Saturday, 13 July

Ghana hasn't had leaders, we're a nation in crisis - Frank Adu & Alhassan Andani

Ghana's presidents under the 4th Republic

Two former banking executives, Alhassan Andani and Frank Adu Jnr, have labelled the country as a nation in crisis due to what they described as systematic leadership failures and structural deficiencies over the years.

For Mr Adu Jnr, a former Managing Director of CAL Bank, the country had always had a leadership problem, which, he said, had plagued its development for many years.

"We have not had leaders, but rather rulers. Leaders provide a vision to galvanise the people to follow and achieve that vision."

“In my 61 years, I don’t think that I have come across in this country a leader with a vision who has mobilised the resources and human capital to drive this nation forward,” he said.

Mr Andani, also a former Managing Director of Stanbic Bank Ghana, said the country had failed to fashion a systematic plan that would address the structural problems affecting economic growth.

“Malaysia and Singapore took some of their early development plan from 1Ghana. If we compare where they are and what we are doing today, then we are a nation in crisis. In Ghana, we spend too much time talking about economics instead of doing economics,” he said.


Messrs Andani and Adu Jnr, both old students of Achimota School, made the comments as panellists of a lecture organised by Old Achimotans in Accra last Thursday evening.

A Professor of Economics at New York University, Prof. Yaw Nyarko, delivered the lecture on the theme: “Ghana - A Country in Crisis: Defining a New Economic Direction”.

The annual thought leadership lecture attracted many notable old Achimotans, including legal luminary and statesman, Nana Dr S. K. B. Asante, who is also the Paramount Chief of Asante Asokore.

Political power

Sharing more thoughts on leadership, Mr Adu Jnr said the two major political parties — New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) — had come to the realisation that they would always be in power at some point.

In view of that, he said, they had become what he described as “laws unto themselves”.

“We have politicians calling themselves leaders, who think of themselves first, family second, party third and if we are lucky, the nation fourth. If we do not fix our governance structure, this country will not work,” he said.

Mr Andani said some people give political power to politicians not because of development, a situation which had emboldened politicians to underperform.

“We give them the power for every other reason other than development.

We give them the power because we speak the same language with them, because we go to the same church or mosque with them or because they come from our area."

“We must change the reason why we give the politicians power to push them to build strong, independent and powerful institutions that would hold them accountable and seek the interest of the country,” he said.


On how to further improve economic growth, Prof. Nyarko said there was the need for the government to allow the private sector the space to grow and take charge of the country’s economic development with support from state institutions.

“Government should not be choosing who should not be winners; it should set the framework and allow the very good people of Ghana to decide what to do to grow the economy,” he said.

Mr Andani said the country must adopt a system of effective self-regulation or else it would continue to face further challenges.

“Another thing about us is that we do not like hard work.

We are not patient; everybody is looking for shortcuts for quick money,” he said.

For Mr Adu Jnr, the government must make a conscious and deliberate effort to allow industries to grow and develop a value chain for the country’s natural resources.

He also called for the abolition of multi-party democracy which had bred the winner-takes-all phenomenon, and rather adopt real representative democracy with emphasis on a national development plan.

“We must have a single national development plan, where a President cannot change it but rather come to power to execute,” he said.