This article would begin with a couple of questions that would lead the discussion in my subsequent paragraphs. It’s quite inherent on us, to ensure we ask some hard questions of the current administration and its leader with a clear mind that we want direction to shift and to deal with the very core issues affective the lives of the people of Ghana.
1. So does our President, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo think parents were not outraged about the conditions of their children when the implementation of Free SHS started in 2017?
2. Does he think that when images of senior high students sitting on stones at La Presec came to light, parents were so happy?
3. Does he think that when images emerged of school children sitting under trees to take their lunch, parents were happy?
4. Does he think that parents were happy when they saw their children mounting beds and tents under trees in the name of Free SHS?
5. Does he think when parents became aware of their children receiving tuition under trees and sleeping on corridors in the open with others laying their student mattresses on the open floors, they were happy with his policy implementation?
6. Does he think that parents were happy when they saw their children on open parks dishing out food to eat for lack of dining facilities?
7. Does he think that parents were happy that some of the completed E-Blocks, for the lack of commitment by his government to furnish them, they saw their children sitting on the floors and some in plastic chairs taken tuition without desks?
8. Does he think that the subsequent Double Track that was introduced, parents are not aware that this is simply meant to conceal the true picture of the hardships and torture their children have been subjected to because of the haphazard nature the policy of Free SHS was implemented?
9. Does he think that parents are not aware that nothing had he done in the area of infrastructure and furniture to contain the matter, but was merely treated like a plaster on a wound?
10. Does he think that by what he is doing, parents would not hold him to his words on the whereabouts of the 350 brand new Senior High Schools he promised?
I can then proceed with these few questions on what our President must averse his mind to, and be considerate and promising on the future we all anticipate for this country which can only come by dent of hard work and not rhetorics and intolerance to critics who think a policy of this nature being implemented in this manner and form could be better done in a different form and manner.
1. Does he think parents would not be happy to see their children housed in decent classrooms for tuition?
2. Does he think that parents would not be happy to see their children sitting in decent dining halls to receive their meals?
3. Does he think that parents would not be glad to see their children sitting behind computers in decent libraries than seeing them sit on blocks to write their exams?
4. Does he think that parents won’t be happy to see that the E-Blocks are completed and more added to provide adequate, decent, and conducive environments for their children to receive lessons that would shape their lives?
5. Does our president not think that parents would be happy if as a result of improved infrastructure at a speed required, they would save the huge sums of monies being spent to pay for accommodation for their children as well as feeding them even though they are told to appreciate the fact that their children are being educated freely? Even in the face of such expenses, we are still pretending to be doing favours to the parents of these children.
6. Does our president not think that parents would be happy if they can save the huge sums being spent on extra classes to keep their children up to speed because of the gap they anticipated has been established by the new duration spent on campus?
Perhaps, knowing his failures in these areas, and knowing the records that his opponent, John Dramani Mahama brings to the table, if a levelled ground is provided and elections contested on same, he would be humiliated in his arrogance. It could simply be this hard truth that he is faced with, laced with cluelessness on what to do in these few months ahead of the 2020 elections, that has caused him to abandon his next generation thinking to now focus on the next elections.
The reality appears too glaring, and facing the people with a single policy popularity, he risks being injured further, and would rather instil fear as against facing reality, for the purposes of winning the 2020 elections.
As it stands, no other policy has been successful. Mention Planting for Food and Jobs, and the question on its success then is, if this was successful, how then do we owe ECOWAS thousands of tonnes of maize, millet, white rice, beans and sorghum that we went to borrow?
If his One Village One Dam policy had succeeded, have we not seen the nature of dams across three or now five northern regions? Did we not see indigenes of these areas including chiefs expressing anger and disgust at the nature of work purported to have been done? Has not his own minister in charge of these initiatives admit that these are not “meaningful dams”?
If his One District One Factory had succeeded, would we have seen the hijacking of existing factories such as Kasapreko and others which existed long before the NPP birthed the idea of a factory per district, with the embossment of a supposed logo and declared as a promise fulfilled?
If his One Million Dollar per constituency had succeeded, would we be in arrears for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019, making the government so far to owe each of the 275 constituencies $3 million each, resulting in a total of $825 million (equivalent of Ghc4.45 billion)?
The hard truth president Akufo-Addo faces which he would not be candid enough to admit, but which is inherent in his blood is that he has not the luxury anymore of lofty promises and sloganeering. He is in a position of responsibility and would have to account for the loans secured (which stands at Ghc84 billion in monitory terms, and 1,000 tonnes of maize, 750 tonnes of white rice, 500 tonnes of millet, 500 tonnes of sorghum owed to ECOWAS).
He is no more an aspirant who has not had the benefit of being in power. Faced with the failures registered so far which have so far been concealed in slogans, the reality would be too difficult to massage as the hardships of the people aggravates each passing day.
Today, in just a single year, Ghanaians are bearing increases in water tariffs, electricity tariffs, increase in cost of making a phone call, browsing the internet, sending SMS, staying on Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram, Snapchat, etc., increase in cost of fuel, and on top of that, cannot fall sick in peace, but have to bear another hike in medical services rendered them by doctors effective September, 2019.
He is too aware, that, if any Ghanaian who voted for him expected that the cost at which they bought a gallon of fuel under Mahama, they would pay anything above it, they would have maintained Mahama. He knows too well also that if the Ghanaian had any idea that he would buy a bag of rice, maize, pay electricity or water bill and board their ‘Trotro’ above what they were paying under Mahama, they would prefer to maintain Mahama in power.
These are the hard truths Nana Addo must confront and show respect to the sensibilities of the ordinary Ghanaian. What does Mahama lose as a former president? He would continue to enjoy his emoluments till he dies.
His come back which was a response to calls from many, is to put Ghana back on tract where he left it which many can see going off track. He has proven himself to the people. He has proven capable to work, proven truthful, proven to have enormous respect for the ordinary man on the streets. He did not pride himself that every decision went to the joy of the people, but he prides himself that he was building a country beyond today. He was solving generational problems.
This foresight tells greatly in his policies. The nature of hospitals he built, was to solve a gap of infrastructure left behind and to propel us into a future that would provide better healthcare to the people. His hospitals, built with the taxes of the people are expected to serve us for hundreds of years to come when maintained well.
The nature of road infrastructure he built, was to last us ages. He did his work in the sector with tactfulness. Look for instance, when Kufour had a change to address the problem of traffic at Circle, he opted for a footbridge. Mahama provided a multi-modal solution in that spot that would serve a purpose for years to come. His intervention in Kasoa has solved the traffic situation in that particular area. These can be seen in many places across the country.
His intervention in education, coupled with the increased structures in the Senior High level, he anticipated a surge in the numbers at the tertiary levels. So he took to the establishment of public universities that would provide access and affordable tertiary education to the people. He was trans-generational and was building for a future he would not even live to see. He was solving problems by preparing ahead of them and not create problems that he could not solve.
With the current leadership and the leader realising that he has fallen short when measured with these parameters, nothing else could be expected than insinuations, insults and fear mongering. I know the Ghanaian has lived it, and can discern between lies and truth.
The 2020 elections must be forced to focus on how President Akufo-Addo governed to improve the lives of the people, and compared with what his predecessor who faces him into the 2020 elections did. Anything short of this, I can only assume that the incumbent president perhaps, may be relying on the systems he has put in place and intends to put in place to afford him a second term (systems president) as against the true mandate of the people. If he cherishes the votes of the people and wish to obtain their mandate, he may wish to stay on the issues and deal with them as and when they come, rather than this current approach of vilification and instilling fear against a man who has proven so much love for his people.