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Opinions of Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Columnist: Iddi Adam Osman/ Contributor

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is an asset and blessing to the Muslim community in Ghana

Bawumia's love and quest to see the forward match of the Muslim community in Ghana is commendable Bawumia's love and quest to see the forward match of the Muslim community in Ghana is commendable

In the run-up to the 2016 elections, many of us(Muslims) vehemently supported and campaigned rigorously for the New Patriotic Party(NPP) and its success. We were of the firm belief and assertion that Muslims that are the second-largest religious denomination in Ghana deserved a fair representation in the top hierarchy of the leadership ladder in Ghana.

We especially rooted for the NPP because that was the only political party going into the 2016 elections that had a Muslim as its running mate to the presidential candidate.

We, therefore, saw that campaigning and voting for the NPP will break the jinx of having the president, vice president, speaker of Parliament and chief justice who are at the top echelon of leadership in Ghana under the NDC being only Christians.

We indeed wanted someone from amongst us who we will perform ablution with, stand shoulder to shoulder and feet to feet with to offer Salat.

We were in desperate need of one who we will fly to Makkah with to go round the Kaaba, run between the two hills of Safa and Marwa, stone the devil and stand on mount Arafat with.

We yearned for a regime where we will together perform the Eid prayers with one of the two most powerful people in Ghana (The President and Vice president). We were bent on rejecting a regime that both the President and Vice President will stand at a corner waiting for us to finish the Eid prayer so that they will address us.

We were in dire need of a regime where one of them will pray with us and undergo all rituals with us. We saw this becoming true and realistic through the NPP.

It is worthy to note here that we did not throw our weight behind the NPP only for the reason that Dr Bawumia is a Muslim but that he is competent, able and capable.

The Chief Imam of Bia in the Western Region, Alhaji Yakubu Abdulai on Thursday, August 12, 2016, rightly puts it when Alhaji Dr Bawumia and Nana Addo paid a courtesy call on the Chief Imam and the Muslim Ummah in Bia " We are convinced that you and Dr. Alhaji Bawumia represent hope because we are aware of your track record and your unfailing commitment to see a prosperous Ghana. We have no doubt that Alhaji Bawumia desires the same for mother Ghana".

Imam Haroun Abdul Mumin, the Ashanti Regional Chief Imam on 17th October 2015 summarised the credentials of Alhaji Dr. Bawumia when he stated " Alhaji Bawumia's father was Abdul Mumin and I am also Abdul Mumin; this is why I sometimes say he is my son. He is a politician and he is an economist too. If a nation's finances and economy end up in a ditch, he goes there and he turns things around.

I know Zimbabwe, where they used to buy common items with wheelbarrows of money; he went there and that is no more the case. So he's not just anybody; he is a God's gift to us.

Let us protect him and take good care of him because he is God's gift to this nation. If we don't him and take proper care of him and reject this gift from God, God will not bless us".

We realised that the Christian-Muslim partnership of Nana Addo- Bawumia was not a political strategy to woo Muslims to vote for the NPP but one that can forge the mutual benefit of the two major religions in Ghana. Tracking his events and activities in the Muslim communities in Ghana prior to the 2016 elections, gave us the assurance that our quest shall not be in vain.

Evidently, we saw and heard him on countless occasions visiting Muslim communities and contributing his widow's mite to the growth and development of Islam.

He voluntarily supported the Hajj trip of various Imams and devoted Islamic clerics. Specifically, in April 2016, he sponsored the Hajj trip of four Imams in the Bia District of the Western region and donated 400 bags of cement and an amount of GHS10,000 for the construction of an Islamic Senior High School for the Bia district.

In April 2016, we were delighted again when he donated 200bags of cement and an undisclosed amount of money to support the construction and rehabilitation of mosques in Akyem Kukurantumi, Osiem Old Tafo and New Tafo in the Abuakwa North Assembly.

Smiles were also on the faces of the management of Suhum Islamic Girls' Senior High School and the Muslim community in Suhum when Alhaji Bawumia donated several quantities of iron rods, packets of roofing sheet, 100bags of cement and an amount of GHS20,000 to the school.

Bawumia's love and quest to see the forward match of the Muslim community in Ghana saw him donated a colossal amount of GHS50,000 to the Muslim community in Cape Coast.

This was in response to a request for assistance made by the Muslim community in Cape Coast to site a new cemetery. In a colourful ceremony, the Sarkin Zongo of Cape Coast, Mahmoud Dandey Mazawajay IV at the Kotokuraba central market stated that Dr. Bawumia's gesture has helped them secured a befitting cemetery for the Muslim community in Cape Coast after that land used for 40 years was exhausted.

Dr. Bawumia also in opposition built a giant mosque and other auxiliary projects for the Muslim community in Nankpanduri in the North East region.

On Friday, 14th October 2016, Alhaji Bawumia visited Larabanga, the home to the oldest mosque and sought for the prayers and blessings of the Chief Imam and elders of the community. From historical records, the visit of Alhaji Dr. Bawumia to Larabanga was the first of its kind that a politician in Ghana seeking for such high office visited the elders of Larabanga to seek for their prayers and blessings.

The difference between his visit to Larabanga and that of others is that while others came purposely to address rallies and attend campaign programmes, he came specifically to seek for prayers and blessing from the Chief Imam and the elders of Larabanga.

In a realistic manner, the Muslim Ummah in Ghana is benefiting immensely from the partnership of Nana Addo and Alhaji Dr. Bawumia administration. On a national scale, his presence at the presidency has seen the enactment of policies that are geared towards the betterment of Muslims and Muslim settlements.

The almighty Zongo Development Authority, that is a well calculated and a deliberate policy aimed at improving the social and economic progress of the Zongo communities in Ghana where the majority of the people are Muslims is his brainchild. The Zongo Development Fund and Ministry of Zongo and Inner Cities are possible because of him.

Through his efforts and initiative, the GES and NaCCA have provided schools that are currently offering Arabic and those that wish to do the same with a curriculum. This has ensured the harmonisation of the study of Arabic in all schools and that the teaching of Arabic will no longer be based on the individual schools.

Additionally, Alhaji Dr. Bawumia Mahamudu has also secured a scholarship package specifically for Zongo communities by extension Muslim communities. Per this package, annually, at least 40 youth mostly girls from Zongo communities to be trained as medical doctors in Cuba.

The Vice President made this proposal when he had bilateral talks with the president of Cuba, H. E. Miguel Diaz- Canel as part of his two-day official visit to the Carribean in 2019. The first batch just left to Cuba in December.

He has also used his good office to lobby with the Saudi Arabia monarchy to construct a medical school and 42 Senior High School in Northern Ghana where the majority of the people are Muslims. Through his initiative, there is the construction of an Islamic Senior High School which is about 90% complete in Larabanga, an almost 100% Muslim community and the home to the oldest mosque in Ghana.

On his personal score, he has done a lot to many Islamic communities in Ghana. The following attest to this assertion.

1) He donated $40,000 for the kidney transplant of the Western regional deputy Imam of Ahlussunna wal- Jamaa, Sheikh Abdul Karim Yusuf who was bedridden for months at the Effia Nkwanta Hospital undergoing dialysis three weeks as the Muslim community tried to raise $36,000 needed to help fly him to India for a kidney transplant.

2) On June 15, 2018, Dr. Bawumia donated 1,000 bags worth GHS30,000 of cement to Muslims in Prestea-Huni-Valley municipality of the Western Region to complete the second phase of the two-storey Mosque at Prestea.
3) In November 2018, Bawumia also donated 1,000 cement bags for the expansion and rehabilitation of the Bawku Central Mosque which was built in the 70's.

4) In August 2019, the Vice President delivered on his promise of an ambulance each for the Muslim communities in Cheriponi and Saboba. The ambulances are to serve as hearse for Muslims in the two districts.

5) On Friday, 30th August, 2019, Alhaji Bawumia donated a 32 Seater Bus to T I Ahmadiyya Islamic Senior High School(T. I Amass) , Kumasi.

6) On 28th June, 2017, Alhaji Bawumia donated a minibus to the Northern Region premier women's Islamic Institute, Hajia Mariam Alolo Islamic Institute headquartered in Tamale.
7) In 2018, he gifted the National Chief Imam a brand new Toyota Avalon customized C Imam 1 on the occasion of his 61st annual Maulid celebration.

8) In May, 2017, Vice president donated an amount of GHS 300,000 to support the completion of the Central Regional Mosque in Cape Coast.

9) In Jan, 2020, he contributed GHS 20,000 towards the establishment of the Islamic College of Education initiated by the Ghana Muslim Mission in Kukuom.

10) On Friday, July,5 2019, Dr. Bawumia donated an amount of GHS 10,000 towards the renovation of Kwamekrom Central Mosque in Biakoye district of the Oti Region.

11) He has sponsored the live telecast of 2018 and 2019 Ramadan Tafsirs( Commentary on Quran) of some selected Imams in Tamale. The selected Imams are Sheikh Abdul Mumin Dalhu, leader of the Shia Muslim community in Tamale, Sheikh Abubakari Zakaria, leader of Ahlul- Sunnah Muslim community in Tamale and Sheikh Ibrahim Basha, leader of the Al- Bayan institute.

Others are Sheikh Baba Dua, a scholar from the Tamale central mosque, Sheikh Amin Sawaba, a scholar from Tijaniyya Muslim community and Hajia Mariam Alolo, an Islamic scholar and founder of a Muslim women movement in Tamale.

12) The Vice President's annual Ramadan tour has been exceptional. This affords him the opportunity to worship, pray and interact with his colleagues in the Islamic faith.

He has toured all the 16 regions of Ghana and worshiped with his fellow Muslims. His visit to some communities has been described as historic and unprecedented since he is the first of such a high caliber of personality to visit those communities.

The Chief Imam for Konongo in the Asante Akim Central Municipality, Alhaji Mahamadou Mustapha on Wednesday, 23rd May, 2019 stated inter alia when Dr. Bawumia as part of his Ramadan tour visited Asante Akim Zongo " Since the inception of this Zongo over hundred years ago, from Gold Coast days through Kwame Nkrumah's time till date, we have never been visited by either a president or a vice president. Some of us are third and fourth generation dwellers of Asante Akim Zongo and we have never seen this before. This is very very historic

13) The performance of Hajj has been spectacular. He voluntarily sponsored the feeding of all Ghanaian pilgrims in 2017, 2018 and 2019 Hajj. In 2017, when he embarked on Hajj, he was seen personally serving Pilgrim food and water in their various hotel rooms.

All in all, the Muslim community in Ghana have had their fair share of the national cake because Dr. Bawumia is the second gentleman of Ghana. His love for Islam is just phenomenal.

It is no doubt that the National Chief Imam who is very careful with his praise of personalities surprisingly heaped praises on Dr. Bawumia on 8th December 2018 when he stated: " His Excellency the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has done so much and this presentation is to acknowledge and appreciate his contribution, passion and commitment to the cause of Islam".

The Chief Imam heaped this praises on the Vice President when he( National Chief Imam) presented a special batakari during the 61st Annual Maulid Celebration to mark the birth of Prophet Muhammad( SAW) in Fadama, Accra.