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Opinions of Thursday, 2 February 2023

Columnist: E. G. Buckman

Election 2024: Crucial and disturbing facts that cannot be buried

Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

Dear Patriot,

Permit me to share with you some disturbing facts that the NPP needs to be concerned with going into 2024. 

In the last election, the NPP lost in almost all the major Zongo areas in the country, yet some people want us to believe that the Alhaji is our best bet for 2024. Not even his presence in the Zongos and his face on the posters, plus the Zongo Development Fund and Ministry, could lure the Zongo votes into our basket. 

If people in the Zongos could reject the Alhaji in such a disgraceful manner due to the Rawlings factor and the fact that most of them don’t like the way he goes to church to dance and allow hands to be laid upon him, what do you think the fanatics in the 71.2% Christian Community would do to us should we mistakenly present him as our candidate? 

I dare to ask, where would the Alhaji get the votes from to win the 2024 election? From the Zongos, Christian community, Akan community, youth community, women's community, or business community? The man is disadvantaged in all these communities.

I really don’t get it. How can any serious party that wants to win power present a candidate who is doubly disadvantaged relative to religion and ethnicity (minority in both) when these two play roles in a game of numbers like politics? Have those shouting BMW really sat down to deeply brood over the issues? Or they are being carried away by emotion and cash.

The man can’t even win in his own Muslim backyard, yet we are told he can win the Christian votes for the party against John Mahama, a competitive Christian candidate. Only hatred would make someone believe this claim, I dare to say.

Even in Walewale township, where Alhaji casts his vote, out of 35 polling stations, the NPP won only four after spending so many resources in that area. And, don’t forget we lost a safe seat like Nalerigu-Gambaga Constituency in North East where the Alhaji traces his root. 

So, you can understand why our total parliamentary seats in the five regions in the north decreased from 21 to 20 in the last election, after spending over 60% of the party’s campaign resources in a part of the country alone to create the so-called Bawumia effect that never was. These truths they won’t tell you.

Again, while the Ashanti Region gave us a 1,142,292 vote difference in 2020, Alhaji's region, North East, could only give the party a difference of 10,436, after spending more resources there than any other region. In the face of such a massive difference in numbers, some people want the party to reject a candidate who can massively increase our votes in the Ashanti Region for the Walewale man. What at all has come over some of our people?

Moreover, in a desperate attempt to dispel or deflate the reality of the religious factor within our body politic, the Alhaji has been visiting churches with fat brown envelopes. Charle the man has the cash to spend paaa o!

Perhaps Uncle Fred has whispered in his ears that he can buy the Christian votes. The other day I overheard someone talking about Saudi, Iranian, and Turkish cash.

Not only that, but the camp of Alhaji has also disturbingly started sponsoring the publication of fake polls to project him as a frontrunner and also suggest the issues of religion and ethnicity, his two weaknesses, have no place in our elections. Who are they trying to deceive? The delegates or themselves!

Were we not made to believe that with Alhaji as the head of the Economic Management Team, Ghana’s economy would be sweeter than honey? And, now, we are being told that with him as our candidate, the party would win more of the 71.2% Christian and 47.5% Akan votes than Alan Kyerematen would do against John Mahama. Are we really serious to win power?

As I mentioned in one of my articles, religion’s role in politics is quite akin to the role of a silent killer in movies. It doesn’t kill you with the mouth, it kills you subtly with the heart. It sweeps you away like an undercurrent. 

Patriot, permit me to share with you some analysis I made some time ago to bring to the knowledge of party delegates how the religious factor dealt a hefty blow to the NPP in the Ajumako Enyan Essiam Constituency in the 2020 elections. Let me briefly share that with you. 

In the year 2008, the NDC’s Hon. Ato Forson won the seat from the NPP with a difference of 2,930. Before that time, the NPP’s Isaac Edumadzi (now late) had dominated that constituency for three consecutive terms. Again, Ato Forson won it in 2012 with a difference of 3,290. In 2016, he won it again with a difference of 3,698. 

Ironically, in 2020, when the party treated that constituency as a special project and sent more resources there to oust Ato Forson, the difference unbelievably skyrocketed from 3,698 to 11,000. Yes, the difference was 11,000! And, do you know what caused that unimaginable increase in the difference? A religious factor! How? 

The painful truth is that the party mistakenly presented Dr. Rashid, a fine Fante-Muslim intellectual, in an overly Christian-dominated constituency. The fanatical Christians in that constituency silently pulled the trigger and devastated the party, as the NDC quietly played the religious card. 

Interestingly, prior to the election, almost every big man in the NPP visited that constituency to help get Dr. Ato Forson out. In fact, the party actually counted that constituency as one of the seats to be easily won because, on the surface, everything looked perfect—a massive, never-seen-before turnout. But, you see, the religious factor doesn’t show its teeth before it devours. The religious factor in politics has always been an undercurrent.

Will I be wrong to boldly say that what happened in that constituency could be a perfect microcosm of what would befall the party should we mistakenly present Alhaji as a candidate for 2024 in this overly Christian-dominated country? I don’t think so!

Let me conclude with the Nigerian situation. In Nigeria, the PDP was the first to choose its candidate. Knowing that the country is slightly dominated by Muslims, they chose a Muslim from the north, Abunakar Atiku.

Then it was the turn of APC, the ruling party, to choose its candidate. The contest became a two-horse race between the sitting Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, a Christian, and Bola Ahmed Tinabu, a Muslim from the South. 

Interestingly, the Muslim President was supporting his Christian Vice President, but the party found wisdom in choosing Tinabu so that the PDP, with Atiku, would not have an advantage over them in the dominant Muslim community. And what’s even more interesting is that the Christian community has largely rallied behind Peter Obi, believing that there could be a split of votes between the two Muslims for Obi to win.

Let no one deceive you: religion plays a key role in politics everywhere in the world. Even in America, the Republicans tried to pin Obama down with a Muslim tag due to his middle name, Husein. They did that deliberately to get the majority Christian community to vote against him.

Obama had to quickly come out to show his baptismal certificate that he is Christian because he couldn’t afford to lose the Christian votes. When it comes to the issue of religion, people rarely talk about it in the open for obvious reasons. Most people prefer dealing with it quietly. A word to the wise!

Shalom shalom!