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Opinions of Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Columnist: Nasirudeen Rayan Ajaansuma

Loyalty vs Affluence: Hafiz Bin Salih against others in Upper West NPP contest

“Loyalty before Competence,” I think these are the exact words of the president. I know people who benefitted from this principle but today, loyalty is staring them in the face and they decide to opt for affluence because it suits them and not the party.

I will always maintain, at any opportunity, that this election is contested from several fronts: loyalty, affluence, hatred and many others. But whatever happens at the end of the day, the party will be united by those who have been around long enough to established lasting relationships which positively affect the fortunes of the party.

NPP's victory in the 2020 elections will largely be determined by who we field as national executives. If we field people who are not loyal to the party will end up in the courtroom when we are supposed to be campaigning like we did in during the last election. With the branch and constituency elections over, what is left for us is to ensure that we field competent but loyal candidates in the regional and national elections.

They say that no man is a hero in front of his varlet, but Hafiz is a hero in the eyes of many in Upper West NPP, albeit unsung. He has maintained a healthy working relationship with everyone in UW NPP in this political quicksand that has half sunk the limbs of many an NPP politician in the region including the current top brass of the party.

He has also remained calm in the face of rejection in respect of political appointments and accepts the decisions of the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akkufo Addo, as intelligent and rife for the development of the region. At a time when others burnt lorry tyres for being snubbed during appointments, he was working towards the unity of the party buying himself respect and admiration within the party.

At the time when others were in the diaspora looking for wealth, he was running errands for the party.

At the time when others abandoned the party for personal businesses in the region, he was communicating and sacrificing for the party.

Immediately the NPP has announced victors in the 2016 elections, one of the names, if not the very first one, that was mentioned as a possible appointee was Hafiz Bin Salih. Tagged to so many boards, ministerial and deputy ministerial positions and as Municipal Chief Executive, he stood out as a loyal party man, an academician and good educationists. After the suspension of the regional minister, no other name has popped up as an immediate replacement other than Hafiz Bin Salih.

How and why such talent and potential unifier of the party has been left to rot in the fringes of political decisions under the current regime is a question that keeps popping up, yet never answered. There have been so many speculations about this issue, but the chief amongst them is that he was wanted by the party to serve as a regional Chairman.

His personal life and experience have already been catalogued in an article published in the ghanaweb ( see link below).

His loyalty is unquestionably pro-Danquaist and for constituted authority within NPP. Perhaps because his father, Alhassan Bin Salih, one of the founding members of the then Northern People’s Party and later New Patriotic Party, left a large footstep for him to fill.

He has worked with the very first regional chairman, Alhaj Issahaque Kutie, as a youth leader and activist in 1992 and 2000. His activism was anchored on his personal courage within an NDC infested community where voting as an NPP sympathizer was as dangerous as hiking defenselessly through a jungle. He survived it.

Since Alhaj Short took over as party chairman, he has been around to offer his support and services. At no point in time has he ever made any comment or done anything, throughout these years, which seem to suggest that he was unhappy with the NPP. I think that is what is called loyalty.

There are six candidates in this election. There was none in 1992 when he was a student activist fighting for the party. There was none in 1996 when he was a party communicator, representing the party at the only radio station at the time, Progress FM. There were few in 2000 when the party’s electoral fortunes were a little brighter.

After the NPP went back to opposition in 2008, there was none, absolutely none of the other five candidates contesting for the regional chairmanship who was around to reorganize and rebuild the party. That was when he took up executive positions and has helped the party this far. This, no amount of money can buy.

In this election, some candidates really have a few petrol dollars to spare. I agree that it may influence some voters in the election but the future prospects of such an action will stare us in the face when we begin to lose the trust and relationships we have built over these years. Our vision of winning more than five seats in the region will remain an elusion as we part ways with the five we already have.

Do we choose affluence over competence and loyalty? Do we think that money is what it takes to unite the party? Do we think that anyone with cash enough to sponsor the party in one election is a sure bet for political victory?

What does it mean to vote for Hafiz?

A vote for Hafiz means choosing lasting relationships over short-term gratifications. It means choosing to reward sacrifice and struggle with opportunity to serve people. It means choosing the future of the party over the personal gains of individuals.

As we go into this election, every one of us has an opportunity to change what has hurt us before. We can change the fortunes of the party if we choose Hafiz Bin Salih. He is Number 4 on the ballot. 4 is for fact. 4 is for fortitude. 4 is for fastidious. May God help NPP and May God help Ghana.