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Opinions of Monday, 27 September 2010

Columnist: Anekunabe

Should A Vice-President Always Come From The North?

In politics, each election brings new reasons by which a Presidential candidate to choose a Presidential running mate. This is a political calculus and a journey into the unknown. With Nana Akuffo -Addo securing a virtual lock on NPP’s nomination, attention have been turned to the choice of a Vice-presidential running mate. Naturally, Ghanaians of all political spectra are eagerly waiting to know whom he would choose as running mate. There would be media rumours and preferred candidates by political analysts and voters alike. However, is there a specific formula for this choice? Certainly, the choice of a running mate is viewed as good indicator of how a potential president makes decisions, his thinking and judgement. Will it be a choice best for the country or what is best for the potential President’s own comfort?
Of late, the person who filled the Vice-president’s slots by both NDC and NPP parties has been chosen from the Northern Regions. This political trend is making an attempt to make the Vice-president position a “Northern” pick. Many may cite the constitution as a justification. However, constitutional provisions do not necessarily solve rational political problems. It’s fair to say the Northern regions have some capable leaders but the experience of Kufour-Aliu exposed this facade. It’s nothing but a cosmetic pick. This trend is becoming a political fraud. Indeed, picking a Vice-president should be about balancing a ticket not only for geographic and Machiavellian power play but also for the entire welfare of the country. There should be factors such as compatibility and competence. They might not necessarily agree consistently but should be able get along without any spill over of temper tantrums and fisticuffs. Ideologically, is the Vice-president being groomed for the Presidency? This could be a very delicate decision as the Vice-president could hurt more than help the President. The two should have good chemistry but not an overshadowing force. The Vice-presidency is important because, when the President becomes incapacitated or dies, it’s the Vice who takes over the affairs of this country. Hence, we need leaders who have sound intellectual judgement, charisma and dynamism, integrity, academic and moral credentials and proven quality of leadership service from within and sometimes, outside the party to fill that position.
In Government, it doesn’t matter which region or tribe a President or vice is from as far as there’s adequate representation of competent people from the different ethnic background in the Government. Ghana’s socio political psyche is at risk of being reshaped by this ritual “North-South” picks as a pattern for our national leadership. We must turn the page on this “North-South” pattern and select competent leaders in the interest of the nation. It’s an ageless fact, that no nation can achieve national development without honest competent men and women in leadership. This means, we must have leaders who are committed to nation building and development irrespective of the geo politics of our nation. The best Vice-president the Northern regions can have is dynamic, fair and just national policies and programs that could transform the economy, rejuvenate education and health sectors, to ensure effective peace building and adequate security as well as pragmatic agricultural policies and agro-based industries to alleviate poverty and reduce unemployment in the regions.

Yes, any person from the Northern regions can be a Presidential /Vice candidate. But the person must be qualified like any other Ghanaian from other regions. There’s an absurdly optimistic view held some that, choosing someone from the North reflects national unity, whilst guaranteeing electoral in roads. These are very superficial assumptions and cosmetic political project-driven by vote winning tactics and washable ethnic colourisation of a party and not as a national necessity. History should be a handy guide. You can fool some of the voters, some of the time, but most of them come to their senses in the end. And also, once bitten, twice shy. In Ghana, politics is a very fascinating and cunning one. And political leadership in this country is like climbing a greasy pole. It’s a real power struggle and often bitter struggle. If this trend is not reassessed, Ghanaians will only wake up to see a caricature stumble into the Presidency of this country one day.

Written and presented by LONTO-BOY.