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Opinions of Thursday, 8 December 2011

Columnist: Agbemenya, Francis A

Bawumiah Is The Best Choice! It’s That Simple.

To have a matured, experienced, proven political leader like Nana Akufo-Addo as presidential candidate, and a young energetic, handsome and affable international technocrat like Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia as running mate, to lead the NPP to the 2012 presidential election, is one “Dream Team” any political party desirous of enhancing the well being of our country, will be envious of.
A few names have been put forward as potentials to partner Nana Addo in the 2012 elections. They include Deputy General Manager of Metro TV Alhaji Alhassan Haruna, Deputy Minority Leader and NPP MP for Lawra/Nandom Ambrose Derry, and international economic consultant and running mate to Nana Addo in the 2008 elections, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumiah. Without a doubt, Hon. Ambrose Derry and Dr. Bawumia stand tall as favourites but, for me, Dr. Bawumia stands tallest
The marketability of the running mate should be an important deciding factor when Nana Addo decides to name his 2012 partner. Hon. Ambrose Derry is a fine gentleman and politician. He demonstrated his political astuteness when in 2008, he unseated then incumbent MP and now Minister for the Interior, Hon. Benjamin Kunbuor to win the Lawra/Nandom seat for the NPP. Indeed it was a close fight between the two. Hon. Derry won with 47.6% of the valid votes cast with Hon. Kunbuor winning 43.2%, a close call no doubt. For this reason I believe Hon. Derry will do his Party and constituents a lot of good if he concentrates on consolidating his position in the constituency. He has done a wonderful job as the honourable parliamentary representative for the people of Lawra/Nandom and I believe he is in a better position to woo more votes to the NPP than any other candidate the party will present. He knows best, the strategy he adapted to beat Hon. Kunbuor.
Dr. Bawumia on the other hand has been marketed in all the constituencies of the country. In the run-up to the 2008 elections, everywhere one went and saw the picture of Nana Addo, one was likely to see the picture of Dr. Bawumia; and everywhere Nana Addo went to spread his campaign message, one was likely to see Dr. Bawumia by his side. People outside Lawra Nandom who know Nana Addo are more likely to know Dr. Bawumia than Hon. Ambrose Derry or any of the other names that are being thrown at Nana and the NPP. This is an edge Dr. Bawumia has over the other potentials, and we cannot overlook it; we simply cannot.
Surely, you have not forgotten that day in the life of the former Ashanti Regional Minister, that day he will never forget. That was the day Kofi Opoku-Manu, on his rounds to some selected schools to fraternize with the pupils on their first day at school, asked a class to tell him who the president of Ghana is. And hurriedly, an enthusiastic pupil put up his hand just as we all did in class during our primary school days, when we were very sure of the correct answer to a teacher’s question. So, when that pupil raised his hand to answer a question from not less a person, but the minister of the whole Ashanti region, he (pupil) must have definitely been very much convinced about the correctness of his answer. Now, when that bold pupil finally provided his answer for the name of the president, the jaws of the minister and his entire team dropped to their chests in complete amazement when Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo was mentioned as the current president of the Republic of Ghana. Logically one can say that if the minister had asked for the name of the vice-president, the said pupil would most likely have mentioned the name “Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia” over the others.
Dr. Bawumia brings on board what I like to term “the Balancing factor”. Nana Addo is an elderly internationally respected political leader. He versed in the laws of the country, and his immense desire to champion democratic governance and respect for fundamental human rights can not be contended. Dr. Bawumia is an economist of international repute. He has worked not only in Ghana, but in various parts of the world and I can bet you John Dramani Mahama will grow green with envy when he reads his successor’s professional profile.
As head of the Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Department, Dr. Bawumia implemented the analytical framework that guides monetary policy and the workings of the Monetary Policy Committee at the Bank of Ghana. The inflation targeting framework established was successful in reducing inflation from over 40% in 2000 to 10.2 % by 2007. He was a member of the Government Team to negotiate the Millennium Challenge Account Compact with the US Government. He was responsible for drafting the financial sector component of the MCA Compact. The MCA Compact yielded financing for $547 million of projects. He was also a member of the Government Technical Team on the Deregulation of the Petroleum Sector. As Chairman of the Capital Markets Committee, he was responsible for the strategy for accessing the international capital markets with a debut $750 million dollars, which was four times oversubscribed. He was part of the team that designed and implemented the successful redenomination of the cedi which was hailed globally. Dr. Bawumia played a key role in the design and implementation of the e-zwich common platform for all banks, savings and loans companies and rural banks. This common platform has resulted in inter-operability across different financial institutions. The first nationwide technologically-driven platform for monetary transactions across the country, the e-zwich has put Ghana on the map as a world leader in the application of biometric smartcard technology for banking the unbanked.
Fellow Ghanaians, our economy is in shambles and all the social intervention policies the Kufuor administration introduced have either remained the way they are, or are failing. The free school uniform for our kids has been turned into a one-size fits all attire where the ‘Oye adie yie” has to stand by for emergency alteration, hen-coop-like structures are being built at astronomical cost, under the guise of eradicating schools under trees. You see, when you have a vice-president versed in public relations that is what he will bring to the presidency: public relation gimmicks.
Vice-President John Dramani Mahama was very instrumental in bringing the all famous STX deal to Ghana. The deal, if it had gone through would have provided housing, not only to members of the security outfit, but the ordinary Ghanaian as well. The deal was made under the umbrella, with a lot of fanfare and all sorts of PR tricks, to of course shore up the image of the NDC. Only recently, after the Minister of Works and Housing Alban Bagbin had led media men to a snake, rabbit and grasscutter farm around Dodowa, ostensibly to show them work progressing on the STX deal, we heard that he was involved in some serious blows with vice-president Mahama. Who the winner was, I cannot tell. The vice president is very unhappy with the way the STX deal is going. He knows things are not going well. However, because he is not versed in the economics and economic legalities of the whole deal, he does not know how to address the matter. Meanwhile his boss President Mills has run away to chill somewhere after failing to achieve less than one-tenth of his action year promises. If our vice-president were an astute international economist like Dr. Mahamadu Bawumiah, we would definitely have gotten a better deal, and members of our security agencies would be well housed by now.
As far as I can tell, the vice-president has always been the chairman of the Economic Management Team. If what Egya Atta brought to Ghanaians when he held that position, and what John Mahama is doing to us now, is anything to go by, then we can forecast how things are going to be like without Dr. Bawumia as vice-president. The man knows the economic terrain like the back of his hands and if we are desirous of an economic brain to complement the astute leadership of Nana Addo, then Dr. Bawumia is our man.
Let us not take lightly, the family and religious background of Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia. Dr. Bawumia's father, the distinguished Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia, was a teacher, lawyer and veteran politician who devoted virtually all his life to public service. The late Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia was a Mamprugu Royal and Paramount Chief of the Kperiga Traditional Area at the time of his passing in September 2002. He was a founding member of the Northern Peoples' Party alongside such political stalwarts as Chief S. D. Dombo, Yakubu Tali, the Tolon Naa, and J. A. Braimah, Kabachewura. The Northern People’s Party, together with the National Liberation Movement and other opposition political parties later metamorphosed into the United Party.
Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia is a devout Muslim, an important factor that cannot be wished away. The NPP unlike its opponent the NDC has always fielded a northern Muslim as its running mate. With the fatwa declared by Fiifi Kwetey that a Muslim can never be President of Ghana, the declaration by Sam Pee Yalley that the President should not reside near the people of Nima, and the SADA con that the NDC led by vice-president Mahama applied on our brothers and sisters up north, presenting a person like Dr. Bawumiah to our kith and kin up north can only be described briefly, as most appropriate.
I believe that Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo should maintain Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia as his running mate because, as pollster Ben Ephson put it, “he lost not because of Bawumia but out of the party’s own complacency that they will win by all means”. Nana must maintain Bawumiah because he has been marketed enough and there is no mud to throw at him again. Any mud that will be thrown at him has been thrown already.
Indeed I am of the candid opinion that it will be politically inept on the part of Nana Addo to choose any other, apart from Dr. Mahamadu Bawumiah. He is the beeest man to partner Nana Akufo-Addo in 2012; it’s that simple.

FRANCIS A. AGBEMENYA
franagbemenya@gmail.com