Prompt: Dr. Spio-Garbrah is no nino to the public terrain. He has run for the presidency before and has been in the public imaginary for the longest time. This may be his last stab at glory or risk being consigned to history as the president who never was.
Pro: the case for Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah
He looks like a president; sounds like a president and speaks like a president. To some people he is the ‘enfant terrible’ of the NDC; to others he is the ‘beau ideal’. Ekwow Spio-Grabrah is the kind of guy who looks like he should have been president a long time ago.
This is not surprising. Spio has proven his mettle in various capacities both nationally and internationally. One of the most important criteria anyone needs to clear in order to have any chance at the presidency is what analysts call the presidential bar. It’s a loose way to describe the temperament, maturity, character and general disposition of aspirants.
No matter how substantive you may be, voters need to see in you a person who befits the image and stature of the presidency. If ever there was an ideal candidate, it would be Ekwow Spio-Grabrah. He would clear the presidential bar with the tip of his finger.
Ekwow Spio-Grabrah will be a top-notch candidate. His qualification for the job is without doubt. Maybe over qualified. His national experience is spectacular; his intelligence is paranormal and his gifts are exceptional. He has wide ranging governmental appointments dating back to the Rawlings era.
Students of history would credit Uncle Spio-Garbrah with the creation of the now widely popular GetFUND- never mind the fierce struggles and effigies that came with it in the turbulent politics of the1990s. His international stature is remarkable, clearly out shining his other potential contenders. Spio-Garbrah would be a competitive president on the global stage.
His managerial undertakings are incredibly wide, his knowledge is profoundly vast and his expertise is extremely high. Spio Garbrah’s academic laurels are the stuff of a legend. In Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Ghana, will have a smart, bright and sharp brain at the helm of government.
Some people are born great, some achieve greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them (William Shakespeare). Spio-Garbrah has achieved some great things in life but he definitely comes off as the ‘born great’ types.
There are some people who easily charm and impress by their demeanour and speech. They don’t have to make the effort. It’s all there: charisma, attractiveness and eloquence. More than once I’ve heard this remark about him: “I don’t know exactly why. I just like him”. Well, if successful politicians are supposed to charm and ‘woo’ then Ekwow sure has a foot in there.
In a business where emotional connection is key, Ambassador Spio-Garbrah seems to have some advantage in terms of magnetism and charisma. Mr Spio-Garbrah would probably be competing with Haruna Iddrisu in terms of inspiration. Both are deemed major role models. If the National Democratic Congress (NDC) wants someone who can appeal to both hearts and minds, then they need not to look further.
Every human being has their fatal flaw. I am not exactly sure at what point this gained ground but there are many out there who perceive Dr. Spio-Garbrah as arrogant. He may have great quality and depth but there are some who seem to have issues with his persona or his image. You may call it the 2008 Akufo-Addo problem. When Nana first attempted the presidency he was rightly or wrongly perceived as haughty and entitled.
It would not be further from truth, to say that politically, Spio-Garbrah is deemed to have a similar problem. This is not just a minor glitch. It’s deeply ingrained. One could argue that straight shooters or people who often tend to speak their mind are fairly or unfairly subject to this criticism (arrogance of Spio-Garbrah) but the perception is there. And in politics perception matters.
Unless Uncle embarks on a major image makeover, reframing or rebranding expedition, his chances of occupying the golden seat would be in serious jeopardy.
Ambassador Spio-Garbrah does not only have a perception problem. He has a historical blot to contend with. Among the magnificent achievements Spio-Garbrah has attained for this country, he has also managed to gift Ghana with some memorable lexicons. Ask anyone what they remember about Spio in recent times and they would mention ‘Team A, Team B’ or ‘pissing in, pissing out.’
These phrases have become popular in Ghana, thanks to an article written by Ekwow Spio Garbrah in the Daily Graphic during the early days of the late Professor Atta Mills administration. In that article he critiqued the then President for some appointments he deemed subpar.
To be specific, he wrote: “There is a general measurable view around the country that the NDC government can indeed achieve more results faster if it simply ensure that the right NDC people…are in the right positions, a large segments of the public have been asking why the government may have chosen to field some players from.
Team ‘B’ when many team ‘A’ players are available “(Ghanaweb/Daily Graphic). The response, as one might expect, was swift and pointed. Mr Ato Ahwoi in a rebuttal said: ” I am telling Spio Garbrah that he is not the only intelligent man in the world Spio Garbrah is not the only intelligent man in the NDC” (Ghana Web sourcing a JOY FM interview).
Spio has apologised ever since and explained himself again and again. Only time will tell whether the man once deemed persona non grata would be fully embraced by the party.
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