My 4 take-aways from Nana Addo’s victory
It’s the second week of December and I think the country is still reeling from the election drama and shock. It's all we can talk about. Like I said earlier on my Facebook page, the whole nation clearly got together to gorge on a sensational telenovela with different expected outcomes. Only this wasn’t a kumbayah type of get-together; we were voting for our next president.
Like every election year, campaign trails, campaign rhetoric and our favorite, campaign songs, fill our days whether you are interested or not. The euphoria, not-so-friendly banter, the outbursts, debates and predictions have come and gone. One question still remains: How the hell did the NPP win by a million votes?
Yes, it's going to take me a minute to let that sink in.
At the end, the ruling party, the National Democrat Congress lost with 44.40% of votes cast, to Ghana’s biggest opposition party, the New Patriotic Party under the flagbearership of Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo with 53.85% of votes in the bag. Come 7th January 2017, he will be sworn in as President the Republic of Ghana. Do I sound statesman-ish enough? Good.
I think like every momentous event, there’s something there are some life lessons in there for all of us. Like Donald Trump winning the American election not only taught me that white supremacy is real, it is a mentality that exists and percentage of white Americans sorely desire this to validate who they are. Also that Trump loves to grab women by the $@$@%. But I digress. To each his own wahala right? RIP Professor Attah Mills.
Here’s what I picked from participating and observing the voting and the events that unfolded after.
*The NPP government should not underestimate social media*. It is here to stay.
The Ghanaian people were ready to talk, to do citizen journalism, to record live occurrences of ballot being cast and counted. All over the country people shared events that happened before during and after election. For a better part of the 8th and 9th of December, pressure mounted with people expressing outrage at the delay of the Electoral Commission to announce which candidate was winning. Eventually Madam Charlotte Osei had to speak to restore calm and assure Ghanaians on having the final results public soon. Most of this happened on social media. This vigilante and high-engagement will continue throughout the term of the incoming government. Facebook and Twitter will provide the platform that allows us a voice to hold any government accountable to promises and performance. It will be unwise to ignore.
*The reward of resilience is beautiful* The president elect’s story is known to many. After a second go at the presidency, a controversial election defeat and an 8-month-long legal process in futility , girl you and i would have probably hang our boots long time. Amidst continuous vilification; he stayed true to his mission. He was told he would never be president because he was entitled and privileged. He was told he was ugly, short, too old and not presidential material, by youngsters who hardly knew him. Some bet to lose their houses, cars and jobs if he won. Impossible, they said. He wasn’t Well, you know how the story ends. Nana Addo is now president-elect as i write. If this doesn’t teach you to be steady and resilient at achieving something you believe in, even when you have been told to give it up; that you are not qualified, then no other story can. Nana Addo beat his naysayers to become president. He beat his opponent by an unprecedented margin. He becomes the first president of our republic to have won an election in a first round. He has, in fact followed his father’s footsteps to become president. The second, following Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta. See where this is going? Pitfalls and defeats only make the victory sweeter. A beautiful reward. Ask yourself, what are you resilient about?
*Focus on your message, not the opponent* I can’t remember what the sitting president said in his campaign message. Do try to tell me in the comment section if you remember. He may have had a message but it seems his party’s effort to discredit the NPP’s candidate spoke louder than their plans for the Ghanaian people. Sure, we all had seen the infrastructural work that were being commissioned and out-doored, but that could simply not sell itself enough to sway the minds of voters. There was too much time spent on reasons why Nana Addo could not be president rather than what the NDC government had in store for Ghanaians in the next four years. On the other hand, everyone remembered the “One District,One Factory” campaign message. It stuck. It got people talking whether it was even possible. Emphasis on :*It got people talking.* As to whether or not this will begin in the first term of the incoming president, remains to be seen.
*Do not underestimate the Ghanaian millennial* I will be the first to say it: We’ve got a long way to go and that’s not really our fault. We come from a society that prides itself on entrenched sociopolitical ideals.Ideals that were passed on from our parents, who learnt them from their parents. You’re taught to suspect, insult and mistrust that which is unlike yourself. Many of us are brought up that way. Please don’t roll your eyes at this, but there is a wind of change blowing actually. Our generation are thinkers and doers as well. They are unafraid to ask questions, to take risks, to make changes because they understand they can. Millennials understand the power of decision-making and they will explain to you why. They will challenge you to give them better, they will challenge you to push beyond what is normal. My math isn’t great but if 54% of Ghanaians are under 24, it clearly means the message of the NPP resonated with them, hence the change. They are highly educated and can easily identify with which issues that matters most to them. Clearly any government coming in can neither ignore the youth nor underestimate them. If the NPP has promised to create more jobs, the Ghanaian millennial will expect results.
As an afterthought, there should be a fifth lesson: We are the only ones who can tell our story well. Only we know how precious our peace is to us. Only we know that we have the capacity to elevate from a struggling country to prosperous one. Only we know that we do not beg or queue for food, neither did we vote in 1998, nor confuse Jammeh with Mahama, or any other stupid inaccuracies western reportage will churn out about us. We showed the world that we are not fragile babies incapable of conducting a peaceful election. Collectively, we will nip you in the bud if you get it wrong. Yes, I am talking about you, CNN.
It’s going to be an interesting four years. People are wondering what the main focus of the new president will be. We can only wish him the very best.