“This is the man with the golden touch,” Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo excitedly told a guest in full glare of jubilant supporters and an observing press. “Anything he touches turns to gold.”
He is discussing Adebola Williams, CEO of StateCraft Inc, the correspondence office that fueled Ghana’s three-time presidential hopeful to a triumph this time, getting to be President in January.
He is not exaggerating. Williams, only 30 this year, has turned out to be the continent’s leading authority on winning elections, running a governance communication company that won the presidential elections in Nigeria in 2015 and then won the presidential elections in Ghana in 2016.
Both elections are eerily similar. Both incumbents, as Vice-Presidents had stumbled into public office based on the deaths of their principals. Both entered into office on a wave of wild popularity. Their opponents had run at least twice each before (three in the case of Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari) – and both had won in the years that they brought in StateCraft Inc to manage their political communication. Both campaigns ran on a ‘Change’ message.
“Because the conditions were so similar, it was easy to replicate a message of ‘Change’,” Williams says during an interview. “Not every election and every context will require a message of change, even though it’s a global movement. “But many countries in West Africa and across Africa are ripe, even desperate for change.”