“He is a running mate in whom I am well pleased,” was just about all Prof. John Mills, presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress [NDC] on 6th May, 2008said to an inquiring press at KAMA conference centre at a very brief ceremony to outdoor then Member of Parliament [MP] for Bole/Bamboi Constituency, Hon John Mahama, as running mate ahead of the 2008 elections.
Hours later, expression of anger characterized a section of the media against the selection but one thing that appeared not to have occurred to many was that the selection of John DramaniMahama as a running mate hadnot been a decision out of anything ordinary but destiny.
According to Ben Okri“We plan our lives according to a dream that came to us in our childhood, and we find that life alters our plans. And yet, at the end, from a rare height, we also see that our dream was our fate. It’s just that providence had other ideas as to how we would get there. Destiny plans a different route, or turns the dream around, as if it were a riddle, and fulfills the dream in ways we couldn’t have expected.”
The quote above as captured in his Memoir, “My First Coup D’ Etat,” seemed to explain why HonJohn Mahama would have to give in to requests, pleas and some amount of pressure to partner Prof John Mills and in the process become the second gentleman of the land at the expense of living the educational dreams of his mild-mannered father, [late] Hon Emmanuel AdamaMahama.
Early signs and headmistress’ observation
Only a matter of timefor destiny to fully manifest as the early signs and potentials long ago got captured in the observations of the headmistress of the nursery he attended at Accra Ringway Estate.
“I was an observant child with an active imagination and an unbounded curiosity. This must have placed me directly in the path of my teacher’s attention, because one afternoon when my father came to fetch me, the headmistress of the school asked to speak with him.
Since it was not a meeting for disciplinary purpose, I walked into the headmistress’ office with my father, unafraid. Honorable Mahama, she said, motioning to the two seats positioned in front of her desk. My father sat down and I followed his lead.
My feet did not reach the floor, so I slid myself to the very edge of the seat until I could tap my toes without lifting my heels. This your little boy Dramani, headmistress continued, calling me by what has now so many decades later evolved into my middle name. I think he has the potential to make you really proud,” John Mahama humbly recounted in his book.
“An effective dog always has its potentials seen during infancy,” says a Ewe adage and that aptly described or, and qualified the observation of the headmistress during the encounter with the father.
Recollections of survival of fatal gunshot wounds and how in the absence of available public transport he had to perch on top of maize bags of fully loaded Ministry of Food and Agriculture cargo truck traveling from Tamale to Accra for an interview to gain admission into University of Ghana as well as joining his siblings during vacations towork hard in his father’s farm variously reinforceissues of destiny and his nature.
Taking up the challenge, and with deliberate cynicism
Today, he is the president of the land. Took him and a solid campaign team headed by Hon Elvis AfriyieAnkrah and Dr Edward OmaneBoamah a record time of about three months effective campaign to win the 2012 Elections. The 2012 victory which largely left opposition members in shock is at the back of the work of PresidentJohn Mills’ led team which President Mahamaalways acknowledges.
In his hands as fifty-six  year old todaythat Almighty God has placed our country with her attendant problems including harsh effect of as a Middle Income Country.
Benefits such as repayment periods and interest rateson loans have all been reviewedby the Development Partners just aspledges in budgetary support or grantsthat all previous Governments enjoyed have been highly affected. As we speakabout $1.3 billion in pledges of budgetary support is being denied Government.
Age and hypertension most often have co- relation. I have a funny feeling we would probably have had terrible news on our hands now were the country handed to someone else to manage even with the few challenges enumerated above. Beyond theabove challenges, commodity prices of the country’s main natural resources – Cocoa and Gold plummeted and not until recently that Cocoa begun some stability.
Incredibly, in the midst of all these challenges, President Mahamahas never attempted disposing any State Asset with the proceeds directed at budgetary support [payment of workers’ salaries] and to fight inflation as senior economist, Kwame Pianim said about the sale of Ghana Telecom [GT] in 2008. Salaries payment are a constant, development projects are steadily progressing beyond imagination, having electoral defeat staring opposition members in the face.
Biblical Moses, I am not sure would ever envy President John Mahama, infact I believe when Moses today has another opportunity but this time to choose between Ghana and Israelites, he will opt to lead the Israelites. A country where the leader in this case as a bus driver; driving all alone with one hand and with a jug of coffee in the other to keep himself awakebut all the plots of some trouble makers onboard is to knock off the jug fromhis hand, un-thoughtful or deliberately caring less of the consequences.Moses never had deliberate cynics!
President Mahamaat the State of the Nation Address [SoNA] cautioned against cynicism, the practice was rather at a dizzying height on radio soon after the advice. Sadly, it wasn’t party foot soldiers of my kind who led the attack but Members of Parliament [MPs] whom President addressed directly.
Very elderly Hon Simon OseiMensah, MP for Bosomtwi Constituency in Ashanti Region and Hon Ben Ayeh, MP for Denkyira Constituency were those behind it. Well, that is the beauty of democracy.
But in-between the real challenges facing us as a country, the cynicism, deliberate lies and the picture of doom and gloom among other things that the opposition and some Civil Society groups engage in, I always in my mind’s eye see His Excellency drawing inspiration from the words of Nelson Mandela that “there is no easy walk to freedom anywhere and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountain top of desires.”
I am quite sure that by the end of President John Mahama’s tenure in the year 2021, the nation will reach the mountain top of desiresor in a worse case,will chalk exceedingly appreciable successes for a successor to simply finish off.
President John Mahama is a goal getter, overcomer of challenges and total confidence I have in his competencies. He understands every issue and acts or speaks to them flawlessly to the amazement of many; unless you are less observant and monitorialof some of these developments.
Some notable interventions
Immediately he became Vice President, one major issue of headache that he confrontedand resolved was the organization of Ghanaians embarking on pilgrimage to Mecca. Hitherto 2009 Hajj, issues of insanitary conditions, flight disappointments, commotion and sometimes death were usual occurrences in Hajj organization under a previous VEEP.
The 2009 Hajj organization was hitch free to the surprise of all, attracting a complementary remark such as “I could not believe a non Moslem would be able to better organize this event than a Moslem,” from a well-respected Moslem, AlhajiAsoma Banda. Hajj organization keeps improving year on year with his oversight role.
An anonymous quote that “Understanding a problem is half the solution,” obviouslyis an undeniable strength of His Excellency President John Mahama.
The other major task; under his watch as Chairman ofthe Police Council, he championed massive transformation in the Police Service. Remuneration, logistics including countless utility vehicles, combat equipment, infrastructure, and introduction of a new unit [Marine Police] are just a few of the investments.It emerged that His Excellency as an MP when driving from Accra to his home and Constituency would most often on his way pull up by Police checkpoints spending quality time with the officers finding out about their needs, no wonder the level of transformation today.
I am told and I am still checking that His Excellency as VEEP was always concerned about the morning and evening vehicular traffic at Tetteh Quashie interchange and was always consulting engineers about alternative routes and out of it emerged the Polo Grounds by pass linkingSpintex road.
I recalled HonsKwamena Bartels and Dr Richard Anane accusing Hons E.T Mensah and late Edward Salia of inflating the project cost of Tetteh Quashie interchange and that the NPP was reviewing it only to be bequeathed with what could at best pass as a “foot bridge” at West Africa’s biggest round-about and with worsening traffic. It is the NDC Govt today that is putting up a solar powered partly electronic pedestrian crossing around the interchange. The design and construction of the Tetteh Quashie, AkoAdjei and Kwame Nkrumah interchanges reflect the respective development thinking of the NPP and NDC.
But for the change of power today,the Agricultural Development Bank [ADB] that NPP virtually soldunder scurrilous claims of non-performance has an appropriate leader in Mr Stephen Kpordzih. The bank since the inception of MrKpordzih’s oversight has been on an expansion drive with Volta Region alonein a record time seeing five  extra branches located at Nkwanta, Kpeve, Kpando, Ho and Sogakope bringing the total number of branches in the region to eight . The bank has rebranded and currently has an about complete grade A’ high rise office complexsandwiched between the National Theatre and Cedi House. MrKpordzih was a solid discovery of His Excellency President John Mahama.
At the very recent West Africa Monetary Zone [WAMZ] Meeting in Niger, President MahamadouIssoufou emphatically stated that President Mahama has reactivated enthusiasm in ECOWAS. Not to forget the leadership of ECOWAS under President Mahamain the road map providedfor Burkina Faso’s return to democracy.
New path and confronting the energy challenge
Reflected in the words of Ralf Waldo Emerson“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,” I see President John Mahamainnovatively offering opportunities to the youths, particularly the hard working ones. A lot of them are in his Government. Among others, an intervention such as Youth Entrepreneurial Support [YES] is introduced for young business enthusiasts. He tries to motivate others in their private fields of endeavor in order to achieve success.
Young Cocoa farmer, Samuel Torbi and his friends and female ICT enthusiast, Farida Bedweiwere celebrated by the President at the SoNA. With commitment to the course,the President preceded the celebration with a visit to the farms of Samuel and friends. That aside, the 2014SoNA initiated theaggressive promotion and Patronage of Made in Ghana Goods out of which emerged young entrepreneur, TonyiSenayah of Horseman Shoes and others. President John Mahama continued the advocacy of the patronage of Made in Ghana Goods with numerous publications.
These are just a few of the remarkable interventions he sought in the betterment not only of our country but abroad and he has never hidden his admiration for President John Mills for granting him the opportunity to work.
Short memory perhaps is to blame that so soon some will begin to tag him a failure. He is not and the evidence is available for all to see but beyond the abounding evidence he has before our eyestaken up probably the biggest challenge of the country – to solve the energy crisis.
“We have been here before. In 1983, 1998, 2006/7 we suffered a similar occurrence. In the past what we had done has been to manage the situation. I do not intend to manage the situation as has been done in the past. I intend to fix it! I owe it to the Ghanaian people, I, John DramaniMahama will fix this energy challenge,” The President emphatically stated on Thursday in Parliament.
I am personally elated about two key things; first one is an opportunity for His Excellency to again demonstrate he is a goal getter and an achiever. Secondly, the battle line for 2016 Elections appears drawn and energy will be a key issue. Whereas the main opposition party lazy about, unable to organize town hall meetings and to proffer workable alternatives except“prayers” that no improvement is seen in the current situation for political advantage, His Excellency and the Power Minister, DrKwabenaDonkor with the support of all otherswillwork assiduously to achieve the set target.Inshah Allah!
IEA and Survey
The Institute of Economic Affairs [IEA] said it carried out a research and ended up tagging the Office of the President as the second most corrupt outfit in the survey. The Institute’s explanation of the survey modalities sounds more thannebulous and when challenged to publish the modalities for all to see, we are told to pass by the Institute’s office to see it. That is highly suspicious. If IEA believes the survey isn’t about “garbage in garbage out” or “manufactured data”they should publish everything.I doubt if they will because their biases against NDC is not too hidden. The Institute blatantly denied a GNA news story sourced to its website on a report of incumbency abuse of the NPP and Nana Addo. The Institute again days ahead of the 2008 general Elections dissociated itself from a press release that appear damaging to the NPP.
All that aside, something is, however worthy of note about the conduct of the Institute and needs reconciliation with the current survey. A former staff of the Institute amidst regret today of being taught to pay bribesamong other things wrote.
“In June 1998 I resigned my position at the IEA. Although the institute stood for lofty national ideals and principles, these were not matched with best institutional practices, as I discovered to my chagrin. I had great difficulty reconciling myself with the management’s underhanded dealings. I could not fit into that mode.” Senior Special Advisor to the UN mission in Liberia, DrBaffourAgyemangDuah wrote years after resigning from the Institute.
Does this not depict the proverbial “Anomakokonikoni” tendency?
NPP leaders intomudslinging
President John Mahama having his life and every activity undergirdedby the principle of DwightD. Eisenhower that:“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army or in an office”makes KwadwoOwusuAfriyie aka Sir John and many others in the NPP restless. They cannot find anythingincriminating against President Mahama and hence resorting to mudslinging.
Sir John for instance in a Kumasi demonstration called President John Mahama a thief and I cringed. That cannot be true and infact should not have come out of the mouth of any NPP person let alone Sir John. Anybody at all can check, in the entire history of President John Mahama particularly during the periods of political office;he has no cobweb to deal with, never been removed or sacked but ratherencountering meteoric rise – Deputy Minister, Member of Parliament, Minister, Vice President and President. That is the work of destiny coupled with intelligence, hard work and integrity.
I am yet to see a single person in the NPP today equaling that record of President John Mahama. Sir John himself gota sack from Ghana National Petroleum Company [GNPC] under questionable circumstances; some were removed from office as Attorney General and Minister of Justice because of incompetency. Some with State resources established Presidential Special Initiatives [PSIs] including a starch factory and over saw their collapse. Others are in the hurly burly of Ghanaian politics well over four  decades now without success trying to be president.
I sometimes struggle to comprehend that persons with huge cotton wools in their anuses will attempt skipping a blaze.
To President John DramaniMahama, all I have is contained in Exodus 14:13-14