Ebo Quansah in Accra .
The President does no wrong. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is our leader. The Head of State of the Republic of Ghana must be walking on air. Following a series of achievements of late that are gradually defining his qualitative leadership in the African Continent, where dinosaur political leadership is wrecking disaster on the citizenry, Nana Akufo-Addo is the Man of the Moment.
It may not yet be Uhuru (freedom) in the West African nation sitting right in the middle of the earth, but evidence is emerging of a society pulling itself from the brink.
When the time was ticking leading to the plebiscite on last December to decide whether or not six new regions were to be created out of the 10 in existence, rancour and bitterness nearly tore this society apart. There were threats of succession from the Volta Region especially, led by highly regarded opinion leaders. The new leadership of this nation persisted cajoling residents to see the brighter side of life. In his view, smaller and manageable regions areas attracting development projects to themselves was the best to go in our development module.
In the end, when the date for the referendum arrived, not only did the event attract voters in their huge numbers, there was an overwhelming endorsement of the Presidential proposal. For the first time in the history of the political evolution of this country, more than 90 percent of respondents voted Yes. The voter turn-out of 90 percent and above set a new record in people queuing and voting in Ghana.
That vote did not only indicate the willingness level of the people to approve the creation of the six new regions, it was a clear manifestation of the people’s endorsement of the leadership of this country. Indirectly, those who queued to vote overwhelmingly endorsed the leadership of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
I was pleasantly surprised when former President John Dramani Mahama, an avowed critic of the policies of the sitting President, voted in his native Bole Constituency and showed his ‘Yes’ symbol to television cameras before casting his vote.
It was a clear endorsement of President Akufo-Addo and his policy on the creation of the six new regions. Whatever the former head of state says in his defence, at that point in time he was clearly endorsing the policies of the sitting Head of State.
Mr. Mahama is, himself, an object of silent protests from his rivals in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer race over the way and manner the leadership of the party Jerry Rawlings founded, appears to be clandestinely skewing the contest in favour of the former President. But that does not form part of today’s discussion. The issue at hand is to celebrate the President for his landmark achievements of the past two weeks.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo performed the re-opening of the AngloGold Ashanti mines at Obuasi on Tuesday, January 22, and followed it up barely four days later with the supervision over the ceremony at which the new Ya-Na Abubakari Mahama II was outdoored at Yendi, and which closes the chapter on the Abudu-Andani conflict in Dagbon, after sixteen years of hostilities.
Naturally, the Head of State was an elated man when he performed these two transformational events. At Obuasi, Nana Akufo-Addo got the crowd cheering madly when he assured them that the circumstances that led to the closure of the mine, and which virtually turned the once-vibrant Obuasi township into a ghost town, would never be allowed to recur under his watch.
“I assure management and staff that the sequence of events that led to the closure will not re-occur under the tenure of my government. The days of forceful encroachment on the concession of the company, as witnessed between 2011 and 2016, are over,” Nana Akufo-Addo assured.
According to the road-map for full operation, the re-development is expected to take 30 months to deliver 400,000 ounces of gold in 22 years. The project includes re-designing the underground mine, re-furbishing and upgrading the underground and surface infrastructure to support efficient operations.
An elated Head of State said: “When mining companies collaborate on an intelligent and sustainable manner, more can be done to transform mining countries. I have no doubt that AngloGold, under its current management, will be a constructive partner on the journey.”
With the re-opening of the mine, at one point in time the richest single gold mine in the world, is expected to rake in US$2.16 billion in revenue over the projected 22-year period in royalties and withholding tax. The management is also expected to pay US$1.6 billion over the 22 years.
As expected, the mineworkers are delighted with the new development. “The good news is that it is bouncing back, and for that matter, we are going to get some good members employed,” Mr. Pius Kojo Backah, Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Mine Workers Union, told the media.
The closure of the mine has exacted a huge cost on the town and its people. A number of people migrated from Obuasi during the mine closure, making it a ghost town. Ash Gold, the premier division football club owned by the company, flirted with relegation as it lost most of its sponsorship packages from the mother company, until the club was bought by a private businessman.
From Obuasi, Nana Akufo-Addo went to Yendi, the capital of the Dagbon State, which had been in conflict with itself for the past seventeen years. On March 22, 2002, a long-standing chieftaincy dispute between the two royal gates to the Gbewaa throne exploded into an open conflict, during which Ya-Na Yakubu Andani was killed.
For sixteen years the two factions were at each other’s throats. Yendi, and by extension the Dagbon area, knew no peace. It took 16 years of hard work, involving a commission’s report, a botched up trial involving 40 suspects, and finally a Committee of Eminent Chiefs cajoling job, headed by Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, to broker peace.
At the weekend, a highly-elated Head of State was at the Gbewa Palace in Yendi to witness a historic installation of a new Overlord of Dagbon. Ya-Na Abubakari Mahama II was enskinned which ceremony was witnessed by thousands of Ghanaians and foreign visitors.
The ceremony officially ended the sixteen year-old conflict. The ceremony was attended by both sides to the Dagbon dispute, prominent politicians and members of the Ghanaian civil society.
It was only natural that the new Overlord reached out to his people to strive for peace. Ya-Na Abubakari Mahama invited both sides to the chieftaincy dispute to bury the hatchet and work for peace and development of the Dagbon Kingdom.
When the President entered the fray, he was in his element. Sporting a bright new yellow smock over typical northern leather boots, the President took pride in the fact that it was under his watch that peace had finally come to Dagbon.
“For me, as President of the Republic, I feel a sense of excitement, because it is under my tenure of leadership that Dagbon, hopefully, finally finds the path to a lasting peace,” the President thundered into the air, with traditional Dagomba drums beating with peace and joy messages.
“We are not to rest on oars and assume that every citizen of Dagbon is elated about the new peace and the enskinment of a new Ya-Na. Indeed, there is a new term for the people who profit from conflicts. They are called conflict-prenuers. We have to be resolute in warding off such people.
He told the cheering crowd that as a result of his approval for the peace process in Dagbon, he, the Head of State of this Republic, has assumed a new name to reflect on the exigency of the occasion.
With immediate effect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo is to be known as Abudani – reflecting –Abudu and Andani – the two Gates to the chieftaincy dispute.
The assembly in Yendi, a clear ‘who is who’ in the political, traditional and religious sectors of this nation, told the story of unanimity that has brought peace to Dagbon.
It has been a long journey to peace. In the final analysis though, the colour of the enskinment ceremony was worth the long wait. For the sitting Head of State, it has been a week of fulfillment.
From his strides, it is evident that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is walking tall. The emporia surrounding these key events tell the story that the people of Ghana are rejoicing with the man who has given all his adult life to the service of his political party – the New Patriotic Party and the State of Ghana.