In the era of former president Rawlings, most of the villages in Ghana voted based on the looks of a candidate. It was therefore common to have zero votes for J.J’s opponents in most villages- for all the people voted for the most handsome man in the ballot papers. There was therefore nothing to be surprised about when people in our villages started voting Gusi Tano during the 2000 elections all because he bore a striking resemblance to the former president Rawlings. This voting pattern was not all that wrong – perhaps the village electorates were just responding to the beautiful creation of nature. Lol!!! This makes me refer to what Sarkodie rightly said in his “the masses” song “we said JJ was handsome, (we were) attracted to the (sexy) eyes of Kuffuor and Mahama is of our age”
With this said, will it still be justifiable for us to vote based on the looks of an individual contestant, his religious, ethnic and gender identity? I believe going by this line of voting will be equivalent to using museum species in the era of globalization. Our parents’ was in a world without enlightenment; they could neither read nor write, and it is even beyond imagination to think that they knew of something called social media that provide information cheaply and timely, and sometimes provide us details before the actual events occur. It is therefore time for us to question ourselves whether there is the need to continue in this direction of handsome-based voting.
As a nation that is now blessed with so many educated souls, we must make sure that those we choose to lead us, both at the local and national level is done with critical analysis beyond the physical looks and morphology of the individual. We have the ability to read, write and access information cheaply and timely. Posterity will not forgive us if we base our selection of a candidate on the primitive yardsticks; just as the gods of our fathers shall wake us up in the night if we allow our parents to do so. They took us to schools to help them make wiser decisions; to relieve them from darkness caused by illiteracy; and to be their mouth piece where the words used are unknown to them – and we must do that without hesitation.
The bigger question then is; how should we select the candidate to vote for? Well I will try answering that in this piece without writing a book;
An individual who will serve you, who feels your pains and knows what you are going through will make moves to help you even if he or she is not in power and or seeking power. A true leader does not need to hear your cry only when you hold his destiny to an office – he must listen to you more when he needs nothing from you. So stay away from people who come to you with gifts when they are seeking office. These are traders – they are exchanging gifts for votes, and voting for them means selling your vote. The basic question to ask is as simple as this;
“Why will someone who wants to serve me offer me gifts to give him the chance to serve me?”
As people capable of processing and analyzing information, we can form smaller groups to discuss the general challenges of our societies and then examine the politicians for those who have the most realistic remedies for these challenges. Ask the question of where society is and where society needs to be; then move on with the question of who can help society get there. The fact that someone married your cousin is not enough reason to vote for him or her; just as the fact that you worship (pray) in the same mosque or church with someone should not make your thumbprint his default property. If you cannot at the personal level, tell people how a candidate will help move you from where you are to where you want to be, then you have no reason campaigning and or voting for that candidate.
Another reason that should not influence your choice of a candidate is the fact that the person attended your father’s funeral or spent 2 hours at your wedding. You must ask yourself how best the person can make the world for you to keep maintaining your wedding. And even more importantly, you must look beyond how much the fellow contributed when he attended your wedding to how much his performance (in office) will contribute to your ability to pay your child’s school fees; you must ask yourself how the fellow’s reign is preparing you as the next in line to take care of your family as your father leaves – not how much you were given to perform your father’s funeral; in a blurb, your emphasis should be on people who will provide the enabling environment needed to make you self-sustaining as well as the society.
I will end this piece by urging all of us (as Ghanaians) to come together to try as much to select genuine leaders who will man the affairs of our nation in a positive way to improve our conditions and livelihood. Let’s not be induced!!!
This article is written by Mr. Abubakari Sadiq Iddrisu (Abu)
External Audit Staff-Ernst & Young LLP
You can reach him on firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Facebook Zuu Bukali Sadiq Tia II