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Opinions of Friday, 4 November 2011

Columnist: Akoto, Akwasi A. Afrifa

Mustapha Hamid For The Veep Slot Of The NPP 2012

According to reports, candidate Kufuor, initially, sent Alhaji Aliu Mahama to offer the Vice presidential slot to Dr. Edward Mahama of the PNC. Dr. Mahama refused the offer. So candidate Kufuor chose his emissary, Aliu Mahama as his vice president. The rest, as they say, is history. In fact, I'm very glad that Dr. Mahama refused. If God had called Kufuor during his reign, the presidency 'd have fallen to an outsider. What a headache it 'd have created.

Then in "Chasing The Elephant Into The Bush" by Dr. Kennedy, Candidate Nana Addo, at first settled on Hajia Alima Mahama. But when Gabby Asare Otchere Darko led it slip in a meeting with some Northern leaders of Nana's choice, all hell broke loose. The Northern leaders, according to Dr. Kennedy, immediately rejected Hajia Alima Mahama on the grounds, among other things that, she was an unmarried woman. Whether Gabby's slip was premature or intentional, no one knows. But it is politically astute to intentionally feed public opinion with hints of yet to be announced proposals, in order to gauge the level of acceptance of such proposals so that if anything has to been modified or changed, it can be done before the final announcement is made. In the end, Nana chose Dr. Bawumia. To many, Dr. Bawumia did not bring much to the ticket politically except his "technocracy", which would have been beneficial only after the fact or even without political office. So here we are again, with our presidential candidate chosen with the vice president yet to be picked. That the NPP must choose a Northern candidate as VP is a foregone conclusion so we won't waste time on the historical rational behind it. The most important question however remains: should the NPP once again choose " a token"-style- Northern candidate or we must pick a Northern candidate -with political substance- who can compete and campaign and win the presidential primaries- or at least perform decently-when Nana is done with his presidency?

As we are aware, Aliu Mahama and Dr.Bawumia are not politicians in the conventional or historical sense. As such, Aliu Mahama's inability to win the 2008 primaries, though he was the vice president, was diabolically interpreted by P-ndc propagandists as Akan's "inherent disdain" for Northerners. And it is quite possible that the same fate 'd have befallen Dr.Bawumia had Nana won the elections; which in itself would have reinforced the Akan party mis-perception. Thus, it is this mis-perception that the NPP must do everything in its capacity to debunk going forward.

And it is for the above reason why I believe that Nana must pick Islamic scholar and University of Cape Coast lecturer, Mustapha Hamid as his vice presidential candidate for 2012. As things stand now, only Mustapha Hamid has the personality and fire to campaign and win over the electoral college - 110,000 or so voters- after Nana is done with his tenure as president. For no one 'd hand over the presidency on a silver platter to any one who would not be able to stand on his own politically, regardless of whether he is a VP or not or from the North or South.

Mustapha Hamid is young, articulate, already known and most important, a politician. He 'd be able to get down and "dirty" with citizens. Mustapha Hamid is the prototype of the modern day politician cast in the same mold as Obama, Cameroon, Clegg and others. He would appeal to all and sundry -the young, the old, Moslems, Christians, Northerners, Southerners,P-ndc, CPP etc. He 'd connect with the youth -more than 50% of the population. All the NPP would have to do is to surround Mr. Hamid with experience hands and party gurus and send him across country and abroad and we 'd see the magic he 'd perform. (In four to eight years, he 'd be ready for the highest office in the Land, baptized by the exposure as VP candidate. And once he breaks the "barrier" the future prospects of the party 'd be greatly enhanced)

It is true that Mustapha Hamid wrote a damning article against the Kufuor administration in the early days of 2009. But that should not be a worry to the faithful. If anything else, it shows that he is a man of principle and integrity who is not afraid to take on the "powers that be." And that is what the country needs right now.

And to the many chanting for Nana to retain Dr. Bawumia, thinking that a change 'd be an admittance of "misjudgement" or "failure", they should remember that President Franklin Roosevelt -before the 22nd amendment established term limits- ran for president three times. And on all three occasions, he chose three different vice presidents.

The future of Ghana belongs to the youth of today. So it is important that the NPP strategize for the future. And Mustapha Hamid is the future.

Akwasi A. Afrifa Akoto