The last few days have been filled with talks about Her Excellency the 1st Lady of Ghana, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo. It has been nothing but praise from people all over the country, congratulating her on the good works she has been up to since she became the first lady of the republic with the recent one being the construction of an ultra-modern health facility at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, a Mother and Baby Unit to be precise.
Put your ears closely to the ground and you could hear people murmuring of just how wonderful she would be as a real leader of a nation. This is how the ultimate journey of leadership starts, people begin to talk about how good you could be as a leader even without your knowledge.
So the question is: will Mrs. Akufo-Addo be the first female president of Ghana? And why have people on a silent note begun to crave for her to be the president some day? This is an extremely difficult question to answer for anyone who has absolute knowledge of the political terrain of Ghana but let us examine some situations that may very well play to her advantage.
Since Ghana begun constitutional rule in 1992, Ghana has been blessed with five different First ladies, starting from the ever controversial Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings to the present First lady in the person of Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo. Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings had reputational damages during her husband’s time of office, after being involved in some very bad controversies or negative publications in the media. She was accused in the late 90s of using her position to acquire state factories like Nsawam Cannery. Even though up to today, she hasn’t faced any judicial trial over these allegations, it continues to haunt her and seem to have permanently damaged her reputation. Same can be said of Mrs. Lordina Mahama who exited office in 2016. She found herself at the wrong side of the media as accusations of using state resources for donations in a bid to win votes for her husband in the run-up to the elections filled the media. Whether these allegations were true or just propaganda by opposition owned media, they caused damage to her reputation as the First Lady as the public begun to ask of the source of the money she spent on her charity works.
The other two former first ladies of Ghana, Mrs. Theresa Kufuor and Mrs. Ernestina Naadu Mills on the other hand were the reserved and media-shy type. They were hardly seen in the public domain or making any headlines in the media, whether good or bad. To put it simply, they were not people cut out for the type of job that demanded media relations.
Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo however does not inherit any of these features from the former first ladies. Ever since her husband, the president of Ghana, assumed office, she has never had any tango with the media over a negative publication nor has she ever been accused by the public of using state resources to her advantage in this era of massive corruption at state institutions. On the contrary, she has the utmost respect of the media and the general public and the kind of reverence the media attaches to her name when a story concerning her pops up is evidenced. Not so surprising some of the media practitioners and the public prefer to address her as Maa, a Twi word which means ‘mother’, instead of as the first lady. Her reputation is intact and every passing day it seems to get stronger and stronger, making a silent case for her.
She also seem to possess this quality attribute of not being media-shy and always there to grant media interviews at events while also making it a point to attend important public gatherings unlike Mrs. Kufuor and Mrs. Mills who were not seen so much at public events and gatherings. This has won her a lot of admiration and goodwill in the media while also making her more popular with each passing day.
Her recent construction and commissioning of the Mother and Babies Unit at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital through her NGO, the Rebecca Foundation has even won her more public admiration and support, with various NGOS, activists and public figures commending her for such a marvelous job.
And to the surprise of many this seems to be just the beginning rather than the end as she promised to raise funds and put up similar structures across the country, and even going ahead to announce that there was a left-over of funds from the donations people made towards the construction of the facility.
History may not be on her side, but every passing day she continues to warm herself into the hearts of the populace and there is no stronger factor that brings change than the voice of the people. For now she is the First Lady, respected, trusted and loved by the public but in a matter of years’ time, when her husband has finished serving his tenure, the calls may grow stronger and she would have to listen to the calls.
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