Mr Annan as president

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Mr. Annan as president

E. Ablorh-Odjidja

December 01, 2015

I will add my voice to that of Sydney Casely-Hayford (see Ghanaweb) for Ghana to select former Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Kofi Annan, as the next president, but for different reasons.

There are some among the aspiring lot we have on line for 2016 who are definitely not cut for the job. And with Mr. Annan around, it  makes it even harder to make a case for the few worthy ones.

Mr. Annan would be an excellent choice for president, better still a very, highly desirable person for a country in the doldrums like ours.

Unfortunately, I also believe that Mr. Annan is a very smart person and therefore would be deterred from the task by the very attitude of some in our republic.


I am not saying the above for Mr. Annan as his spokesperson. I am saying this for myself. My reasoning comes in a form of self-doubt; of insufficient confidence in aspirants who are already massively invested in a political culture that needs to be changed or completely overhauled.


There is also the fear of how we memorialize our former leaders and statesmen; dead or alive.


Just when have we ever in our history preserved or accepted substantially anybody as great? And how do the few we may accept fare once they get on the memory lane?


Do we know who Dr.  James Kwegyir Aggrey was or where he was buried?  Or care about how the archives at the Nkrumah Memorial are maintained?

Or, what about the fate of the story of the recent successful presidency of Mr. Kufuor, even in the telling from some mouths within his own party?


Even so, I still wish we could add Mr. Kofi Annan to the list of leaders who have served in the presidency.

But what would be the response, should we dare to ask the men and women who are aspiring for the presidency in 2016, about the chance that Mr. Annan might be a better prospect as president?


Frankly, none among these politicians would be modest enough to admit or even think privately that Mr. Annan would be the better choice --- that he is already far beyond the pay grade of their individual experiences and achievements.

Rather, if asked, they would claim that Mr. Annan has had his glory and therefore should remain in retirement.


Why? Not because Mr. Annan is spent as an executive and administrative force. But rather because they would view the opportunity to run as God given chance to see themselves in office (and  not necessarily because they truly believe that they could serve Ghana better).

In absolute sense, they would claim that they deserve the chance most because they have been in the political line the longest and thus have become hallowed as honorable men even though they might be persons without that worth!

This lack of modesty would prevent such aspirants to see the difference between their puny experiences and that of Mr. Annan's as the former Secretary General of the UN, a competent administrator and a Nobel Prize winner to boot.

Mr. Annan served as the Secretary General of the UN for two consecutive terms - from 1997 - 2006.  He provided a service of distinction that brought him the Nobel Peace Prize in December of 2001.

By the way, Mr. Annan was not given the Nobel Prize because of a promise that brought him to the secretary generalship, or a hope for peace that could have materialized with his appointment.


The Nobel Prize was awarded to him and the UN organization, for concrete achievements during his term in office.

Mr. Annan administrative skills were legendary in office.

His courage in the face of adversity was also very visible.

I wrote in 2012 in a review of his book, Interventions: A Life in War and Peace, that, "The ideal qualification (of Mr. Annan) notwithstanding, the headaches that every Secretary General met while overseeing the huge UN organization remained.... the challenges at the UN were huge internally and externally - in structure and composition; made more complex by the inherent national interests of representative governments. These challenges, as backdrop, often impeded the exalted vision of the UN for advancing “collective security” for the world.

Ghana could be a microcosm, on a lesser scale in the administrative realm, of the UN under Mr. Annan. Though, we may have more than the share in tribal divisions and partisan interests!

Mr. Annan has a feel for good governance.  He was the one, among the world leaders of his time, who did his best to talk sense to Saddam Hussein before the Iraq War. That he failed had nothing to do with his skill or passion for peace. Had Saddam foreseen what Mr. Annan foresaw, the world, and especially the Middle East, would have been spared a lot of agony.

In his book, Interventions, Mr. Annan characteristically implied the implosion in Syria, long before it did; a logical reasoning starting from what had already happened in Libya (2012) and Egypt (2011).


Syria is burning now and the situation there has brought the world to the edge of a precipice.

So what does all this mean for Ghana?

Well, you have just seen a poor attempt on my part to delineate the qualities of a leader that a broken down country like Ghana could use. A man of foresight and pure intellect; a personality that a country such as ours should instinctively choose as a leader.


If this choice is not happening now, blame it on the inability of people like me to be convincing, not on Mr. Annan's.

But, please, remember, the Nobel Prize was awarded to him (and the UN) in recognition "for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world."

Who else could use this recognition, if not Ghana?

For Ghana, Mr. Annan could bring his immense political skill set and the courage used on many occasions to defuse strive worldwide, in addition to the long throve of respect he has garnered throughout his career with the UN.

Ghana could use some of this respect. The world would see us as having made a sensible choice.

Remember what happened when Ivory Coast elected President Alassane Dramane Ouatarra in December 2010, after years of civil war.

In a matter of few years Ivory Coast has bounced back. The estimated real growth rate of Ivory Coast for 2014 was 7.9%. That of Ghana for the same year was 4%.

Ivory Coast has gained stability and so much confidence from the financial world to the extent that it could recently float a bond and secure a better rate than our dear country, even though we have never experienced a civil war!

Mr. Ouatara, by the way, served with the International Monetary Fund, before becoming president. He was employed in a lower position than Mr. Annan was at the UN.

The potential for Ghana to be great has always been there. We led Africa once and we could again if we would select the right leader.


Let the write-in campaign begin.

E. Ablorh-Odjidja, Publisher, Washington, DC, December 01, 2015.
Permission to publish: Please feel free to publish or reproduce, with credits, unedited. If posted at a website, email a copy of the web page to . Or don't publish at all.



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