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Opinions of Thursday, 24 July 2008

Columnist: Acquah, Henry

NPP In Search Of Another Northern Moslem

To Use And Dump Like Aliu

Will Our Northern And Moslem Brethren Allow Themselves To Be Insulted Again?

Within a matter of days, the NPP presidential candidate Nana Akufo Addo will be coming out with the name of his running mate.

Deep throat sources close to the NPP flagbearer are unanimous that the candidate will most definitely come from the Northern sector of Ghana and will most probably be a Moslem.

This will not be the first time since the inauguration of the 4th republican constitution that the New Patriotic Party will be going up north to choose a running mate for the party.

Prof Albert Adu Boahen, in 1992 did so. In 19996, Candidate J.A. Kufuor would most certainly have done so but for the ill advised alliance with the then PCP that necessated the nomination of then Kow Nkensen Arkaah.

In the year 2000, candidate Kufuor tracked back to the north once more to choose Aliu Mahama as his running mate.

From the foregoing, it comes as no surprise that the NPP will this time again go up north to make another choice.

On the surface, it will seem that the New Patriotic Party does truly believe in the cause of the North and of the Moslems of Ghana. But upon a closer scrutiny, one realizes that NPP is just as usual playing its game of "Tokenism".

The game is simple- Do whatever it takes to "Con" a group to believe that you have their interest at heart in order to influence them to give you what you need from them- and after that, show your true colours. The basic assumption in this game is that some human beings are either not intelligent enough or/and forget too soon lessons of the past.

To know the nature of the game of "regional and religious tokenism" being played by the NPP, one just needs to examine how the NPP, not too long ago, treated the longest Vice President in the history of Ghana.

Alhaji Aliu Mahama would have most definitely been a presidential candidate if he had been the Vice president in 99.9 percent of a non-ethnic oriented political party anywhere in the world.

Mbeki of South Africa seamlessly took over the leadership of the ANC when Nelson Mandela finished his term. It was virtually an automatic process that saw George Bush Snr become the candidate of the Republican Party after Ronald Reagan had finished his turn. Al Gore followed the same path when he virtually effortlessly became the candidate of the Democratic Party in the year 2000. If it had not been that Dick Chenneh, were too old and therefore not interested, he would have similarly become the nominee for the Republican Party ahead of this year's general elections.

In all these advanced democracies, just like what pertained in Ghana in the year 2000, when Prof Mills took the baton after President Rawlings came to the end of his tenure, such transition from President to Vice are as effortless as the succession of day and night.

But when it comes to the NPP, a party accurately described by one of its top leaders, Amoako Tufuor, as an Akan party, what is normal all over the world does surely not apply. All people are not equal within the NPP. As a matter of fact, the description of Akan party would itself seem to be inaccurate because within the large Akan family, some acciording to NPP's core beliefs, are more equal than others. This therefore accounts for the belief among the Fantis, the Akwapims, the Kwahus in that party that one's chances to reach that ultimate spot, are almost nil unless one is either Ashanti or Akyem.

Vice President Aliu, knew that he had an impossible task by reason of where he came from. For a party that hardly allows other members of the Akan family to have a look in, it does not need rocket science to realize that right from day one, Aliu was just wasting his time.

If Aliu Mahama had been a Vice President under an NDC government, he would have surely been a presidential candidate today. It is for this reason that the Northern part of Ghana knows that in John Mahama, they have a real hope of having a Presidential candidate with a chance of becoming President in the very near future.

The reason is because, unlike the NPP, the NDC does not practise that regional and religious tokenism. The respect and affection that the NDC has for the north and the Islamic community (who constitute one of the most staunch core support bases of the party), will at all times ensure that in the event of John Dramani Mahama successfully serving as Vice President under Mills, as Aliu successfully served under Kufuor, he will without much sweat be in the front of the queue of succession and most certainly become the next candidate following the tradition that pertains in all advanced democracies.

Alhaji Boniface, Hajia Alima and the Civil servant Alhaji Jawula, one of whose is likely to be named by Akufo Addo soon, certainly are in no doubt that the party is simply in search of another northern Moslem to use and dump like they did to Alhaji Aliu Mahama. But such is the human greed and selfishness, that it appears they do not mind that fate at all. Obviously all they want at the moment is to also get the nomination so that they could go down in history as either a vice presidential candidate of a major party or in the unlikely event of NPP winning, become like Aliu, a vice president who when the time comes will be shoved aside for another "superior" Ashanti or Akyem candidate to take over.

These are the naked realities. These bare truths are hated by the NPP.

The party is uncomfortable when these truths are brought into the open, but the treatment meted out to Aliu is the concrete proof of how this political tradition just plays the game of religious and regional tokenism to get what it wants.

The critical question is whether the great people of the North and the discerning Moslem community nationwide will allow themselves to be so insulted again.