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Opinions of Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Because Majority Carries The Vote...Ayikoi-Otoo

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Nii Ayikoi-Otoo's assertion that non-Akan members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) "feel ostracized and sidelined in the party," has no credible basis in reality (See "Non-Akans Feel Like Outcasts in NPP - Ayikoi-Otoo" 10/28/13).

First of all, the primary principle of any authentic democratic culture is the rule of the majority. Consequently, the normative tendency is for constituents, or electors, to massively vote for people who represent their interests. The example that the former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice gives in support of his claim about the marginalization of non-Akans in the party is rather chimerical. For the post of presidential candidate - as opposed to a substantive presidency - is not the highest position in the NPP but that of National Chairman; and regarding the latter post, most of the occupants have been non-Akan and largely Ga(s). We have had, for instance, Messrs. Peter Ala Adjetey, Samuel Odoi-Sykes (my in-law) and now Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey. And so it is not clear why Nii Ayikoi-Otoo wants to pick a fight where only peace prevails, or create a proverbial storm in a teacup.

Secondly, must also be observed the fact that during his 8-year tenure as a "democratically" elected president, Mr. Jeremiah John Rawlings never selected a non-Akan running-mate or vice-presidential candidate. The two running-mates that he fielded were Messrs. Ekwow Nkensen Arkaah and John Evans Atta-Mills, both of whom were Fante. And presently, the northern-born President John Dramani Mahama has another Fante man, Mr. Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, the former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, as his arch-lieutenant. I have yet to hear Nii Ayikoi-Otoo criticize the key operatives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for flagrantly failing to pick an Asante or an Akyem for their vice-presidential ticket.

Needless to say, every party plays and strategizes in the interest of its electoral strong suits; and in the NDC, those constituents are Ewes and Fantes, while for the NPP, they are Asantes and Akyems. Now, let us look at the pictures of the men who have served as National Chairs of the National Democratic Congress. They have been exclusively from the Volta Region, namely, Drs. Obed Yao Asamoah and Kwabena Adjei. And it is highly unlikely that this ideologically fascist and/or prejudicial situation is apt to change anytime soon. Likewise, the position of Speaker of the House of Ghana's Parliament has been dominated by citizens from the Volta and Central regions. Again, a brazen Fante and Ewe collaborative, in the personalities of Justices Annan and Bamford-Addo, and presently Adjaho. Look at the picture of the Kufuor administration, and a picture that is relatively more representative and ethnically balanced emerges.

We must also poignantly observe for the benefit of Nii Ayikoi-Otoo and the NPP stalwarts who think like him, that by the very fact of the principle of Akan matrilineage, which the critic cannot cavalierly presume to corrupt, both Messrs. Albert Adu-Boahen - though born and raised at Akyem-Osiem - and John Agyekum-Kufuor are full-blooded Asantes. It is only Akufo-Addo who is an Akyem. And the fact that the late Prof. Adu-Boahen was buried in Asante-Dwaben ought to have signally informed Nii Ayikoi-Otoo not to vacuously attempt to falsify history.

The fact of the matter is that merely selecting a non-Akan presidential candidate on the ticket of the NPP, as a means of humoring our ethnically bigoted NDC critics and their Quisling allies within the NPP is not a savvy or winsome strategy. The focus ought to be on electoral popularity and demonstrable competence. And it is only natural that most of such talent would come from among the ranks of the electoral majority. This is what the universally sanctioned principle of "one person, one vote" is incontrovertibly about. Akans cannot simply commit ethnic suicide for the sake of the dictatorial desire(s) of ethnic minorities. That is not democracy. It is ethnocide!

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
Oct. 28, 2013