General News of Sunday, 1 March 2015
NPP Vice Presidential candidate has responded to President John Mahama’s call on Ghanaians to learn from the Black Stars who turned hopelessness into strength by hoping.
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says the senior national team’s ability to rise from a seeming hopelessness to near glory at the just ended AFCON 2015, was founded on competence and not just hope.
He was speaking to students of the Wa Campus of the University of Development Studies on Saturday.
Presenting his third State of The Nation Address before Parliament Thursday, president John Mahama traced the history of the Black Stars from 2006 when they first qualified the World Cup final.
He recounted the embarrassing turn of events at the last World Cup in Brazil and the rise of the team from that episode to near glory in the African Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea where they lost the final in a pulsating penalty shootout against Ivory Coast.
The president said, “We must not allow ourselves to be sucked into the vortex of cynicism and extreme partisanship. Like the Black Stars, let us fashion out of the jagged rocks of fleeting setbacks, smooth stepping-stones to greater laurels.”
But reacting to the comments, Dr. Bawumia said, the most important factor that determines the performance of any team is competence and not hope.
It is only competent players that can deliver results for a team, he argued, adding a mediocre team will inevitably produce mediocre results.
“Our Black Stars can be used as a benchmark for us to look up to because we have a Black Stars team made up of competent players in their own right. Competent players deliver results. A mediocre team will give you only mediocre results no matter the hope you have in them.
“Teams don’t win just on the basis of hope. If a team has a coach who is not good and players who are not good, disciplined and committed, then of course everyone would be justified to be cynical about the chances of that team,” he said.
Dr. Bawumia explained that it is for this reason that there are constant changes in the Black Stars and all over the footballing world at the playing and technical levels.
“Teams win because they work at it. A team performs when it has a competent coach or management whose tactics work and good, disciplined and committed players. Players who are not doing well are dropped for better players who fit the needed requirements. New coaches are appointed to replace coaches who are not getting results. These are the critical factors to ensuring performance for any team including the Black Stars,” he noted.
Posing a series of questions to the audience, who answered loudly in the negative, Dr. Bawumia explained that same way players and coaches are dropped, governments which miss golden opportunities to transform their economies and improve on the living conditions of the people, should be shown the exit to pave way for a competent administration to deliver the needed results.
“If you choose a player who cannot perform, will you select them again? “If you give a player the chance to take a penalty and they turn to kick the ball in the opposite direction (and turn around to tell you it is a smart penalty kick), will you field them again?
“If you catch your goalkeeper or captain taking bribes to sell a match, will you field that goalkeeper or player?
“So same way players and coaches are dropped when they fail to perform, as a government when you waste a golden opportunity, you should be shown the door. Three years after Ghana started exporting oil, we have arrived cup in hand at the door step of the IMF begging for a bailout! This is unforgivable!” he added.
Dr. Bawumia who focused on the current troubled state of the Ghanaian economy pointed out that despite the fact that the current government had accrued much more resources than any government in our history, the economy was now virtually broke because of mismanagement and the unprecedented corruption.
Touching on the extremely high levels of borrowing by the government, Dr. Bawumia noted that as a result of the frightening accumulation of debt under the NDC, the huge interest payments Ghana now has to cough up, means that government now has very little to spend on the critical sectors of the economy.
“The interest payments on this debt in 2014 alone is four times Ghana’s oil revenue in 2014! In 2015, interest payments alone on the debt would amount to GHC9.5 billion (compared to a total debt stock of GHC9.5billion in 2008). How can this be described as smart borrowing?
“The increase in interest payments by 4.3% of GDP between 2008 and 2015 (i.e. from 2.8% in 2008 to 7.1% in 2015) has left the government with very little money to spend on other critical areas,” he said.
The well-attended event was held under the auspices of the Economics Students Association of the University of Development Studies.