One of the alchemy of ingredients that constitute great leadership is courage; great leaders are said to demonstrate boldness. Leadership takes courage, and it’s about making bold and often unpopular decisions. Aristotle called courage the first virtue, because it makes all of the other virtues possible. Other important virtues like creativity wither in the absence of courage.
In July 2014, Parliament approved an agreement between the Government of Ghana and British company Lonrho Ports for the development of an oil and gas free port at Atuabo.
The project which is estimated at US$700 is expected to create about 5,000 direct jobs for the youth.
Ghana has only two main harbours. The first is the Takoradi Harbour, which was built in 1928. 30 years later, the second harbour, Tema was also built. After many decades, history was going to be made. Work on the Atuabo Free Port (AFP) in the Western Region began and was supposed to be completed in 2017.
The harbour has a land size of 2,000 acres; and it is an optimum ultra-modern facility for offshore and gas activities in Ghana and countries in the Gulf of Guinea. The interesting news is that the new harbour will have a rig repair and ship maintenance facility. This is first in the history of countries in the West Coast of Africa. Currently and in the past, ships from these countries usually go to Singapore, Malaysia or Japan for maintenance.
For instance, offshore rigs in Ghana that need maintenance have to be taken to Las Palmas in Spain or Cape Town in South Africa. Either way, involves a 20-day transit journey with estimated incredible cost of US$500,000 a day to these destinations; costing a total colossal sum of $10 million even before repair works start. Therefore, if the Atuabo Free Port is not an important and strategic project, then I don’t know what else it is. It takes a leader who thinks outside the box to conceive such an idea.
However, some NPP Members of Parliament filed a suit at the High Court to challenge the legality of the establishment of the Atuabo Free Port, but it was dismissed by the court.
In dismissing the suit, the Presiding Judge, Justice Peter Kwabena Ababio, held that Parliament did not violate any provision in approving the agreement, saying it went through the process according to the Standing Orders of the House.
Unfortunately, President Mahama left office not too long after the ruling of the court. That notwithstanding, he has promised the people of Ghana that he will resurrect the Atuabo Free Port Project if he is elected again as the President of the Republic.
And this is the more reason why all Ghanaians should do their best to bring him back to the presidency in 2024 by voting massively for him and his parliamentary aspirants.
Anthony Obeng Afrane