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Opinions of Monday, 15 March 2021

Columnist: Herman Kwame Kumatsey

Further and better particulars to Chief Obosu Mohammed

Vice President of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumiah Vice President of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumiah

I was happy to take a break from my Commercial Law assignment to read a piece of write up under your hand as my colleague and junior brother entitled “DR. MAHAMUDU BAWUMIA EMBODIES OUR BEST SHOT IN 2024 (I)”.

My immediate rhetorical question was what could be the possible reasons for this bold headline. I decided to read to the end in search of your reasons. Indeed, the writing skills, without doubt, has the traces of your unique journalistic DNA, but the weight of your case, as argued in favour of your preferred candidate, as well as the reasons assigned thereof, are just a reflection of your popular expression “MONUMENTAL FAILURE”.

Ordinarily, I would have made this pass, but I am inclined to be candid with the facts and not to throw dust into the eyes of the reading public.

His Excellency the Vice President of Ghana and a fourth time Vice Presidential Candidate of our party, the New Patriotic Party, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has won my admiration and respect like many other members of the party.

I therefore owe it a duty to carefully shape this conversation for
purposes of intellectual benefit without touching on his respected image and that of our party and government which we resolve daily to project and protect. I am firm in my mind that at the end of this healthy debate you will realize the gaps and inaccuracies on your part, which if corrected would set the records straight for the general good of our party. I don’t intend to bore you with plenty words.

At the heart of your argument is what you term as: “The Bawumia Effect – Electoral Record -Personality" projecting our Vice-President’s contribution to NPP's electoral performance particularly in the Northern region (as it then was). You also make a specific reference to Dr. Bawumia’s contribution to our party’s performance in the 2008 general elections and for this you
situate him as our best shot in 2024.

I will first interrogate the latter but, before then let me put it on record that denying Dr. Bawumia’s contribution to NPP will not serve any purpose. It is similarly untrue and self-serving to say that his contribution makes him our best shot.

In my sincere view, our party's performance in the 2008 general elections is one many wouldn’t want to remember, as it was really painful. We had done everything as a government (party) to win that election. Going into that 2008 election, we had provided Ghanaians with unprecedented and massive social interventions, namely a significantly cheaper Metro Mass Transport system, Free Maternal Care, the first ever National Health Insurance scheme, Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) for the poor and indigent in society, School Feeding programme and a host of other programmes that directly benefited the people. Even with all these we could not make the 50% + 1.

If we were to be proud of our 49% performance as you put it, the factors responsible for that would have been the above social interventions. If you fail to attribute it to the Kufuor-effect or the Aliu Mahama-effect or the Nana Addo-effect then you are far from doing sincere analysis by attributing
it to only the “Bawumia-effect”.

Indeed many party faithful would remember how the late former Vice-president Aliu, virtually pitched camp in the then Northern region during the electioneering period. He worked to the admiration of all well-meaning party folks. May his gentle soul continue to rest peacefully.

In spite of these interventions, the party lost the 2008 elections. An election, you are on record, in
2014, to have described as a “monumental failure”. My question to you is who was responsible for that monumental failure? Isn’t it a mark of inconsistency on your part to describe something as a ‘monumental failure’ and turn round to offer the same thing to someone as a prize for good
performance? When it is about Nana Akufo-Addo, it is a ‘monumental failure’ but, when it is about Dr. Bawumia (your preferred candidate), it is a ‘monumental success’, and this should be the reason for his selection as the party's flag-bearer for 2024, interesting, isn’t it?

Again, you consciously elected to rewrite the history of the New Patriotic Party’s electoral progress in the Northern region (as it then was) by beginning from the middle. The undisputed electoral records since 1992 give you out completely. In the 1992 general election, NPP attained the following figures in the then 10 regions of Ghana, Western Region 22.8%, Gt. Accra 37%, Central 26%, Volta 3.6%, Ashanti 60.5%, Eastern 37.7%, NORTHERN REGION 16.3%, Upper East 10.5%, Upper West 8.9% and Brong Ahafo 29.5%. My point is simple.

If you want to be fair with the statistics, you would note that as a party, we have together progressively increased our electoral fortunes in all regions of Ghana including the Northern region (as it then was. Singling out the Vice President as responsible for this performance and suggesting that this success began from 2008 when our Veep joined the party is not only a case of intellectual dishonesty, it also amounts to unfair betrayal of the efforts made by notable party personalities like Hon. Rolland Issifu Alhassan, H.E Aliu Mahama, Hon. Hawa Yakubu, (all of blessed memory) and a host of gallant men and women alive or otherwise who fought through brutalities until power was won.

The statistics as presented by you is insincere and an exaggerated attempt to cast a slur on the hard work of the revered valiant men and women from the Northern region. From 16.3% in 1992 the party’s improving performance catapulted to over 36% in 2004. A whopping 120% increment from the 1992 performance. This commendable multiplier effect is what must be celebrated. 120% improvement! I doff my hat to H. E the late Vice President Aliu Mahama and all for this fete.

However, going by your skewed statistics, same cannot be said about the era of Dr. Bawumia as running mate / vice President. From 2008 to 2020, the party has recorded a meagre 21% improvement. In the Northern region (as it then was), the party recorded 38% in 2008 and 46% in 2020.

Your attempted exercise also has an inherent element of destructive tribal politics that can threaten our very survival as a political party. The simple truth is that you are indirectly inviting other notable persons in the rest of the regions where we have made similar electoral progress to raise it as a basis to demand flag bearer-ship position and you cannot blame them if they respond in like manner.

After all, if a man’s contribution from 2008 makes him our best shot for 2024, then their equal contribution if-not-better from 1992 should qualify them as the best of the best shots for 2024. Kindly take home this imperative advice and please never lose it; that for NPP to win 2024 election we need a candidate of national strength and acceptance as opposed to one of regional or tribal appeal.

At this point, I would like to center the discussion on the “Bawumia-effect” and whether or not it has a vibrant potency if any, at all. First of all, there is no empirical evidence of the “Bawumia-effect”, be that as it may, it must be subjected to a simple test of wisdom of old, “charity begins at home”.

To this extent, the “Bawumia-effect” must be convincingly demonstrable from his home constituencies. After consecutive 16 years of being offered the gracious opportunity to the high office of running mate and then Vice President, the party’s performance where Dr. Bawumia traces his roots has seen a decline in its performance. His FACTOR seem to give a true meaning to basic algebraic factorization, which is reducing a mathematical expression. Fact is our performance has consistently reduced in his home constituencies of Walewale and Nalerigu-Gambaga.

In fact in Nalerigu-Gambaga constituency the party’s performance over the period has significantly reduced from 52% in 2016 to 47% in 2020. This poor performance contributed immensely to the party losing the Nalerigu-Gambaga seat to the NDC. Can we attribute this abysmal performance to Dr. Bawumia as well? If the ”Bawumia-effect” failed to maintain the Nalerigu-Gambaga constituency for NPP, then the extrapolation that it won us the NPP parliamentary seats in the region is terribly
erroneous.

In the Walewale township where our revered Vice - President votes, out of the 35 polling stations the NPP won only 4 in the 2020 general elections. Clearly, the “Bawumia-effect” failed us clearly. No wonder our performance shrank from 55% in 2016 to 53% in 2020. Should he bear the brunt for this
as well?

My brother Obosu Mohammed, you have skillfully run away from our party’s performance in the Upper West and Upper East regions for obvious reasons but, I beg to draw you closer to the pertinent and inevitable question. Our party in the 2020 elections did not perform creditably in Upper West and Upper East regions, question is if there is indeed the “Bawumia-effect” and any associated potency, why did we fail in these two regions in the north?

Are we not right to ask for a feeling of the supposed “Bawumia-effect” miracles in the whole of the northern parts of Ghana? An objective discourse in this regard would serve us better than your penchant of pick and choose.

As I mentioned earlier, I believe by now you are in NO DOUBT that your presumption that “DR. MAHAMUDU BAWUMIA EMBODIES OUR BEST SHOT IN 2024” solely because of his performance in some parts of the Northern region is highly rebuttable and the reasons given thereof are abysmally untenable.

Bro, this is just to guide your next episode so you can craft your message properly in selling your preferred candidate. It may be beneficial to us all, who knows tomorrow?

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