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Opinions of Thursday, 27 December 2007

Columnist: Amonu, Kofi

Are The Chips Falling In Place For Nduom To Be President?

A couple of years ago I had a handshake bet with a friend that Nduom would be the next president of Ghana. At that time I based my hope on his humble beginnings, and sacrifices and dedication to work but had I made that bet today my hope would also have been based on how I see the presidential jigsaw puzzle pieces fitting together to form a picture of Nduom. Two reasons make me believe that my bet is a winnable one -one, Nduom will be the beneficiary of two rivalries, (one within the NPP, the other between the NPP and NDC), two, Nduom has helped awaken the CPP from dormancy to reclaim its original position in Ghanaian politics.

The NPP had 17 presidential hopefuls out of which Akufo Ado has been nominated to contest in behalf of the party. Perceptibly, some of the 17 applicants themselves knew before hand that the probability of they being nominated was as good as finding a needle in a haystack. There were also not-so-ripe applicants who were only in the fray to make themselves acknowledged for nominations to come. But among Aliu Mahama, Alan Kyeremateng, and Akufo Ado each of them truly believed that the case for they being the best choice was the strongest that could be made. So with the nomination of Akufo Ado there is certainly bound to be disgruntlement in many supporters who would rather see another party’s candidate win the presidency instead of Akufo Ado. Recently an association on voter from the Northern Regions vowed not to vote if Aliu Mahama was sidestepped. I don’t believe that they will not vote at all. If they really mean what they say, they will realize, with time, that a better way to lodge a protest is to vote against the Akufo Ado. This scenario brings to mind supporters of Asante Kotoko wishing that if their team could not win the African Club championship, they’d rather the cup went to the Mufulira Wanderers of Zambia. NPP supporters across the nation who find themselves in this circumstance will be more likely to vote for the CPP’s Nduom than the NDC’s Atta-Mills.

As the axiom goes, when two elephants fight it is the trees and grass that suffer but in this case the Nduom is a third elephant that is fighting for the trophy but not involved in a fight with the other elephants. NDC and NPP members and supporters alike have been political enemies as demonstrated by the unfriendly terms and bitter altercations and accusations against each other by Kufour and Rawlings for some two decades now and continuing. In fact, this enmity has existed since pre-independence days when both parties had different names. You may argue that the NDC did not exist before independence but I think the NDC is just an offspring of the CPP with a stronghold in the Volta Region. Spio-Garbrah, who contested Atta-Mills for the NDC leadership, is said to be the son of a devoted CPPmember and similar rumors have been flowing about Atta-Mills himself. So of the three major parties it likely for the NDC and CPP to vote similarly to defeat a common enemy than it is for any other parties and when that happens it will be prudent to rally behind Nduom for a first time than to back Atta-Mills for a third time.

It is easy to see that there will be a second run of the presidential election as neither Nduom, Atta-Mills, nor Akufo Ado can get more than half of the total votes cast, the first time around. In the past two elections Atta-Mill has gotten about 45% of the votes without winning his home Central Western region, the same region that Nduom hails from. I call it Central Western region because they are united by history, proximity, and tongue so as one goes so goes the other. Old maps of Ghana show that originally there was no Central region; Western region extended from the Ivorian border past Axim, Sekondi, Elmina, Cape Coast and Winneba to about Kasoa. (There were no Uppers, Brong Ahafo, and Greater Accra regions either). The worst that Nduom will do in the coming elections will be to win just his home region because it is also the original home base of the CPP – Nkrumah was born in Nkroful and educated mostly in Axim, and Amisano, he was a teacher in Elmina where a son of his (not with Fathia) lives today, and he established his office in Saltpond. In Cape Coast, for instance, the affable slogan about Nduom today is that his moustache is ‘full of English’ so with all these goings-on I cannot see the chances of Ndum’s opponents in Central Western regions. When (not if) Nduom wins Central Western region it will result in the Akufo Ado not winning half of the votes and Nduom splitting the remaining votes with Atta-Mills. Winning this region alone the will go along way to invigorate the CPP, turn non-believers to say aye and draw unsure voters towards the CPP for the second run. What’s more, disgruntled voter who have given up hope in Ghanaian politics because neither the NDC nor the NPP is that much better than the other will benefit Nduom more than Akufo Ado or Atta- Mills.

There are other factors that enhance Nduom’s presidential hopes. Being a CPP member, his work as a minister in the NPP government until it his presidential ambitions became clear is an indication to some voters of his competence. His work with the NPP has at the same given him the exposure and experience that his opponents would have blamed him of lacking to be a president. I believe what voters will considerg while deciding who to vote for is as follows –

We voted for Rawlings to see what he would do as a civilian leader and when we were fed up with him we gave Kufour a chance. We have not seen a significant difference in the two so let us try Nduom. After all we saw what he did as a minister, let us see what he can do as a president.

In the end Nduom will receive accolades not only for winning the presidency but also for reviving the CPP. I may be wrong, but I doubt it.



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