In Africa and most parts of the world, the longevity of power has characterized political rule. Many civil wars in most African countries are as a result of self-impositions of dictatorial leaders. So it becomes very noble when one bows out of his own will and makes way for fresh minds and ideas to take over.
The former president who has made a come back into the political space, John Dramani Mahama, made a profound statement about leaving political office that should guide all politicians in the world.
“Throughout my Presidency, I was both applauded and criticized. I was both revered and reviled. When you find yourself standing at the centre of all that sound and fury, it is difficult to determine when it is, indeed, the loudest.” Unfortunately, he could not follow his own words.
The former president of Nigeria who also assumed office as the head of state under the same circumstances as John Dramani Mahama, and refused to stand for the presidency again even though he qualified to do. Goodluck Jonathan, after serving one term, lost his seat to President Buhari and has since been a revered statesman. He realized he could make great impacts as a former president than as a flagbearer.
Some have maintained that John Dramani Mahama is following the footsteps of president Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo to win the 2024 election and not 2020. He came in knowing he can’t win but would paint a picture that the election was rigged just like Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo did in 2012. After the landmark election petition at the supreme court, he had gained a lot of admiration and respect in Ghana’s politics.
When he was declaring his intention to run on the ticket of the NPP for the third time, he alluded to the statement he made after the supreme court delivered the judgment.
“As you may recall, I said on August 29, 2013, the day of the Election Petition verdict, that I would take some time out of the hurly-burly of politics, get some rest, reflect and then announce what I envisage for my political future. Despite all the controversy that bedevilled the 2012 presidential election, we, in the NPP, showed responsible citizenship and put the nation first before our desire for power, because of our love of Ghana. The message from NPP members was along the lines: “You, Nana Addo, remain our best chance for 2016; Ghanaians are telling us we should bring you back” The message from Ghanaians who are not NPP members, including supporters of other political parties, can be summed up as: “We have heard your message, we know who you are and what you stand for, and we are ready to vote for you in our numbers in 2016.”
But the question is, can Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo say the same thing in 2020 should he be voted out of power? Politics is very dynamic and a complex business in which one can not be very certain about the out of results, so can he contest again if he does not win this year’s election?
By 2024, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo would be 80 years old, which means he might have become weaker than he is now. In his own interest and the interest of his health, his doctors must advise him to take a rest as an octagenarian. Presidential candidates for the two major political parties i.e. New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress is a tedious job.
They move around the country begging for votes, and that would be an arduous task for an 80-year -old man to perform. He would have to attend meetings and campaign rallies at odd hours he should be resting at his age. And even because he would be leaving office at about 85 should he attempt and win does not look good.
One thing his opponents used against him in 2012 and 2016 was his age. The members of the NDC were calling him their grandfather, and some even doubted his health and the functioning of his brains. It would be suicidal for the NPP to repeat the same mistake in 2024 by presenting Nana Addo as their flagbearer should they lose this year’s election while young and competent men are at the party.
Nana Akufo Addo’s childhood dream of becoming a president has been fulfilled, so there would be no use for him to contest again when he loses this year’s election.