Enjoying the adventure of life together.: To Nana: On his election as President of the Republic of Ghana

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

To Nana: On his election as President of the Republic of Ghana

Dear President Elect Akufo-Addo,
I didn't like you. I never did, and I still have mixed feelings about you. Please allow me to clarify. As the self appointed President for a day of Ghana, I disliked you because of some things you'd said in public that were not things to be said even in private.I didn't like you because through out the time I knew of you, it seemed to me you wanted to be president like it was a family inheritance of sorts. You reeked of arrogance and an inability to connect with the struggles of the common Ghanaian, and so your attempts to appear as someone who could just made you seem hypocritical to me. I didn't see how you, who come from the lineage of the man who reportedly used real golden spoons in his wedding reception, could understand and know the struggles that my mom, who had to give up her food and 'fast' for days sometimes just so we could eat, was facing.  Whenever I saw your 2016 campaign team finally going into the rural areas and speaking with members of the electorate that you'd ignored in previous elections, I'd think to myself that you were being falsely humble just to get the votes you needed to get into power. It made me happy that you seemed to have realized that the ordinary citizen of Ghana is who would vote for you, but I was still skeptical about you.

Speaking of my mom, I didn't like you because she didn't like you. She said there was no way you could ever be president and the NPP needed to find a more likable candidate. And when you have a mom as smart and wise as mine is, you tend to just agree with her and adopt her stance.
If you're still reading this by now, I promise I didn't write this letter to you just to explain why I didn't like you. I'm writing this so you know this: you need to prove us wrong. You have already started off well, winning this election in such grand fashion. I've never been a fan of either the NDC or NPP, but I was hoping there would be a change and there is now.
However, my hopes for change were not just for change. They were for positive change, change in the right direction. This is where I'm going to need you to understand that the same hope and need for change that got you elected, will get you out of office if you don't prove your naysayers wrong.

Prove to me that you do understand the conditions of mothers who are in the position my mom was in once by enacting policies that make their lives better. Prove to my mom that you're not the same divisive arrogant man she knew but a man of peace, unity and development. Use the best talent in our nation regardless of their political affiliations. Keep the ship of government tight to save us money in all those costs. Celebrate, but only briefly, because you need to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

You've wanted,dreamed of, worked hard and sacrificed many things to be president. Now you are president. What are you going to do now? Who are you going to put on your team? Have you learned from the outgoing president's mistakes and already made a tentative list of only the best people to work with? Are you ready to spend only the shortest amount of time possible to look into all of the contracts that exist so the worthy and correctly contracted companies can finish their work and get paid?
Perhaps you need to consider outsourcing that investigation of contracts to a qualified company and give them a deadline to deliver their analysis. We can't afford to wait for you to appoint ministers and then select who is going to be in charge of this. I only say this, because we can't afford to halt payments for work done for so long, that the interest that builds on the original payment is more than what we owe. Worse, we can't afford to be sued for delayed payments for work done. This is what happens when you leave that task to ministers, who then proceed to drag it on for as long as possible in order to just collect per diem. We can't wait even a year for you to do this. Evaluate what needs to be finished quickly, prosecute if need be, and move on to new things.

Please don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. The fact that the outgoing government started something should not be your only reason for not finishing it. Assess our priorities and place projects in line with these priorities, and make sure they get done regardless of who started it.
Four years is a long time, long enough for people to get PhDs,  but it is a very short time when you're dealing with employees who work from 11am to 2pm instead of 8am to 5pm, and who are more interested in trying to spend as much of the nation's money as possible. That brings me back to point 1: bring in only the best. Keep a tight ship and make sure these people will actually work. Fire those who need to be fired, and reward hard work and transparency.

Many factors are against you. The world economy isn't doing very well. Oil prices are low, which means the projected expected oil revenue in the next year will be lower than we'd like. Our power situation needs fixing. Our population is exploding, with many more of us urbanized. The Ghana of yesterday is no longer the Ghana of today. Our needs are different. Look critically at these needs and prioritize them. Don't focus on re-election. Focus on real results and re-election will be a by-product. As the Bible says, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all other things shall be added unto you. Seek first the prosperity of our nation and all other re-elections shall be added unto you. Keep the main thing the main thing.

I would love it if you made the main thing getting us out of debt and making us self-sufficient. I know you may think it is impossible, but I'd like to assure you that it definitely is. Just like a company that tries to make more profit and reduce spending, perhaps you should start with a tighter ship and benefits for our public sector based on merit and not as a condition of employment. For example,  if MPs would only receive free fuel or housing as a condition of performance, we'd save some money and see a huge improvement in their work ethic. Bring in consultants and let them tell you what you can do. If Ghana is a business, we're too far in the red to be trying to fix these things without expert advice. Be humble enough to let the experts tell you how to fix this, and be willing to tighten the belt to do it.
There's no time to celebrate your win, and I'm sorry for that. I understand this is your lifelong dream come true, but celebrate when you actually accomplish the dreams of the people who placed you in power. If you spend six months celebrating and another two years just getting the hang of the job because you're surrounded by inefficient people, re-election will come again very quickly. And this time, a third candidate may just break through and win. That's my personal hope, but I pray and entreat you for the sake of our nation: prove me wrong.

Ghana President for a Day