Opinions Mon, 28 Jan 2019

What is cultural about a competent widow contesting for a Parliamentary seat?

I have heard some people who portray themselves as advocates of culture say that Madam Lydia Seyram Alhassan need not contest the seat of Ayawaso West Wuogon because she is culturally expected to mourn her late husband.

Let me first of all emphasise the fact that my decision to comment on this developing issue is inspired by the combined effect of the sayings of Martin Luther King, Jnr and Mahatma Gandhi that, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter’ and ‘Speak only if it improves upon the silence’ respectively.

Now to the substantive issue, the question that cluttered my mind was that which culture exactly is being talked about? Is it the culture of the Krobos or the Northerners or perhaps the culture of the Ewes? Again, I asked myself that since when did it become cultural that a widow cannot contest a seat of a late husband?

Where were today’s advocates of culture when Madam Linda Obenewaa Akweley Ocloo contested the Shai Osuduku seat in the name of NDC when her husband who was the parliamentary candidate died in 2016? Even in her case, her husband was not yet a member of parliament.

Why didn’t the advocates of culture speak out then? Why oppose Maa Lydia today? Is it a way for some people to register their dislike towards Maa Lydia or a way to distract her attention?

Maybe I am missing out something important here. Is Madam Linda Obenewaa Akweley Ocloo more competent of contesting than Maa Lydia? Or does her leadership blueprint supersede that of Maa Lydia? Oh, maybe, just maybe, she was made to contest because her academic credentials are more solid than Maa Lydia.

People must wake up from their slumber and speak only when what they have to say has substance! If Madam Linda was endorsed to continue her own good works in the constituency, why can’t Maa Lydia do same more so because she will not only continue her own good works but also the good legacy of her late husband?

Of course, I won’t pretend that I was too okay hearing people especially students of the University of Ghana and GIMPA shout, ‘No Maa Lydia, No Vote” at the vigil held in honour of the late MP by the Students Representative Council of the aforementioned institutions.

I even wondered whether the vigil was to endorse her candidature at a point but then, that sparked my interest to know more about her and why the people were calling on her to contest.

It is not for any reason that Maa Lydia got a massive endorsement other than her love for humanity, respect for all and sundry, her commitment and diligence to whatever she has to do and of course her proven competence in leadership.

Many people tell me how Maa Lydia has been supportive to them and hearing those true stories push me to love her more. How I wish I had a way to get her into parliament personally. Recently, a friend told me he went to the late Honourable with another friend for some support which he was unable to assist urgently because his hands were tied at the time.

Apparently, Maa Lydia came in to support and for the past three years has been giving the fellow constant monthly support. For me, some of these are the regular things she does from the data I gathered so I won’t narrate the others I know about.

Need I mention what makes her the best fit?

Too many that I am unable to mention. The quality of an astute businesswoman who has been able to successfully combine that with politics can’t be doubted. Academically, Maa Lydia excellently passes the test with her MBA in Marketing from Ghana’s premier university. Politically, she is sound.

To serve as a member of the Volta Regional Finance Committee and that of Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency both from 2014 to 2019 is no joke. As if donating the current Greater Accra Regional Office of NPP is not enough, Maa Lydia still served as a patroness of the Greater Accra Women’s wing of the party from 2014 to 2018. All these justify her political soundness.

The leadership credentials of Maa Lydia leave no doubt about her competence to be the next MP for the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency. Acting as Vice Chairperson of the Pharmaceutical Importers and Wholesalers Association from 2015 to date means a lot.

Not just that, she is an executive member of the Chamber of Pharmacy of Ghana and Treasurer of the women’s fellowship of the church (Accra Ridge Church, Spintex branch). Is it necessary to say she is a board member of the Minerals Commission too? I am even suffocating while typing the other leadership portfolios and so I quit.

In fact, the claim that Maa Lydia shouldn’t have contested the Ayawaso West Wuogon seat must not sit well with progressive persons. Without mincing words, I think it is a total breach of common sense and basic logic for one to make such claims.

Does not contesting a seat truly mourn a dear one? Haven’t we seen many doctors specialising in certain fields of medicine only because they lost family members and loved ones due to the shortage or lack of expertise in such areas? For such doctors, that is the best way to mourn their dear ones.

What better way is there to mourn a dear one aside taking charge of the very thing he or she stood for when alive? Let’s not make noise when we actually need not.

Finally, I want to end with the words of the most charismatic young leader of our time, Sammi Awuku, that, ‘Throughout history, no monument has ever been erected in honour of a critic.’ Maa Lydia should focus on her resolve to win the seat and continue the good works of her late husband.

In fact, the claim that Maa Lydia shouldn’t have contested the Ayawaso West Wuogon seat must not sit well with progressive persons. Without mincing words, I think it is a total breach of common sense and basic logic for one to make such claims.

God bless Maa Lydia Seyram Alhassan,

God bless Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency,

God bless Ghana.

Columnist: Myjoyonline.com
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