Mr. Annan as president
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The Nobel Prize was awarded to
him and the UN organization, for concrete achievements during his term
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
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
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 www.ghanadot.com,
Washington, DC, December 01, 2015.
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