The John Factor in Ghanaian Politics: Amazing Coincidence
Ever since Dr. Hilla Limann was overthrown in a coup d’état by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council led by Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, there has been an amazing coincidence in the first names of all the elected presidents under Ghana's fourth Republic Constitution. They all bear the first name JOHN. This may be a mere coincidence but it is, however, difficult to understand why all the presidents in the fourth republic bear JOHN as their first names: Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor, John Evans Atta-Mills and John Dramani Mahama.
It is clear in the New Testament that John the Baptist, was not born to rule but to prepare the way for the ruler of the earth, Jesus Christ. Is it not interesting that in Ghana, John has become the leader instead of the one who cuts the path for the real leader? Some people argue that, for the New Patriotic Party to return to power they will have to select a presidential candidate with John as his first name. In this connection the searchlight tilts towards John Alan Kyeremateng.
In JJ's first appearance on the Ghanaian scene in 1979, he acted as John the Baptist by preparing the way in what he called 'house cleaning' for Limman. Note that this was not a coup he carried out himself. In 1992, he had the chance of playing John the Baptist again by preparing the way for a real elected civilian leader, but he was enjoying the thing so much that he prepared the way for himself rather. It was like John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus and then turning around to say that he was Jesus himself.
Another interesting coincidence about these four leaders is that all of them are married to Akan women. Rawlings' wife Nana Konadu Agyeman hails from the Ashanti region. The wife of the late Prof. Atta-Mills, Naadu Mills is a Fanti. While the wives of both J.A Kufuor and John Mahama are Brongs.They are Theresa Kufuor and Lordina Mahama.
Will this trend of amazing coincidence continue for a long time to dominate Ghanaian politics? Will anyone whose first name is not John ever have the chance to become a president of Ghana? Will the court action by Nana Akufo-Addo and NPP be able to break the JOHN syndrome that has dominated the Ghanaian politics in the fourth republic, if the court rules the case in favour of Akufo- Addo?
The name JOHN has dominated Ghana's politics over the last thirty one years when Rawlings and the AFRC overthrew the military government of General Akuffo. In his "house cleaning exercise", all the former leaders were shot by firing squad. What followed after this is history. The name JOHN, which was considered by many Ghanaians as old fashioned, suddenly gained popularity as one John left and another John came. It is not surprising that many parents have adopted the name John for their new-born babies.
It is important to note that Ghana is not the only country where such a coincidence has happened in her political life. It has happened in the United States too. This amazing coincidence could be found at the time when both Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy became leaders in the U.S.A. Abraham Lincoln was elected to congress in 1846. John F. Kennedy was elected to congress in 1946. Dear reader, please follow the article very well and you will see how classic these coincidences are.
Abraham Lincoln rose to become the President of America when he was elected in 1860. John F. Kennedy was also elected president in 1960. The names Lincoln and Kennedy contain seven letters each. Both were deeply involved and particularly concerned with human rights. The wives of both Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy lost their children while living in the White House.
Amazingly, both Presidents were shot on a Friday. Lincoln's secretary, Kennedy, warned him not to go to the theater. Kennedy's secretary, Lincoln, seriously warned him not to go to Dallas. Both were assassinated by Southerners. Interestingly, both were succeeded by Southerners who were all named "Johnson". Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808. Lyndon B. Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908. Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, ran from a theater and was arrested in a warehouse. Oswald, who was the assassin of Kennedy, ran from a warehouse and he was arrested in a theater.
Such amazing coincidences in American politics are very remarkable. Ghana's name on the other hand, will be embossed in the golden pages of world history and in The Guinness Book of Records for retaining presidents with JOHN as their first names for thirty one years.
Written by Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces At Crossroads