“Such a time as this” A man for the times; a man for the moment

By Etse Sikanku


“…And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

The story of Esther and Mordecai is one of the greatest stories of the Bible for many reasons. There are a lot of lessons to be drawn from that powerful story but for now I’ll like to focus on something that struck me after listening to Esther 4: 14.

There is a great spiritual lesson to be learned there; which is that we were all born for a specific purpose ingrained in specific moments and it is something we have to be conscious of as well as seek dutifully to fulfill. It also demonstrates that when we find ourselves in “royal” positions or high positions, it is not necessarily for our own gain but for a larger and higher purpose beyond self—a certain utilitarian goal; the good of all.

The other thing that struck me after listening to this passage recently one was the idea that moments, times and seasons are important. And that it is very critical to first of all recognize important moments and times and secondly to cogently meet those moments and times with the needed resources, skills and personalities.

My mind then went to the moment we are in as a nation, continent and generally as a global community and what would constitute a major characteristic or feature of the modern world. The word technology came up. There is no doubt that we live in a technologically deterministic era in which high speed internet and digital applications have become the dominant feature of the modern world. In fact, my mind went to the many conferences I had attended and many materials I’d read which pointedly, without reservations, demonstrated that if Africa was to make significant progress technological innovation will be a deciding factor.

I remembered listening to professionals, technocrats and experts at professional and academic conferences extol the need for Africa to move speedily towards integration, mainstreaming and foregrounding technological adoption including digitalization as a major national drive and culture.
I remembered hearing inspiring stories about change and transformation in the world about how many sectors such as the food chain process, industrialization, health care and education were impacted by technology. When it came to agriculture, I remember reading about how the adoption of new technology and digital systems had not just opened markets but affected how food is grown, produced and ultimately distributed.

Clearly, it played a landmark role in tackling poverty and reducing hunger.
I remembered reading about how digitization had spurred participation, enhanced democracy, ensured efficient service delivery in the public sector including the massive transformation in the justice delivery system and the march towards curbing corruption.

I remembered listening to Kenya’s president, the super inspirational, ever futuristic Willam Samoi Ruto talk about how “digital policies across the continent will fast-track Africa’s ambition to position itself as the foremost global trade powerhouse powered by the African Continental Free Trade Area Framework” at Uhuru Gardens. And here I quote a bit more from President Ruto, one of the most respected and revered presidents in Africa right now

. He once stated pointedly that “Agricultural innovation and technology remain key to poverty reduction”. At other platforms he has maintained that “innovation has the potential to introduce economies to the possibilities of the digital economy and increase intra-Africa trade, thus accelerating regional integration.”

His Excellency William Ruto has also extoled the virtues of a digital identity platform something that Dr Bawumia has spearheaded in Ghana through the Ghana card with attendant benefits including the creation of a credible and useful database system for planning, policy making, private sector growth and development.

Indeed, many technocrats have said that the digital arena is one the largest avenues for job creation for the youth in Africa emphasizing that technology presents a multitude of opportunities for business and jobs in the contemporary era. Digitization will enhance deliberative democracy by giving every Ghanaian the opportunity to participating the national conversations.

I remembered the times and moment we find ourselves as a nation. Undoubtedly, we live in a digital-centred era. We live in a technological deterministic era. We live in an era of technology and innovation. Then, I was reminded of the most vocal, credible, and actionable voice when it comes to digitalization in Ghana. Of course, your guess is as good as mine. I was reminded of the modern-day apostle of digitization; the tireless prognosticator; the relentless advocate and the unapologetic emissary of the digitalization gospel in Ghana—Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.

This happens to be an example of a man meeting the moment, a man for the times. A man for such a time; such a time as this—such a time of technological ubiquity, such a time of digital proliferation. Such a time. Such a man. Such a moment. Dr Mahamudu Bawumia: a choice for the time; a choice for the moment and a choice for such a time of digital transformation. In a digital age, we need an apostle of digitalization. An apostle of digitalization for a digital age: Dr Mahamudu Bawuma. A man for such a time.


G. Etse Sikanku is a political and communication analyst.

The driver’s mate conundrum; By Etse Sikanku

There have been a lot of conversations about the use of the driver’s mate phrase by Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia. It has been the subject of widespread commentary sometimes bordering on ridicule, humour and attack.

While this is all well and good, it has drowned the undergirding or larger point made by the Vice President. Perhaps more importantly, it also obfuscates or denies us the opportunity to appreciate the latent meanings embedded in the analogy and the values therein contained.

In short, the concept of a driver’s mate is familiar to us all. He’s an assistant, a vice, a deputy or a supporter to the main person in charge.

Far from running from responsibility, there are certain positive elements in the description used. And this could be a lesson in leadership or life value we can all learn from. As a Vice president, there is a certain element of support, assistance, dependability, loyalty and service and to a very credible extent, humility expected of the office holder.

Servant leadership is something that has consumed leadership and the governance industry for some time now. There is an expectation that leadership shouldn’t simply be about power but about service to the people and authority. The Vice President perceives himself as a person of service not only to the nation but the president who is his direct head.

Certainly, it is worth appreciating that as a Vice President, he didn’t see himself in competition with the President but rather from a position of service.

It takes some measure of humility to be able to adopt such a position of public service and servant leadership. It assured the president that he had a loyal and dependable assistant who he could count on. Every leader would appreciate having a humble vice or assistant devoid of ego, airs and certain chips which may denote a sense of entitlement, equality or power play. This fosters trust, unity and purposefulness to the national cause.

In the long history of presidential and vice presidential studies, we all know of Vice Presidents who have used the position as power bases, not always directly or consciously, but in ways that have been distractive to the presidency or bred suspicion, to put it mildly.

Sometimes they have created fiefdoms that have at times led to serious cracks or divisions in an administration. This is something many Ghanaians would not accuse Dr Bawumia of. VP Bawumia earned the trust of his boss the President.
I’m pretty sure most of us would look out for the measure of dependability when looking for an assistant.

Another value very closely related to the idea of a servant leader or dependable assistant is that of dutifulness. As a mate, you’re expected to be conscientious, and devoted to the task set before you.
The concept of a mate or an assistant thus has a major measure of responsibility associated with it. What has to be communicated more is not a sense of non-responsibility but rather that of commitment and devotion to the national course.

Once a president is elected, he becomes a national figure. The Vice president’s service to him though initially partisan immediately transitions to a nationalistic duty/service.
Of course, this is not to hold brief for any acts of responsibility on the side of the Vice President or President. And of course, as a critical thinker, the Veep is always expected to offer his perspectives during discourse and debate.

It is simply to add to the conversation and bring to the fore the values of capability, dedication, devotion, dependability, energy, humility, dutifulness and the perspicacity Vice President Bawumia brings to the table.


G. Etse Sikanku is a political and communication analyst.

WASSCE 2023: UG Senior Lecturer Calls for Free SHS Policy Review

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS)-University of Ghana, Dr. Jerry Joe Harrison has questioned the emphasis on examination-centered quality measures, pointing out concerns about infrastructure, teaching contact hours, and overall educational quality. His comments follow the congratulatory message from the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Vice President, as well as criticisms from Former President John Dramani Mahama and Hon Clement Apaak regarding the performance of the 2023 WASSCE candidates.

In a social media post on Wednesday, December 20, 2023, the Ghana Education Service congratulated all 2023 WASSCE candidates for producing the best results in nine years.

Source: Ghana Education Service

Data from the GES showed passes in the core subjects: In 2015, during Mahama’s presidency, the pass rate for English Language was 45.20%, and by 2016, it moderately increased to 51.60%. Fast forward to 2023, under Akufo-Addo, the pass rate soared to 73.11%, a substantial improvement from 60.39% in 2022.

Similarly, Integrated Science showed improvement from 28.70% in 2015 (Mahama) to 48.35% in 2016. In 2023 (Akufo-Addo), the pass rate reached 66.82%, compared to 62.45% in 2022.
Mathematics results in Mahama’s era (2015) were at 32.40%, slightly increasing to 33.12% in 2016.

However, under Akufo-Addo, the pass rate in 2023 reached 62.23%, showing steady progress from 61.39% in 2022. Social Studies demonstrated stability with a marginal increase from 57.40% in 2015 (Mahama) to 54.55% in 2016. Recent years (Akufo-Addo) witnessed a noteworthy surge, with the pass rate reaching 76.76% in 2023, a substantial rise from 71.51% in 2022.

The social media post by GES, therefore, indicated “2023 result is the best in 9 years.”

During Mahama’s tenure (2015-2016), the pass rates in the core subjects exhibited moderate improvements. However, under Akufo-Addo’s leadership (2022-2023), there was a marked and substantial advancement across all those subjects, indicating a positive trend in academic performance.

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS)-University of Ghana, Dr. Jerry Joe Harrison

In an interview with MyNewsRoomGh’s Dickens Asare Ofori Adjei, Dr. Harrison underscored “the fact that the Government could procure ‘past questions’ for students as part of the Free SHS policy is a testament to the Government’s resolve to see a good examination outcome. However, this examination-centered quality measure does not adequately reflect the real imbibition of the various contents that are taught.”

“Against this backdrop and given the spate of examination malpractices recorded in recent years, I am less confident that this observed relative improvement in examination results is a true reflection of quality improvement in the implementation of the Free SHS. I must add that the scale of malpractices recorded, many of which involved school administrators, undermines the credibility of the examination results.” He added.

Although the education body noted a great jump with an average of 60% and above in the past five years’ performance in core subjects, Dr. Harrison supports Member of Parliament for Builsa South Constituency, Hon. Clement Apaak’s assertion that comparing recent WASSCE results to previous years is problematic due to the introduction of the customized Ghana-WASSCE from 2020 onwards.

“The customization of WASSCE for Ghana raised questions about the standard, whether it meets the standards set by the rest of the West African countries. It also makes it difficult to compare how our students are performing compared to our neighbors.”

“In the past, because all the students in West Africa took the same examination, it was possible to compare the performance of our students against their counterparts in other West African states. “

On December 26, 2023, John Dramani Mahama, the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) raised concerns about the authenticity of the recent results for the West Africa Senior Schools Certificate Examination (WASSCE). He alleges that some invigilators and teachers have been aiding students in cheating during the exams.

Discussing John Dramani Mahama’s proposal to review the Free SHS policy if he secures the 2024 presidential election, Dr. Harrison outlined critical areas that warrant urgent attention; merit payment system, restructuring boarding admissions, improving food quality, and addressing the teacher-to-student ratio.

“The infrastructure deficit itself is a problem for the sustenance of the policy and this needs to be addressed to ensure students can learn in comfort. In addition to classrooms, more dormitories and assembly halls need to be built as well as laboratories for science students, studios for students in other programs. These are a huge drain on the economy and that is why these have been largely ignored. However, the impact of these on the quality of education cannot be underestimated. A review must, therefore, place the students as well as the welfare of teachers at the center.”

Debut book on Ghana’s second-highest office and Bawumia’s term ready for release

Political communication scholar and analyst, Dr. Etse Sikanku, is set to release a book examining the persona and contributions of Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to Ghana’s public and political space.

The book titled “Dr. Bawumia and the Modern Vice Presidency in Ghana” makes a pivotal contribution to drawing attention to the evolutionary status of the Vice Presidency and Dr. Bawumia’s significant role in contributing to the reinvention of the office.

Notably, this marks the first-ever dedicated exploration of the second-highest political office in Ghana and Dr. Bawumia’s tenure. Dr. Sikanku, known for his seminal work “The Afrocentric Obama and lessons on political campaigning,” applauds Dr. Bawumia for injecting dynamism, energy, humility, empathy, and innovation into a traditionally symbolic role.

The book challenges preconceived notions about the Vice Presidency, positioning Dr. Bawumia’s tenure as a catalyst for the office’s reinvention.

“Considering that the Vice presidency in many democracies has been one of limitation, tradition, and symbolism,” Sikanku asserts, “Dr. Bawumia’s activism, perspicacity, and dynamism as Vice President deserve to be documented.”

Scheduled for an early release next year, “Dr. Bawumia and the Modern Vice Presidency in Ghana” promises to serve as essential reading for the public and students of political science, government, communication, and leadership. Sikanku’s work draws out institutional, leadership, and communication lessons from Dr. Bawumia’s transformative role, making it a pivotal contribution to understanding the evolving status of the Vice Presidency in Ghana.