SPORTS & Politics - Election 2008... Decision Time
IT'S another Wednesday and as usual, your favourite soccer newspaper is here again. Considering that we have only a few days to go to the polls to elect a new President for our country, I thought it wise to write on how sports and politics relate. I chose this topic because it's quite common to see a lot of parliamentarians who always believe the best way to get the attention of the youth in their various constituencies is through sports. It therefore comes across as funny when parliamentary candidates organizes football gala competitions in order to woo the youth in voting for them. My concern is after succeeding in winning the seat, what do they do about sports development at the grassroots? There are a lot of ways parliamentarians can help but they are normally only concerned about winning the seat. This year's elections presents a different challenge to Ghanaians sports fans. Apart from being more concerned about issues related on the economy, health and education, I believe we should also pay serious attention to the one thing that unifies the whole country, irrespective of one's political affiliation; sports.
All the presidential candidates made their views known on what they will do to improve sports in the country during the last Presidential debate in Tamale. I'll try as much as possible not to dabble in partisan politics but to be very objective as possible. The NPP presidential aspirant, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo, said something about our sports that really made my day - A sports hall of fame. It's sad we don't have anything like that in this country to honor our outstanding sportsmen and women who also contributed their quota in putting Ghana's name on the map. Another area almost all of the 4 candidates touched on was infrastructure. This will be a broad topic to delve into but I believe all the candidates knew exactly what they were talking about considering the sporting background of some of them. The current government has done remarkably well in putting up two new stadia and refurbishing the existing two which were used in the African Cup of Nations earlier in the year. Most of the infrastructures were mainly football and athletics related. So what about boxing, volleyball, hockey and the other lesser funded sporting disciplines? The Baba Yara Stadium previously had a boxing gym, volleyball, tennis and handball courts but they were all taken away from the stadium's refurbishment fund. I know I might step on some toes by saying this but whether we like it or not the election is a straight contest between Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo and Prof. John Evans Atta Mills. Both men are sportsmen and I will entreat them to come out with a very well structured plan for the youth and sports. It's quite sad that after listening to and monitoring the various campaigns of the various presidential candidates, none of them has given any special attention to sports like they have done with health, education and the economy. Sports in this country of ours is not only football. There is athletics, boxing, volleyball, basketball, hockey, handball, judo, ping-pong among others. I'm not saying we should specialize in all the disciplines, but at least we should start building the interest from the basic school levels.
We wish all the candidates well and for those of us who will be going to the polls to vote, we should do so beyond party lines. We should rather focus our attention on the messages the aspirants sends across. We should also be very tolerant of each other regardless of which side of the political divide the other person belongs to. One other thing and definitely the most important of all is PEACE. We are one people and as Ghanaians we should never fight each other because we belong to different political parties. Why should we fight each other when in actual fact, the candidates are the best of friends amongst themselves? That's food for thought.