By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Thursday, June 1, 2011
In the announcement preceding the maiden annual “Liberty Lectures” instituted by the Danquah Institute on May 31 to honour the founders of the Aborigines Right Protection Society, the organizers made it clear that the principal speaker, Nana Akufo-Addo (Presidential Candidate of the NPP), would give a lecture to announce his MAJOR policy statement.
Many of us braced ourselves up for what we expected to be a major happening to give us a sneak peek into how the NPP intends to make a break with past in its agenda for managing the affairs of the country. We anticipated much food-for-thought and readied ourselves for what we hoped would provide the substance to raise the discourse on national issues to a higher level.
The event has come to pass but—need I say it as it is? It didn’t yield what we expected and can best be written off as one of those exercises in fault-finding, not anything new to enthuse over. It didn’t give us what we expected would be a MAJOR policy statement. We didn’t get anything substantial to engage our attention, only the distracting barrage of criticisms to irritate us. Akufo-Addo didn’t give us anything new to feed public debate with what he will do that we haven’t yet seen about all governments that have ruled Ghana—and why he should be chosen over President Mills in the 2012 elections. He didn’t provide us with the opportunity to compare and contrast his intended approach to governance and what has failed the country so far. He didn’t say anything to satisfy our need for knowledge about his policies for governing the country. Instead, he walked the already-known, worn-out path of criticism against what is already in the public domain about the Mills government. Akufo-Addo characteristically took on the Mills government and wasted his energy flogging a dead horse.
I have read the news report on the lecture but didn’t come across anything about “policy” in it; all I read was about promises. To say the least, I am highly disappointed at this lecture if, indeed, all it entailed was a waxing in the self-same surfeit of criticisms and playing to the gallery. And no doubt, Akufo-Addo was speaking to an audience made up of all those who matter in the NPP. Preaching to the choir, then?
This is how Nathan Gadugah of MyJoyonline.com said, in part: “The policy statement which lasted well over an hour saw the NPP flagbearer delve into how he will, if given the opportunity, lead the country, transform the economy, education, and the citizens’ inalienable rights and freedom to aspire for success.”
And we are told that “Nana Addo’s statement will be the reference point from which the next New Patriotic Party manifesto will be couched for next year’s general election.”
And this is what goes for a MAJOR policy statement? Where is the meat? A mere litany of criticisms and promises? Tweaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! Granted that the news report couldn’t include everything he said, we may be accused of unjustifiably criticizing him only on the basis of what has been published. But we assume that if he said anything meatier, it would have attracted more attention and warranted reporting. Unless the news reporter decided to downplay anything of the sort (For what purpose, anyway?), he would not make only his criticism of the Mills government’s loan grabbing the most important aspect of the lecture to report on. Or is it because Akufo-Addo didn’t say anything concrete worth the reporter’s bother?
By concentrating attention on singing the old stale song, Akufo-Addo has failed to give us anything to peek into the future under a government to be led by him; that is if even Fate doesn’t revisit the 2008 bitter experiences on him. Instead of telling us what a government under him will do better than the current or previous ones, he resorted to hollow promise-making. Here is what he is quoted as promising, largely:
“On education, Nana Addo promised that a government under his stewardship will not play politics with Ghana’s education. Whilst maintaining the current educational structure, the NPP flagbearer said without equivocation that a free SHS education will be attained in his first term. Whilst the cost in achieving such a feat will be high, he said the cost in not achieving that will be much higher with the future of the Ghanaian youth still remaining in shambles.” We have had a good cause to take Akufo-Addo on for going against his own vow NEVER to base his electioneering campaign stunts on promise-making but on programmes and policies. Unfortunately, it hasn’t taken him long to break that vow and he is not prepared to shuck off this line of politicking.
Only he and his band know what differentiates a promise-based campaign from what they perceive as a campaign based on programmes and policies; but anybody who dares to see things from a wider angle will realize that Akufo-Addo has nothing new to offer anybody. He is only blowing hot air and setting himself up for needless criticism.
When nitty comes to gritty, Akufo-Addo will have it tough persuading some of us that he can drastically change the situation to warrant his incessant clamour for power. I particularly don’t see where he comes across as better than what I have already known about the administration of this country. His crying hoarsely for the electorate’s sympathy is a mere exercise in political gimmickry. Not until I see anything drastically new from him, I will continue to see the cynic in him to criticize. And to top it all up, he had said that his vision for Ghana could be achieved in 10 years but is quick to condemn someone who has spent only two-and-a-half years on the seat for not achieving all that his vision entails. Excuse my being snide, but I think that as of now, Akufo-Addo is too full of himself, singing “Halleluia” all over the place, which doesn’t show piety.