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Opinions of Saturday, 22 May 2004

Columnist: Abdul-Rahman

Competence and not regionalism

: A guide to the selection of Vice presidents and future political leaders.

The debate over which region should a vice president come from is not new in our elections. Since 1992, when Ghana's fourth republican constitution was borned, the selection of a northern candidate as vice president of both the npp and ndc have been with us since election then. One of the reasons, according some speculators, for ndc's defeat in the 2000 elections was because of the selection of Aliu Mahama as the vice presidential candidate for the npp.

While I accept the argument that selecting a candidate from a particular region has its geopolical benefits, we should put competence first before any other consideration. For our development as a country rest on the competence of our leadership and not on the regions or districts such leader originated from. The economic and social development of northern ghana does rest on a northern vice president to materialize, rather it rest on the competence of whoever such responsibility is vested on.

History does not support the assertion that regionalism leads to development. Our own short of experience in 2002 is a guide which should teach alot of lessons about the demerit of regional politics. It was in the very eyes and ears of vice president Aliu Mahama, interior minister Malik Alhassan, and National Security Advisor General Hamidu, among several others, that the Grusome killing of YaaNa Yakubu Adani was perpetuated. Suffice to say that all these individuals are from the north and occupired very response position in the NPP government at the time of the murder. A position that could have allowed them to avert the situation. Yet, it happened and unfortunately, the Yaana had to pay dearly for it.

Dr. Nkrumah was not a northerner, yet in his own wisdon, he realised the importance of equal assess to education and the disadvantaged position of the north at the time and instituted a free education in the north in order to make up for the imbalace. As result, many northerners, including own dad, who otherwise might not have afforded post secondary were able to became doctors, lawyers and many other level jobs. But for Nkrumah?s vision, the educational gap between the north and the south would have been wider.

Regional selection of leaders also breeds neo-patrimonialism, a desease that was responsible for the under-development of many African countries, Ghana not an exception. By sellecting leaders on regional bases, we are diverting the alligiance of such leaders from the country as whole to a particular region. In many instance such moves are always done by groups in the politicals, examples of which includes the "the Nasara club" in the NPP, and the "Zongo club" in the NDC. These groups creat an unneccessary preasure on political leadership after elections because in their view it through their effort that leaders occupire their positions and therefore they deseave to be rewarded. This push our leaders into doing stuffs, they would otherwise not do in order to satisfy such groups.

I am not saying that northern politicians and for that matter northern are not competent. In fact within both political divide there are very competent northerners, who given the chance could server our could better. However, I think the selection should be not assessed on regional basis. Competence should be leading criteria for such a task and not on shear regional allegiance.


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