In 2000, I attended an NDC Convention. I was 15 years old. It was my first. I wanted to meet Atta Mills in person. If I had the chance to shake his hand, I will be the first boy in my class, in my neighborhood to have shaken hands with a presidential candidate.
I read the manifesto of the NDC. It was titled “Spreading the benefit of development”. I didn’t remember anything about the manifesto except the portion of the preface when Atta Mils said “We need all on board to help us meet the challenges”. “All” means I was included. I can play a part to meet the challenges of that time. My aunt was a staunch NDC member. I pleaded with her to go with me. She didn’t. I was 15 years and had no vote. I heard the siren blurring. Indicating the arrival of the prof in town. I picked one of my Aunt’s NDC regalia and ran straight to where the public had gathered and chanting the Prof’s name. I wanted to be in front of the line.
That was the only way I could have my dreams come true. That was the only way my hands could reach the Prof’s hand in a handshake that I would brag about. I sneakily walk through the legs of giants and small. shouting; “give me way, give me way, I’m coming, give me way”. By the time I got to the front line, the Prof had passed. He was just some inches away from where I stood. I stretched my hand calling the Prof but he didn’t hear. I missed my hand shake. When it looked like all hope was gone, Asiedu Nketia came along, shook my hands and the hands of others as he walked along. Miss the hand of the Prof, get the hand of Asiedu Nketia. When you jump to the sun, you might not get there but at least your feet get off the ground. Asiedu Nketia’s hand shake was my-feet-off-the-ground moment.
Eventually Prof mounted the stage to address the people. He screamed “We’ve done so much as a party for our people and the dreams still live on.” Today the Prof is dead. His dream of a better Ghana is still crawling. At least he was right, the dream lives and crawls but he’s not here. Some months later, John Kufuor won the election. I remember going back to school with a heavy heart that day. My heart wasn’t heavy because the Prof lost. I knew I was going to be teased and mocked for choosing a losing candidate. I got to school and they didn’t disappoint. I was heavily mocked! But I told them; “None of you here today will ever get the chance to shake the hands of Asiedu Nketia. But I did and you are here teasing me?” That prophesy was a lie! one of those guys who teased me works in the NDC secretariat now. Probably he dines with Asiedu Nketia every day and had shaken the hands of the president a million times.
All I have left is that one second handshake with the General. That was 16 years ago. Nothing matters now. Nobody cares about what happened then. Today we care about Akufo-Addo and his dream of “One district, one factory”. His chant for us to “Arise for Change”. We care about Mahama’s promise of; “Changing Lives. Transforming Ghana.” Wednesday is the general elections. Our minds are made up by now. We’ve decided who we will vote for and we are very much convicted that our choice is the right choice. Our choice of presidential candidate deserves the victory. What if who we vote for does not win? A contest of a million candidates will only have one winner. We have 7 candidates contesting. There is going to be only one winner. Actually, there should be one winner. What if your preference does not end up winning the slot? Does the world come to an end? Politics has nothing to do with it.
Your life wouldn’t change if you don’t decide to change it. It’s not about politics. It’s so much about what you do than who is the president of the nation. It’s unfortunate that our emotions are invested in this race so much so that whoever wins or lose affects our outlook. This is what you could do if the result doesn’t go your way; Accept That You Have No Power to Change the Result. You can wail. You can kick. You can cry yourself to sleep. When the Electoral Commission announces the winner, there’s nothing you could do to change it. Your power to change it will only come in the next four years.
And if the tide goes in your favor in the next election, you can see your candidate in power. This time around, all you could do is to accept the result and condition yourself to live for the next four years. Four years is not forever. It will come again very soon. And you will have the chance to vote again for whoever you love to rule the country. Whoever is The President of the Nation, your favorite Food Will Still Taste the Same. Jollof is still jollof no matter who is the president. Whoever becomes the president, you still have the freedom to do the things that excites you. Your friends are still your friends. You still have your job and you still have the love of people who truly love you.
The sky does not vanish just because your favorite candidate didn’t win. You still have the skies and all its beauties. The birds will fly and the breeze will still feel comforting and soothing in a warm night. Your favorite music will still play and you still can bust a move whenever the music is sweet and loud. Why fight when nothing is taken away from you? Accept You Alone Can Make the Change Your Life Desires. President will come and go and you will still have desires. You’ll still have needs that need to be satisfied. Governments will come and go and all the things you’ll ever need, you have to fight and get them. No president will ever throw food in your nest. You’ll have to fly in search of food every day.
Give Yourself the Chance to Believe Whoever Won the Race. Most of our worries stem from the fact that we were told not to believe who we didn’t vote for. During campaigning period, problems are exaggerated and petty issues are blown out of proportion. Our fears are triggered so we believe the worse when whoever we believed didn’t win. Give yourself the chance to see the brighter side of the candidate you didn’t like. You might not have liked some of their policies. Be honest with yourself, you thought some of their policies were awesome too. Just believe they can do well and give them the chance to do what they promised they’ll do. Congratulate Your Friends Whose Candidate Won.
Be the first to extend your congratulatory message. Show them you are not sore loser. Let them know campaigning periods are over so you can put those times behind you and friends again. When you give friends the opportunity to know you are bitter, they’ll come at you and make jokes out of your situation. Be bold and let them know you are over it. Your favorite didn’t win but it’s alright. You Still Want to Cry? Go ahead and cry if it makes you feel better. After all the tears and pain, when you switch on your TV, the newscaster will not fail to tell you who is the president of the country.
Author: Nesta Jojoe Erskine E-mail: [email protected] - Website: http://nestaerskine.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nestajojoeerskine/ Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/1312dreams/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/1312dreams/
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