‘Listen to yourself’ is a call on all Ghanaians

BY: Kobby Asmah
The writer, Kobby Asmah
The writer, Kobby Asmah

At the ninth national delegates’ congress of the National Democratic Congresss (NDC) that took place at the Fantasy Dome at the Trade Fair Centre in Accra from Saturday and ended on Sunday, former President Jerry John Rawlings dished out a loaded message to delegates of his party.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I have just one-sentence message and listen me carefully,” the former President, who is the Founder and Chairman of the Council of Elders of his party, told the over 9,000 NDC delegates. Wrapping up with the one-sentence speech, the former President uncharacteristically stated: “I want to make an appeal; that we listen to ourselves.”


The suspense-filled Fantasy Dome looked on in disbelief as their founder uncharacteristically delivered one of the shortest speeches he had ever made in his political career.

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Ordinarily, advising his party to listen to itself should not cause hell to break loose, but soon after he had first thanked the speakers who came before him to address the congress that saw the election of new executives for the party’s 2020 agenda, the advice had been given multiple interpretations.

For the NDC delegates gathered, they were to exercise a crucial poll of electing their new national officers and who they elected would go a long way to impact the party either positively or negatively, hence the timely advice for the party delegates to listen to themselves before casting their votes.

That way, they will vote for competence, capability, long service, integrity rather than for monetary inducement, tribe, religion or cronyism.

Rawlings himself gave a clue of what he meant by the advice. “I can imagine how we would wish for the spirit of the old days, it is possible?” he asked, pointing out that it was only possible if members cultivated the habit of listening to themselves.

But once again, what is this wish for the spirit of the old days? Is it a wish for the spirit of the revolutionary period of the 80s where probity and accountability were the popular mantra or the NDC days in the early 1993 to January 7, 2001, when former President Rawlings exited the throne gracefully.

Listen to yourself speaks volume

But beyond this, listen to yourself speaks volume and could mean different things to different people. This is because as loaded as the message is, listen to yourself is like a self-check. Thus before you point an accusing finger at someone, you ought to remember that the remaining fingers are directly pointing at you and, therefore, we must avoid the temptation of the pot calling the kettle black.

I believe the message which is so loaded goes for all Ghanaians, including the former President himself.

Good old days

Listen to yourself, in my opinion, is, therefore, a call for the larger Ghanaian society, to work to bring back the good old days.

Like President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who during his inaugural speech, called on the citizenry not to be spectators but to be citizens, what I deduced from the former President’s call was not only a message for the NDC people but also for all Ghanaians to listen to themselves and act independently in the interest of the nation.

This requires of us a responsibility to be a key stakeholder in the good governance process.

Ghanaians desire and want the best but many of us do not want to work hard for the best. We criticise but we do not offer alternative solutions.
I believe when you listen to yourself, you talk less and act more and decisively. You are also able to identify your own shortfalls and try to make amends.

Virtue in listening

In my view, there are multiple advantages if one listens to himself or herself. You do not act in haste. There is always a virtue in listening to one’s self.
If you listen to yourself, you do not condemn or criticise at the least opportunity. This is because you will soon discover that you are equally guilty of that same criticism.

If you are in the habit of listening to yourself, you also avoid being easily predicted.

Often, people self-sabotage themselves by seeking to listen to others and do the wish of others at their own expense and even the peril of their lives.

Listening to yourself is, therefore, a virtuous call not only to the NDC delegates but to all Ghanaians who have the nation at heart.

Lessons from NDC congress

For the NDC delegates, after they had listened to all the messages from their various candidates, it was time for them to listen to themselves, obviously to elect the best leaders for their party.

I do hope the delegates of the NDC did just that and they did not vote for any other consideration but they listened to themselves first.

Lessons from the NDC congress should also point to the direction that the whole nation must begin to think and elect people who have the competence and can lead.

At least the election of Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo as National Chairman and the retention of Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia as General Secretary attest to the fact the NDC congress was an election for the grass roots and also proved that party service and loyalty pay. This is a good lesson for all of us as we strive to listen to ourselves the more.