Akufo-Addo’s Presidency: A canon of leadership and democracy

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By: P.B. Danquah

Leadership is a realm or a reserve for just a few people. It is a path that can only be walked by just a few. It is why the axiomatic quote that ‘uneasy lies the head that wears the crown’ holds very true. Only few people have the gut to respond to the call, or to walk the path of leadership. It simply means that, there are certain specialized qualities one must possess to excel in leadership. Good leadership is one with problem solving ability and positive impact, not just an act of leading or just being ahead of others.

Just as good leadership brings growth and progress, bad leadership likewise conveys retrogression and stagnation. It is why power is likely to be brokered to the moderate, humble and peaceful but effective and firm person. Because growth and development can only come in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. That said, the mantle of leadership can only be used to cause positive shifts for society, in acts and in words. If one has a firm grip of power in his hands, everything is possible for him/her. It is the principal reason why there are certain acts or utterances one is permitted do or make in leadership, while there are others one cannot.

There is a saying that, a person’s true character will manifest when he has power and wealth. It took Akufo-Addo to apologize on Starr FM for his ‘all die be die’ statement during an interview, to be considered for president in the 2016 elections. After the interview with Bola Ray, the general of mosquitoes, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, the General Secretary of the NDC bestowed words of blessings on the then candidate Akufo-Addo for apologizing to the good people of Ghana for that supposed inflammatory statement. It was therefore no wonder why he won massively during the 2016 elections – a one million vote difference, something that is unprecedented. Even in the 2020 election, where the president seemed to have lost some votes, he did far better than presidents before him in their second terms under the Fourth Republican Constitution.

The Government Spokesperson on Governance and Security, Palgrave Boakye-Danquah once made a submission on Asaase Radio that seeks to suggest that when leaders get the privilege to speak into the microphone, it is progress and development and not the other way round. However, let the same microphone be found in the hands of somebody else, other than a leader and it is all chaos. By the statement of the Government Spokesperson on Governance and Security, Palgrave Boakye-Danquah, he seeks to suggest that leaders do not just speak or act unless there is a good outcome to it. Hence, it is practically strange and surprising why we are being taken back to the stage we thought we had passed, with the ‘do or die statement’.

It does not look like our leaders take lessons where they must. Or, they think it is a strategy they must copy from them to win elections? If it is, then we are completely lost as a people since it is coming from a person who has once been to the corridors of power.

According to P. B. Danquah, let nobody ever think that political violence pays – it does not and it will never pay. Kwadwo Asare Baffuor Acheampong (KABA) of blessed memory who was also the host of Asempa Ekosii sen afternoon political show, queried the President when the President met journalists in 2018 at the Jubilee House to interact with them and also to answer certain questions that people required answers to. KABA asked, have you been tamed by the Presidency, Mr. President? This question came because, before then, Akufo-Addo was touted as a very arrogant person; he was seen as a very violent person who would turn Ghana’s stable peace to one of violence and lawlessness.

Very prominent individuals within the main opposition party expressed fear in Akufo-Addo’s Presidency. Some even threatened to leave Ghana the day Akufo-Addo is made the president of Ghana. Eventually, Akufo-Addo overwhelmingly secured the Presidency and the story was totally a different one that was told. It was the reason that made KABA ask if it was the Presidency that had tamed the President, as Ghanaians including KABA himself expected real action from the Akufo-Addo Presidency. Today, those perceived to be corrupt are walking freely on the streets of Ghana coupled with other crimes and atrocities being perpetrated each and every day with no sight to an end. Yet, Akufo-Addo was and is still calm.

People felt this way about Akufo-Addo because they had hope and confidence in Akufo-Addo’s Presidency, perhaps by way of his personality – being firm and assertive, as he is, or probably, by how he engaged the citizens. People thought heaven would come on earth as it is in heaven when Akufo-Addo becomes the President of this nation. This is where P. B. Danquah quizzes; could it be that Ghanaians preferred a strong assertive individual to be President all this while? A real action man? Instead of somebody who will just succumb to pressure? A flip flop, as he President Akufo-Addo would put it?

This is the utmost reason why the expectation for Akufo-Addo’s Presidency to deliver is so very high among the populace, compared to the Presidents before him – even though he is far beyond a disappointment. In the views of P. B. Danquah, the responses from the President to KABA’s question pointed to the fact and the truism that what happens outside leadership can never be equated to what goes on when you have the mantle of leadership in your hands. Simply put, the perspectives outside leadership contradicts the perspectives in leadership.

This teaches great lessons about who a good leader is. This is what influenced President Kufuor to admit in all honesty and bravery that he never knew it was like that when he was questioned about the number of ministers during his regime when he had questioned same and had promised to reduce the number when he becomes President – the reality is always different from a model, you know? Encounter the situation to know the right thing instead of acting with emotions.

As has been said earlier, people wanted to know what had happened to Akufo-Addo’s wild nature. But the response he gave was excellent. He indicated that, “well there is nothing wild about me just that I have my views on issues for which I don’t easily back down”. His response is actually in consonance with what the scripture said in James 1:5-6, 8 that, ‘’if any of you lacks wisdom let him ask God who gives generously to all without reproach but when he asks, let him ask in faith because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind’’. The verse 8 says that ‘’he is a double minded man unstable in all he does’’.

Throughout the President’s public life, he has proven not to have that weakness. Therefore, the assertion that he is wild and arrogant, P. B. Danquah believes that is not his nature and that the President will not hide behind politics to change his identity and personality. The President said, “This is the real Akufo-Addo you are seeing at the presidency and that, all that has been said about me were purposely designed to satisfy the political appetite of some people’’. He even challenged Kwesi Pratt, a veteran journalist of the insight newspaper who was right there at the event to attest to his nature.

It was not surprising to also see Kweku Baako, another veteran journalist in highly jubilant mood when the news came out that Nana Akufo-Addo has finally clinched the Presidency. This is where Palgrave Boakye-Danquah pointed out that, in this world, particularly in politics, it is all about interest and nothing else.

What this teaches is that, the president was somebody of substance in private life and it is something that most people can bet for. In the run-up to the 2016 general elections, people were a bit shocked when the Otumfuor of the Ashanti Kingdom, Osei Tutu II, publicly testified that Akufo-Addo was his personal layer. But his services were even without a charge – when he did this, he had no idea at the time what the future of the now Asante Hene would be – a test case of his visionary prowess. To Palgrave Boakye-Danquah, Akufo-Addo, just like the Christ, stepped down from the prestige that was associated with his father’s house and subjected himself to the service of mankind. A service that requires that you sacrifice your glory for the wellbeing of others. It really takes actual love, courage and empathetic leadership to do that.

The Government Spokesperson on Governance and Security, Mr. Palgrave Boakye-Danquah posits far from the assertion that he is a dictator, dialoging and consensus building has been the hallmark of Akufo-Addo’s Presidency. One is not even seeing the difference between the hung eighth Parliament and the absolute majority his Presidency enjoyed in the seventh Parliament; there has been no deadlock in the prosecution of government’s business in this eighth Parliament.

Those policies he thought he had built consensus for their implementation in the seventh Parliament, like the amendment to article 55(3) of the constitution and the Agyapa Royalties deal had Parliamentary approval and support, only for some people to turn around to change the narrative and the facts of the issue in the arena of public opinion. Perhaps to cause sheer public disaffection for the president.

But, although these policies were withdrawn, subsequent to the excessive criticism they suffered due to political propaganda, notice have been served about their re-introduction. And the Government Spokesperson on Governance and Security, Palgrave Boakye-Danquah strongly believes that by principle, the President and his government would do just that. It is obvious that there is nothing wild about the President; instead, he is a democrat who cherishes divergent views.

It is just a case where one is likely to get vilified for being assertive; you will definitely be labeled a monster; people will pelt stones at you for being out spoken and firm on your stance and staying true to yourself. This is the exact fate the president has suffered throughout his public life, though he is the one that means well for the nation. In fact, his nature as a visionary enables him to see that which others will not, even when they are standing on the highest threshold.

Efforts have been made ever since the President took the reins of this nation to prove their allegations against the President about his nature. People have gone to so many extents to perpetrate violence, ranging from broad day light robberies, breaking police cells to release alleged criminals, political violence, kidnapping, burning of markets and all sorts of politically motivated schemes, just to blame Akufo-Addo.

But in all these, the President’s focus is fixated on his vision for the nation. It is unerring, a true leader does not easily get distracted. The President has been calm in all of these disruptions, which is unlike the personality of Akufo-Addo – that is true leadership; a real democrat. These and many others that time and space will not allow are indicative of an attribute of a patient and a listening President and needs to be commended for it.

All in all, President Akufo-Addo’s Presidency has been exemplary because he has demonstrated to have the wit and the grit (cannons of leadership) to be referred to as a leader. There is a standardized index that is used to measure the quality of leadership – as espoused by Bill Newman in his book entitled the ten (10) laws of leadership, they include vision, discipline, wisdom, courage, humility, decision maker, well connected, tact and diplomacy, has executive ability and exudes inspirational power.

The Government Spokesperson on Governance and Security, Mr. Palgrave Boakye-Danquah posits far from the assertion that he is a dictator, dialoging and consensus building has been the hallmark of Akufo-Addo’s Presidency. One is not even seeing the difference between the hung eighth Parliament and the absolute majority his Presidency enjoyed in the seventh Parliament; there has been no deadlock in the prosecution of government’s business in this eighth Parliament.

Those policies he thought he had built consensus for their implementation in the seventh Parliament, like the amendment to article 55(3) of the constitution and the Agyapa Royalties deal had Parliamentary approval and support, only for some people to turn around to change the narrative and the facts of the issue in the arena of public opinion. Perhaps to cause sheer public disaffection for the president.

But, although these policies were withdrawn, subsequent to the excessive criticism they suffered due to political propaganda, notice have been served about their re-introduction. And the Government Spokesperson on Governance and Security, Palgrave Boakye-Danquah strongly believes that by principle, the President and his government would do just that. It is obvious that there is nothing wild about the President; instead, he is a democrat who cherishes divergent views.

It is just a case where one is likely to get vilified for being assertive; you will definitely be labeled a monster; people will pelt stones at you for being out spoken and firm on your stance and staying true to yourself. This is the exact fate the president has suffered throughout his public life, though he is the one that means well for the nation. In fact, his nature as a visionary enables him to see that which others will not, even when they are standing on the highest threshold.

Efforts have been made ever since the President took the reins of this nation to prove their allegations against the President about his nature. People have gone to so many extents to perpetrate violence, ranging from broad day light robberies, breaking police cells to release alleged criminals, political violence, kidnapping, burning of markets and all sorts of politically motivated schemes, just to blame Akufo-Addo.

But in all these, the President’s focus is fixated on his vision for the nation. It is unerring, a true leader does not easily get distracted. The President has been calm in all of these disruptions, which is unlike the personality of Akufo-Addo – that is true leadership; a real democrat. These and many others that time and space will not allow are indicative of an attribute of a patient and a listening President and needs to be commended for it.

All in all, President Akufo-Addo’s Presidency has been exemplary because he has demonstrated to have the wit and the grit (cannons of leadership) to be referred to as a leader. There is a standardized index that is used to measure the quality of leadership – as espoused by Bill Newman in his book entitled the ten (10) laws of leadership, they include vision, discipline, wisdom, courage, humility, decision maker, well connected, tact and diplomacy, has executive ability and exudes inspirational power.

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