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Opinions of Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Columnist: Eric Bawah

The rise and fall of Voltarians in NDC

When some upstarts in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) turned their guns on Mr. Rawlings, Voltarians in the party did not speak out. They watched unconcerned as ‘small boys’ took the founder to the cleaners.

Anytime Mr. Rawlings saw rot in the party and voiced it, they called him names. Instead of defending the man, the Voltarians in the party kept mute. At a point in time, Mr. Rawlings stood alone to fight against corruption in the party because nobody was prepared to join him in the fight. Then the party lost power and the ‘chickens’ came home to roust. Rawlings, the anti-corruption crusader, had the last laugh.

I have always stood against tribal politics because it does no good to the country. The NDC tried desperately to tag the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as an Akan party. When they realised that tag would not stick, they moved away from that repulsive idea. Mr. Kufuor proved them wrong when he chose the late Alhaji Aliu Mahama, a Northerner, as his running mate who eventually became the Vice President of Ghana. Besides, on three occasions, Nana Addo chose to go with Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as his running mate. At the end of the day, Dr. Bawumia, another Northerner, became the Vice President of Ghana.

Something happened at the Trade Fair Centre where the NDC had its National Delegates’ Congress to elect the leadership of the party for the 2020 general elections. Mr. Dan Abodakpi, a Voltarian and a staunch member of the party criss-crossed the nation to canvas for votes to become the National Chairman of the party. Because Mr. Rawlings was sidelined when Mr. Mahama was in power, the Voltarians thought if Mr. Dan Abodapki became the National Chairman of the party their dream of asserting their presence in the party would be rekindled. That dream did not materialise as Mr. Abodapki lost miserably to Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo (an Akan), who hails from the Eastern Region. The hopes of the Voltarians were dashed and they could only board their buses to their respective towns and villages to muse over the unfortunate loss.

Like Mr. Dan Abodapki, good old Yaw Obimpe was a cadre and a senior member in the NDC. He held many portfolios when Rawlings was in power. He also campaigned seriously to become the National Vice Chairman of the party. Sadly, he was floored by Sofo Azorka, the leader of Azorka Boys, a violent NDC vigilante group based in Tamale in the Northern Region. The case of Mr. Obimpe is very sad because nobody thought a person like Azorka, who is well known for his violent nature could defeat Mr. Obimpe, a soft-spoken fine gentleman in an election. Those who sponsored Azorka were smart. They knew Azorka was not a match for Mr. Obimpe but with money and goodies, they could buy votes for him.

When Koku Anyidoho entered the race to become the General-Secretary of the NDC, everybody thought Asiedu Nketia had met his match. Even though one would find it very difficult to distinguish between the two as far as their disrespect for elders is concerned, one thought having been at the helm of affairs for so long a time as the General-Secretary of the NDC, Mr. Asiedu Nketia would be booted out. That was not to be. Mr. Koku Anyidoho, another Voltarian, succumbed to the political ‘mechanization’ of Asiedu Nketia. Koku Anyidoho went home crying like a baby.

Victim number four from the Volta Region is Anita De Sosso. Many people were not surprised when she lost because everything was written boldly on the wall. Her utterances in the run-up to the 2016 election partly contributed to the abysmal performance of the NDC. She doesn’t respect anybody and she thought the NDC would rule till thy Kingdom come. As a women organizer, she rather disorganized the NDC women. As a result, apathy crept into the women wing of the party before, during and after the 2016 general elections. This time around she wanted to become the National Organizer of the party and she lost badly. The only woman from the Volta Region who would have championed their cause was booted out.

Victim number five from the same Volta Region is Mr. Fred Agbenyo, a fine and presentable gentleman. He is not the insulting type like the one who defeated him, Mr. Sammy Gyemfi. Anytime I listen to Fred during newspaper review programmes on television, I doff my hat for the guy. He is very affable and presents his arguments without any insult or malice. Sadly, the axe which was sharpened by unseen hands to chop the heads of Voltarians who contested the top positions of the party fell on his head too. Very sad indeed! Now, can we say the NDC is an Akan party as the NDC has been saying about the NPP?

Whoever will eventually win the flagbearership race of the NDC will have a daunting task to do in the Volta Region. The dam has broken and it will take a long time and energy to have it repaired. Besides, hearts have been broken and it will take a long time to mend them. In no time, the World Bank will turn to a Rural Bank if not a Credit Union. In case Mr. Mahama wins the flagbearership race, he will have to wear a crush helmet before he goes to the Volta Region to campaign. Voltarians are like Northerners. These two tribes do not worship money. All that they need is recognition. Promote a Northerner in the Police Service or Army from Corporal to Sergeant and see how he would perform.

My Amazonian warrior, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, should start lacing her boots because a royal battle awaits her. She must revive her NDP and hit the road. There are more NDC seats in the Volta Region for grabs and she should not be complacent. This time around, she should watch out for a new Mafia who may be more potent than the one which ensured the disqualification of her party. If she even wins only three seats in Parliament, she can use that as a stepping stone for more seats next time. She should revisit the zeal and toughness she employed to organize Ghanaian women during the revolutionary days. I admire the lady because she never loses hope and she is convinced that what men can do, women can do same if not better. Anyone who tries to convince the woman to rejoin the NDC is doing Ghanaian women disfavour. It would be like telling her to lick back the saliva she spat out. If she had the courage to challenge the late Atta Mills at their Sunyani congress, she must have the courage to stand up to be counted one more time. There is no turning back. Going back will not be a defeatist idea but a political suicide mission.

Because of what they did to the Voltarians at the Trade Fair Centre, I can foresee disintegration in the party in the run-up to the 2020 general elections. I can also foresee Mr. Rawlings looking the other away as the infighting continues in the party. When his wife challenged the late Professor Mills at the Sunyani congress, they used unprintable words on the woman. Even when she was given the opportunity to address the delegates, some shameless former ministers heckled her. They forgot that it was this lady and her husband who worked so hard to form the NDC. That was why she formed her own party. Today, they have done it to those in the Volta Region, where her husband comes from and you think Rawlings is a happy man?

Cultivating The Habit Of Listening To Yourself

If somebody tells you to look through the mirror and see how a foolish man looks like, he is in another way telling you that you are a foolish man because if you look through the mirror, you will see no other person but yourself. Similarly, if somebody tells you to listen to yourself, he is trying to tell you that you don’t reason. Any reasonable person listens to himself before he acts or speaks. If you see an old lady talking to herself as she passes by, she listened to herself before talking to herself. When Mr. Rawlings had the opportunity to deliver a speech at the NDC Delegates’ Congress, he used only one sentence to drum home his thought about the NDC leadership. “Listen to yourselves”, he admonished them. The man did not tell them to listen to others because no matter the adverse things people said about them, they continued to do what they knew best: Corruption, insults and naked looting of state coffers until Ghanaians showed them the exit door.

But will they listen to themselves? The answer is no, because they are infatuated with the lust to get rich quick. Their prayer is that if they come to power again (something which is unthinkable) what happened during the eight years that they had the opportunity to rule the country will be a child’s play. Mr. Mahama in particular will have nothing to lose if he gets the opportunity one more time because he will not be legible to run for the position again. Together, they will milk the state cow dry without shame. Are Ghanaians going to give Mahama another four years to rule Ghana again? Anka yawu!