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Opinions of Friday, 5 October 2018

Columnist: Stanislas Kwame Arhin

NDC chairmanship race: The Huudu Yahaya factor

The race for national executive positions in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is gathering momentum ahead of the November 17, 2018 national conference. Among the high profile positions being contested are those of the national chairman and the General Secretary.

The two slots have attracted a field of some of the party’s political heavyweights, who have declared their intentions to seek the favour of the delegates in order to get elected. The field has the first General Secretary of the NDC, Alhaji Huudu Yahaya, Dan Abodakpi, Betty Mould Iddrisu (Mrs), Danny Annang and Samuel Ofosu Ampofo.

This piece limits itself to the chairmanship contest. Arguably, the field is replete with talent and experience and all the contestants are well qualified to seek the mandate of the party delegates in order to occupy the topmost position in the national executive structure.

Alhaji Huudu Yahaya has the distinction of serving as the first General Secretary of the NDC. A party born out of a revolution had the onerous task of transforming itself into a democratic party and conform to constitutional multiparty democratic principles.

This was the situation which the NDC was confronted with in 1992. In order to deal with the various tendencies and strands and to forge a united front to confront the 1992 multiparty elections against the hereditary Danquah-Busia democrats, the NDC at the time settled on two key phenomenal figures– Alhaji Issifu Ali and Alhaji Huudu Yahaya as chairman and General Secretary respectively.

Coincidentally, both Issifu Ali and Huudu Yahaya hail from the North and from religious denomination- Islam. The motivation for their choice at that historical period can only be for one obvious reasons- competence, leadership acumen, commitment, approachability and sobriety to take the NDC through such a stormy period.

While we can wish away the Rawlings factor and the solid achievements of the progenitor PNDC, from the standpoint of steering the affairs of the NDC, the two men stood tall in navigating and steadying the party to claim two successive victories in 1992 and 1996. In the case of Huudu Yahaya, his sterling performance as General Secretary was no surprise as he had already cut his leadership teeth during the Rawlings revolution where he served in various capacities in the top echelons of the cadre corps.

It is equally essential to mention the modest roles played by the other contestants. There is not a doubt about the leadership credentials of Dan Abodakpi, Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu, Samuel Ampofo and Danny Annang. They have served in various capacities of the party and the NDC government.

However, placed on the optimum scale in terms of the NDC’s evolution as a formidable political machine, Huudu Yahaya towers above them all. He is diligent, affable, softy-spoken, honest and a good listener. At this period, when the NDC is at the crossroads, it incumbent on the delegates and the rank and file to rally around someone who not has institutional memory of the party but also how to rethink and rebuild the party for victory in 2020.

There is the debate as to whether it makes logical sense for Huudu Yahaya to become the chairman of the party while former President John Mahama has also declared his intention to once again lead the NDC as its flag bearer? Those who pose this question are fixated with the geopolitical sphere by virtue of the two stalwarts coming from the Northern Region.

But they have forgotten that both are not seeking the same office. From a more sombre and reflexive position, it rather makes more political sense to have solid grassroots person such as Huudu Yahaya, who not only connects with both young and old but has deeper and better appreciation of what the NDC needs at this time in order to regain political power. He strikes the right chemistry and has enormous respect for all religious faiths.

It is the view of many that a Huudu Yahaya chairmanship will rather inure to the benefit of John Dramani Mahama in the NDC presidential contest. One, Huudu Yahaya is John Mahama’s brother-in-law. Second, Huudu Yahaya cuts across and relates with all the so-called blocs and camps in the NDC.

He, therefore, has the wherewithal to mend the fences and cracks and heal the wounds for a united front to ensure victory for the umbrella family. And for the untutored, political calculations and strategies are not based on myopia but on sound logic and reasoning.

As a moslem, Huudu’s chairmanship will help reconnect and assure the teeming muslim population that they have a true and dedicated muslim at the pinnacle of the NDC who can address and cater for their concerns and wishes. His presence at the apex of the NDC would serve as neutralizing factor and also curb the cosmetic Islamic posturing of Vice President Mahamadu Bawumia.

As the only true national party in this country after Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party (CPP), the NDC is reminded of its social democratic ideals. It is the party which recognizes the genius in every Ghanaian irrespective of religion, tribe, social status and creed.

The NDC’s strength lies in its ability to blend both the young and old and to bring people from East, West, North and South to melt into a common pool of humanity in order to serve the fatherland.

It must be clear to all that at this material time, the party cannot afford to commit avoidable blunders in the choice of the national executives for the party. Huudu has seen it all before; Huudu understands the dynamics of the NDC; Huudu is a reservoir of experience; he is a strategic thinker and a peacemaker rolled into one to ensure the return of the NDC in 2020.

A worthy advice to some close associates of John Mahama is also relevant here. The murmurings and the phobia for Huudu’s chairmanship must give way to optimism and positive tidings ahead.

Huudu Yahaya is an asset- a lethal and precision-guided weapon in the arsenal of the NDC and if such an arsenal is combined with the incisive, intelligent and sublime political skills of John Mahama, the NDC shall surely reign supreme in 2020.

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