him whether he had seen the many billboards still standing in the name of the then ruling party?
Mr. Nanfuri, not in a position to rock the boat, answered that he was unable to see the billboards because he usually reported for work very early, long before the break of day, and left when it was already dark.
From that moment, The Chronicle, under the editorship of yours faithfully, gave him a befitting name – Namfuri, the Batman. It is only the bat that flies without knowing what happens around it.
In other words, the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Prof. John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills, is telling critics of his regime that all of us who are not part of his sycophantic, hero-worshipping pliant are ‘Batmen’. We ply the routes of Ghana without seeing our way clear.
I take this opportunity to assure the President of the land that I would want to be a ‘Batman’ than to be led by my stomach. I would also like the President to understand that commissioning toilets and dining halls, which are normally handled at the local level, does not constitute the entire development agenda.
I am shocked to the marrow to learn that two and a half years into the Professor’s Presidency, the state of Ghana has not found it fit to construct the Achimota-Ofankor and the Nsawam-Apedwa stretches of the Accra-Kumasi Highway, the most important road network in this country.
Apart from linking Accra to the second largest city, the highway is the route to the north, and the main link between Ghana and its northern neighbours.
It is the route through which most of the nation’s economic activity passes.
The other day, when Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, Minister of Finance, was in Parliament to answer questions on the number of classrooms constructed, we were told that the government had been able to fund a only a hundred and something schools. The figure is nowhere near the 1,000 classrooms that we have been told at every opportunity that this administration has constructed within the two and half years that Prof Mills has been at the Castle to replace schools under trees.
I am sorry, but I am beginning to nurse the feeling that this administration believes in tickling itself and laughing. When the President was a hundred days old in office, President Atta Mills held a press conference in Accra, at which he set his own examination questions, marked them, and awarded himself 80 percent pass mark. In any tertiary institution, 80 percent constitutes first class.
In other words, the President awarded himself first class without any tutors or external examiners looking at his scripts. The blunt truth is that as Lucky Mensah sang in his Nkratow, the going is pretty tough.
I am inclined to believe that when Okudzeto-Ablakwa derided Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for merely repeating what a reputable American research company established about how Ghanaians were growing poorer under the watch of this President, the Professor goaded him on.
Truth, they say, is like a cork, it cannot be held under water for long.
If Prof. Atta Mills believes his men and women at the local level are performing, that is his own cup of tea. One thing, I know, is that the Sunyani congress would soon be here with us. Even if he survives the challenge from the First Lady, that would not mean that Ghanaians have accepted the haphazard manner of distributing state largesse.
After a number of sod-cutting ceremonies around the country, obviously in preparation for the contest with the former First Lady, the President seemed to be living under the impression that all is well with him and the Presidency, especially, when he has the likes of Koku Anyidoho, Okudzeto-Ablakwa and Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo drumming into his ears about how well he has done.
When the Western Region, for instance, asked for its fair share of resources, one would have thought that the President would tell the chiefs and people something concrete. I am sorry, but it looks like development projects are being shared according to the President’s perception of where the votes are coming from.
When the link between the Volta Region and the Northern Region is going to cost $1.8 billion of oil money pumped from the Western Region, why should the hen that lays the golden egg be denied its fair share of the oil booty?
It is one big question that the Professor would have to deal with at the appropriate time. At the moment, it is only appropriate to remind him about the proverbial king who appeared in public without clothes.
Source: Ebo Quansah/The Chronicle
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