Governance is indeed a heavy axe to carry. The administration of President, John Dramani Mahama, was in the news in the last two weeks for the wrong reasons about the budget presented to cabinet by the Youth and Sports Ministry, towards our Black Stars preparation to the soccer mundial in Brazil.
The sector Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, was accused by various media outlets and personnel about his outfit’s outrageous budget. The budget came at a time a lot of Ghanaians feel the economy is facing so many challenges, water and electricity crisis are at its high in recent years.
The Minister was so incense and intolerant to the extent that he also decided to say the unthinkable on air that he will resign from politics in 2017. Mr. Minister, I think you went overboard; you spoke like a child, without the benefit of intellect, you seriously need to apologise to the good people of this country.
If it is that everybody resigns or stops politics just because dirt is thrown to their person, I don’t think President Mahama; will be President for you to serve in his Government. What hurt me is that you are not new in this business, as a politician you should have thick skin and learn to laugh over some things especially when you are innocent of the allegations. You only get mad as the Minister did, when you are guilty as charged.
Now the dust has settled and the 24 Million Dollars budget proposed by the Sports Ministry was shot down by Cabinet, we are now aware that only GH¢25M was approved.
Government has indicated that the appearance fees that was paid to the Black Stars players, when they appeared in the 2006 World Cup in Germany and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, has not been approved.
Again, Government has also said in the release that the winning bonus increment that the players were demanding is not going to be granted, it stated further that they are going to be paid the same amount they received in 2010.
Good news to Ghanaians who were making noise that the amount the players were asking for is too much, but to the players it is a disappointment. They expected more not less.
I started this article, with a caveat that leadership is a heavy axe to bear. Now this is the reason why I said that. God forbid, should the Black Stars fail to progress beyond the first round, Ghanaians who love soccer so much will be the same people, who will turn round to blame Government for not motivating the players enough, in order for them to give off their best.
Government was caught in between a rock and a hard place, should they heed to the demands of the players or that of the general public. Like the voice of the people is the voice of God, Government have decided that the tax payers whose monies will be used to pay the players, must have the final say and they did.
But seriously, what was going through the head of our players, when they demanded a 25 per cent increment in their bonuses. Are they not aware of the current economic situation that we all have to contend with? Although they ply their trade outside this country, this is where they will eventually settle when they hung their boots. Beside they have businesses and relatives here who will tell them about the economic situation we have here today. After all as it is said, no matter how high a bird flies when it dies in the air it will definitely fall to the ground, so no matter how far away our players are playing, they will come home at the end of their careers.
A call to serve ones nation is a call to national duty, it is a privilege to be called upon to wear ones national colors, our players must stop being selfish and think about the country for once.
But you see, why can you blame the players, when they see our politicians who have also been elected to serve the people and are also not showing any level of patriotism, whilst they ask us to tighten our belts, they are widening theirs. What is good for the goose is equally good for the gander.
As a country, we have lost our sense of patriotism, the glory and the comfort of now, has taken over our daily life and nobody cares about tomorrow and posterity.
Nobody wants to sacrifice, that word has become alien to us.
Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, Civil and Public Servants etc, all want their pound of flesh and their share of the national cake that is getting smaller and smaller with each passing year. Of course the Black Star players are no different, even though some of them are earning outrageous and ridiculous amounts in their respective Clubs every week, but like Oliver Twist they want more.
Let us all hope that after all the noise about the amount they are demanding, they don’t go to Brazil and let us down. Motivation is important in getting people to go the extra mile. Once it is not there, you create a situation of ‘you pretend to pay me and I also pretend to work’. It is my candid opinion that the President, John Dramani Mahama, must meet the playing body and explain to them why his Government had to take the measures it took.
Communication is the key to unlocking ignorance and giving assurance and preparing peoples mind to accept outcomes. The Ministry of Sports, through its outgoing 2017 politician, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, must endeavour to explain to Ghanaians why the amount presented to cabinet was scaled down, so that should things go wrong, we won’t all rise up against the Government for cutting down the Black Stars budget.
Logically, after the performance at our first appearance in Germany in 2006, followed by South Africa in 2010, Ghanaians are expecting nothing short of a Semi-Final. Should the lack of adequate funds have any influence for which reason, we are unable to go far, Ghanaians must be prepared for any outcome.