Opinions Mon, 18 May 2020

Michael Okyere Baafi is the right choice for New Juaben South

As the New Patriotic Party (NPP) prepares to decide the next candidate to represent the party in New Juaben South for the 2020 general elections, voters need to reflect over important issues before making their final decision.

There is no doubt that the current member of Parliament, Hon. Mark Assibey-Yeboah has become stale, and oblivious to the most current political, social, economic and cultural philosophies that the most progressive members of parliament are churning out and executing.

It’s been said that the level of enlightenment of a society must not be judged by the conditions of life of its strongest members, but rather by the conditions of the weakest.

In Ghana, it’s the other way round. The NPP at New Juaben South can help us, put an end to this stagnation and kleptocracy by taking a momentous step – retiring their inefficient and tired member of parliament.

The NPP must modernize. This means that a whole generation of NPP politicians must give way to a newer, more objective, and better-informed generation. Forget about the usual African deference to gerontology; it’s the reason why we had slavery and still have child labour in our culture.

I’m not saying the older generation of politicians must be locked up in a closet and the keys thrown into a KVIP. No. They are all welcome to participate in one way or the other in the continual edification of the nation.

However, we all just have to realize that the time for meritocracy has come and is here to stay. The old and tired political nepotism practiced by Ghana’s elite, both traditional and business, must give way to a more objective, merit-based system.

That’s how nations unearth the best leaders, like Barack obama of the U.S., David Cameron of the U.K., Manmohan Singh of India, and Naoto Kan of Japan. We will be circum-ambulating in the desert of penury, poverty, and backwardness forever if we fail to admit this fact and act accordingly.

And who can undertake this Herculean task of bringing the people of New Juaben South into the 21st Century? I strongly believe that Michael Okyere Baafi is a powerful metaphor of the new generation of Ghanaians who are ready and willing to oversee this transitioning of governance systems.

He must be seriously considered for leadership of the NPP at the constituency level (and, by extension, national) at the next elections, or at any other opportunity for that matter. There are scores of reasons why I give him my vote of confidence. Here are a few of them:

1. Michael Okyere Baafi is an intelligent and tenacious person. He is self-made, and the epitome of the tried, tested and workaholic.

2. Michael Okyere Baafi is righteous to boot and can make the case that needs to be made. He has a well-honed international outlook on life, unlike some of our present MPs who cannot see beyond their villages and tribes. Michael Okyere Baafi can relate to anybody from anywhere, be they child or adult, male or female, black or white, educated or uneducated, northerner or southerner, westerner or easterner, mediocre or talented. He can inspire a new generation to new heights of social responsibility with his exemplary biography.

3. Where else can Ghanaians find a comparable role model for their children, the future rulers of Ghana? No one can deny the fact that the decades of bad role models in political leadership have had a markedly negative impact on the psyche, discourse and behaviour of Ghana’s youth.

So much so that most young people have lost respect for themselves, their elders, and authority in general. Tro-tro and taxi drivers are screaming profanities at each other, popular music is openly touting promiscuity, and public discourse is rotten and full of abrasiveness. If the leaders can open their mouths and utter whatever untreated sewage, what do you expect the children to do?

Speak and act like the Pope? When the fish begins to rot, it starts from the head. Michael Okyere Baafi can sanitize public discourse with his civilized and polished oratory. I could go on and on, so I will conclude.

If the NPP is to survive at New Juaben South the likes of Mark Assibey-Yeboah must graduate into retirement and allow a new leadership to emerge. If Ghana is to modernize culturally, economically, politically, and behaviourally, the most enlightened of her children must lead the way. Michael Okyere Baafi wants to, can and will lead the way if given the opportunity.

Some may say he is overly ambitious, but that is alright. One must have a strong desire to do a thing in order to do that thing well and enjoy doing it. Besides, ambition in a private person should not be seen as a vice. Michael Okyere Baafi is noble, maybe not by birth, but certainly by virtue. Such are the people who should be allowed to lead, as John Fletcher pointed out over 500 years ago.

He certainly has the wherewithal, the stature, the credibility, the personality and the sincerity to lead the NPP at the New Juaben South Constituency. It must also be admitted that he is well liked. He has the reputation for being affable and charming, and most constituents and Ghanaians for that matter – alas-seem to have soft spot for him as a result of his philanthropic work.

More importantly, we know Michael Okyere Baafi just like any other human being isn't perfect, but then all we really crave for is an honest man, who will do an honest job and not continue to sleep on the job.

The NPP needs a new crop of selfless activists who looks ready for the future and really wants the job. The party has to move on and offer an alternative to underperforming MPs. Some of these non-performing MPs are desperate to hang on to power in spite of their failures but the voters are disenchanted.

Forget all the dirty politics going on. The NPP at New Juaben South have only one option for parliamentary candidate for 2020 general election. And Michael Okyere Baafi is your best bet.

To you, Michael Okyere Baafi, I say this: go for it, brave soul, and pull no punches. Whether you discover the New World or not, you would have made an indelible statement. God be with you!
Columnist: Esenam Afeku