- Provides An Insiders Account Of The Elections
If you call Ovation Publisher Bashorun Dele Momodu an authority on Ghana affairs, you won’t be wrong. If you choose to describe him as the most influential Nigerian in Ghana, you will be correct. This is because Bob Dee as he is fondly called has been closely associated with Ghana for close to 30 years. He has been going in and out of Ghana all these years and he is one of the few Nigerians who is quite close to all the key personalities in the country. There is hardly any political leader in Ghana that Bob Dee has not met and interacted with. He is close to all the past Ghanaian presidents including the outgoing President Mahama. Before the last Ghanaian elections, he travelled across the length and breadth of Ghana, observing closely how events unfolded and he was actively involved in the campaign.
Last week, City People Publisher SEYE KEHINDE had breakfast with Bob Dee in Lagos and got him to reveal all that happened during the elections and the lessons for Nigeria.
How did you take the news of the victory of the new President in Ghana?
I had expected the incumbent President John Dramani Mahama, to win the elections. I had worked very closely with him especially in the area of media. My work was mainly to project the humougous achievements of President Mahama’s administration. I have travelled a bit across Africa. I can say without any fear of contradictions that the infrastructural projects done by President Mahama is almost second to none, in the area of Education, building new roads, building hospitals, rural electrification, water projects, stabilising their currency, (the cedi is one of the most stable currencies in the whole of Africa, if not the most stable.
But of course, no human being is perfect. There were people who felt Mahama did not give them jobs. They felt they had no money in their pocket and that life was tough and hard. But everything Mahama was doing was pointing in the right direction. If for example, you complain about unemployment, if you are a doctor the only way you can get a job is if there are hospitals. But nobody wants to wait. People want things here and now. Nobody is willing to wait till tomorrow. That was a major factor in Ghanaian politics. We tried to showcase his very, very ambitious projects. But there were people who resisted it. There were even people who didn’t want Ghanaians to see those things.
The fight that a lot of people have against me was the fact that I had exposed those projects. Everybody was saying he did nothing, he did nothing until they saw those projects. We did a special edition. He gave us access to a lot of these projects and it was just incredible. There is nobody whether you are opposition or pro-government who did not acknowledge the work he did. Of course when the election came, it was obvious that they were very well prepared. They control the majority of the media oganisations in Ghana. They control almost 80% if not more. They were smart to have invested in the past in the media though it paid off handsomely, eventually. Then there was palpable tension. It was obvious if the election had gone the way of government that some people were ready to fight.
So, once you are able to control the minds of the people and you are also able to use the psychology of warfare, you will control the situation. There was a psychology war that scared a lot of people. It was obvious that if things had gone the other way Ghana would have been in big trouble. But we thank God, for giving Ghana, a very, very sensible, very reasonable very humble, very forward looking President, called John Dramani Mahama. He took everything very camly. He said Ghana was more important to him than power, that there was nothing else he wanted that God has not done for him.
And he called his rival, Nana Akufo Addo and congratulated him, just before the announcement of the result. He also called Pres. Buhari in Nigeria, President of Senegal, Cod’Ivoire, Kenya. He managed to speak to a few of them before declaring his intention. Everybody applauded him for it I believe history will be kind to him for taking such a decision.
What do you make of the speech that was circulated online a few weeks back purportedly made by President Mahama, in which he found fault with his party leaders?
That must have been the fake speech some people apparently wrote, purporting that it was from the President. I can confirm to you that its a lie. We have a video reporting of his speech. He spoke very well. He was brief. There was no where he criticised his government or criticised himself. We’ve tried. If you go on UTube you can get the real version. We have tried to circulate the correct version but you know negative version circulates more and faster.
How do you see the new President elect Nana Akufor Addo?
He is a great candidate. Ghana is blessed with a lot of very good candidates. I have always referred to him as the Great Nana. Virtually all the candidates are very good. The Great Nana is a Lawyer. His father was once a President of Ghana, he went to some of the best schools. He is very eloquent, charismatic. He is a man of the world because he was foreign minister at a time in Ghana. So, he is known globally. He is a man who, from what he says, has plans for his country. But when you are not yet on the sit you never can tel how anyone can perform. I pray for him that God will help him to have a successful reign. I say this because of the drepression in most countries today, its not going to be very easy. But with determination and the support of international community I see no reason why he cannot make it. But I will also like to say for the records that he should be very careful that his government does not witch hunt anybody. Governments that have done so have found themselves in big trouble. Once you become the President you stop being the leader of your party. You are now the father of the nation. You embrace everybody. You should not spend all your time chasing all your opponents, tring to suppress them. My advice to him is to just do his job, and do it very well. He should give his job, the kind of passion he gace his political campaign. He ran 3 times before he made it
That is not an easy achievement.
What is the biggest challenge Pres. Mahama faced in the last 4 years. Is it the bad economy?
His biggest challenge has been unemployment. A lot of the young people today say the only thing that worries them is graduating and after 5 years they can get a job. But that is not peculiar to Ghana. And he did a lot to get people employed. Government alone cannot employ everybody. The entire work force of Ghana is 600,000 in a country of 25 million to 27 million people. So the way Mahama went about it was to creat an enabling environment, generate more industrialisation, make electricity stable. So that local artisans like welders can benefit from. There was a problem, for about 2 years there was collapse of eletricity which Ghanaians were not used to. He fixed it. Infact, the level it has reached now, they will be selling electricity to neighbouring countries. He did a lot. Like I always say its better you quit the stage when the Ovation is still very loud. I know Ghanaians for many generations to come would applaud him like they are all applauding Kwame Nkrumah.