Interestingly, the elections roadmap which was released by the Normalisation Committee (NC) of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) last Saturday confirmed my fears as it indicated clearly that the presidential election will crown the entire electoral exercise this time around.
Per the guidelines, the new GFA President will be elected at an Extraordinary Congress on October 25 to climax the reforms. On that same day, the NC will swear in the new 12-member Executive Council (ExCo) and officially hand over its interim stewardship which was mandated by FIFA on September 13, 2018.
A careful study of the roadmap makes one thing very clear; that the elections of the various constituent bodies of the GFA will precede the presidential election, thus supporting my argument in last week's article. That simply means some presidential aspirants might lose both the presidential seat and a chance to serve on the ExCo if they don't play their cards well. But that is of concern to me since some of the candidates have some qualities that can help make the new ExCo tick, without necessarily occupying the big seat.
'You can't eat your cake and have it', so say the sages. In that case, I expect all the aspirants to tread with cautious optimism from now till the elections. This is where I expect the power brokers and kingmakers in Ghana Football to step in.
Between now and the elections of the constituent bodies, comprising Premier League (5 slots), Division One (3), Elite Women's League (1) and Regional Football Associations (2), on October 24, a lot of consensus-building needs to take place among the presidential aspirants in the supreme interest of Ghana Football. Fortunately or unfortunately, we have reached a very critical stage where parochial interests have to be sacrificed for the general good of the game. And if any of the presidential candidates has Ghana Football at heart, I dont think it will be difficult to soften their stance to seek a Premier League or Division One League slot to serve on the ExCo.
To be blunt, not all the candidates who have so far declared their intention to contest, such as George Afriyie, Wilfred Osei Kweku (Palmer), Nana Yaw Amponsah, Fred Pappoe and Kurt Okraku truly qualify to become the next GFA president. I said last week that if the last GFA president, Kwesi Nyantakyi, with all his weaknesses, rose to become a CAF Vice President and a FIFA Executive Committee member, then his successor should be better than him. A high standard has been set, and the bar simply can't be lowered.
Many a sincere member of the football fraternity will tell you that the Ghana Football brand is now in tatters. That is why we cannot entertain any jokes at this crucial stage where getting somebody who can help rebrand Ghana Football is not negotiable! We need a personality who can repair the damage and also attract the corporate world to invest in the game.
My interaction with some top officials in the corporate world indicate that they are still interested in investing in Ghana Football, but the problem is who to trust with their money. That should be topmost agenda for football people as they head towards this historic elections. This elections should not be about friends and cronies at all! Neither should it be about money-sharing or voting for the highest bidder as I stated last week.
I don't have a vote, but as a key stakeholder of the game and a witness of the last reforms in 2005, I have quite an experience to share when it comes to such issues. Perhaps, if the chairman of the GFA Executive Council at the time, Y.A. Ibrahim (who was the father figure then), had been elected as the president or even served on the first ExCo, things might have been different.
The good news is that, aside the self-appraisal and consensus-building, there will also be a vetting process for the presidential candidates between September 26 and October 1. And to give a level playing field for all, the NC has made room for appeal for any disqualified candidate from October 2 to 4, after which the final list will be published on October 8.
But the point is, the presidential election should not be reckoned as a life and death affair for any of the candidates and their supporters. Elections are all about ideas and quality one brings to the table. If you believe in yourself and think life still goes in case you lose, you will not try to influence anybody with money to vote for you.
That reminds me of the advise given by the Board chairman of Hearts of Oak at the last SWAG Awards. The astute businessman and majority shareholder of Hearts cautioned delegates not to vote for any candidate who bribes them with money. His reason was simple: that those candidates who operate that way will find every means to get the money they invested in the campaign back when elected into office. That is food for thought from a wise king and an acclaimed businessmen.
A few weeks ago, I stressed on the need for the congressmen to vote for a unifier and a father figure who can be respected by all members of the football family and the whole nation. I still maintain that stand because that is what is lacking in Ghana Football at this point in time.
I pray such a character emerges by the close of nominations on Friday. If that happens, I will come out boldly to declare my preferred choice next week. That is a pledge!