In the run-up to the December 2016 election, a certain little girl became popular on campaign platforms for her unofficial role in the campaign of one of the major political parties in Ghana. For her love and commitment to her dad, and probably to help retain her family as the First Family of the Republic of Ghana, she stood by her father on almost every platform on the campaign trail. She was more visible than many people that profess to love her father’s party than they love their own lives.
That little child was Farida Mahama, daughter of then president, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama. Farida, who might have been a ten or eleven year old then, stood with her father until the last day that he conceded defeat to current president, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
That was quite some energy for a child of her age.
One may ask how she felt when her father was defeated at the polls. I remember former president John Mahama once said somewhere that, his daughter was actually happy when he lost his second bid to be president. And her reason was that she would now see him more frequently and have the luxury to spend more time with him.
Some solid father and daughter bond, don’t you think so? If I were Uncle John Mahama, I would not have sacrificed this love for the 2020 run. Except Farida Mahama was tired of seeing her dad around the house.
Anyway, FARIDA(فاريده) is an Arabic feminine-given name that means UNIQUE. Farida Mahama is an extremely unique child, methinks.
But while Farida Mahama was crisscrossing the length and breadth of the country with her father, H.E. John Mahama, trying to convince the electorate to keep them in power, I was doing my bit as an ardent member of the then opposition New Patriotic Party(NPP), telling people why the NDC and the Mahama family did not deserve any more years at the presidency beyond 2016. Yet, I admired the bond and relationship that existed between Mr. Mahama and little Farida.
But was the year 2016 all about political campaigns and elections? Obviously not, for ME. There was something extra, something so special, beautiful and unique.
A baby was born on the 23rd of September 2016. A baby girl. And I happened to be the father of that baby girl.
September is the ninth month of the year. If she stayed in the womb for nine months, it means I ‘planted’ her in January 2016, which means I started the year right.(#wink)
Every baby is given an identity, in the form of a name, after their birth. I was therefore left with the tedious task of choosing a name for the little lady after her birth. My mother had died in April 2014, a little over two years before the baby arrived. I was tempted to name her after mom, but already my elder brother had gotten a baby girl too, and named her after mom. I therefore needed to find a new name. A unique name.
So while I was thinking about what name to give to our little lady, I decided to brainstorm with my sister. We both came up with some really beautiful feminine names, some of which were Shamima, Faida, Samira, etc. On the naming spree, my sister mentioned FARIDA. It suddenly hit a cord. I had heard that name somewhere. And no, it wasn’t a family member.
Then I remembered: Farida Mahama. I definitely wanted to have that bond with my daughter, too. I then looked up the meaning of Farida and couldn’t agree less. So Farida(Unique, Precious Pearl) it was, and Farida the little lady was named.
Absurd? Probably not.
Princess Farida and Farida Mahama actually have a distant connection of some sort. This is the reason I refer to former president John Mahama as my uncle. It has not always for mischievous reasons.🤪
My paternal grandfather was called Alhaji Mahama. My father, Farida’s grandfather, bore Mahama as a surname. I have Mahama uncles and Mahama brothers, including my big brother Alhaji Mahama, who was named after our grandfather.
By the above analogy, Farida and Farida might be cousins.
The most important thing, however, is that almost five years after her birth, I have been able to build that great bond with little Farida. It gets stronger with time.
One day when I mount a platform of any form, be it political or not, I hope to have my own Farida, the symbol of uniqueness and commitment, with me. That day, only God will understand strength and feeling of fulfillment her presence on that stage will be for me.
Sule Abu (Wise King Solomon II)