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Opinions of Thursday, 13 August 2009

Columnist: Arthur, Godfried Ebo

The NPP’s Long Honeymoon

It seems to me that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is at a cross road and does not know exactly where we want to go. It is not entirely unusual for a Party that just suffered such a crushing defeat as an incumbent Party to experience such crisis. Likewise, it is also not unusual for a defeated party to learn quickly from the fact that we lost an election we should have won and figure out how to move on.

The hierarchy and the grand patrons of the Party are acting so perilously as though they still have not figured out why and how we lost the last elections. They seem to be suffering from a paralysis of analysis and the earlier they wake up from their deep slumber the better it will be for all of us. The rancor and the senseless acrimony that has characterized our post election debate, to me exemplifies why we lost an election which was supposed to be “one touch” to borrow our own arrogant campaign slogan.

I think it is high time that the unnecessary finger pointing stops and the real rallying of our forces seriously begin. We obviously come across like a Leaderless Political Party without any focus and agenda. The only agenda that some in our Party care about is to be President and nothing less would satisfy them. From all practical reports coming from our own folks back home, it seems to me that a good cross section of Ghanaians are experiencing bias remorse at the moment. Instead of us capitalizing and exploiting the unpreparedness of the NDC and the way they are governing the country to our advantage, we are wasting very precious time bickering over a process and idea whose time is way overdue. One Member One Vote, (OMOV) - popularly known within the NPP-USA as “Obiara Nto Bi”.

Looking at how perplexed and clueless the NDC is currently behaving at the helm of affairs, and their ribald encroachment on personal liberties of Party and former government officials, our silence is indeed irrational. Seriously, where is our party’s response to the reckless misappropriation of justice being meted out to NPP officials by the current administration with the connivance of the BNI? Why have we put ourselves into political oblivion just because we do not have a flag bearer in place? Why has a big Party like the NPP deferred our relevance only to our flag bearers, as though only they can speak for the Party? Ironically, all the names being bandied around for 2012 have been mercilessly quiet about the affairs of the country. I do not know how these presidential wannabes expect to develop any serious national following outside their base by exhibiting such political amnesia. What kind of political strategy is that? It seems to me that, there are some who have arrogated to themselves some divine ownership powers of this Party that, anybody besides them is considered persona non grata. Yet, these super lords blew it for everybody else big time. We all talk of 2012 as if we have all the time in the world to get our act together, but in real time and according to our Party’s Constitution we actually do not have that much time. As a matter of fact, the Party’s Flag Bearer is supposed to be selected by the middle of next year since we are in opposition as mandated by our Constitution. Therefore, the urgency of time is now. There is a dialogue that is seriously lacking in our party that borders on self destruction if not political suicide. I mean serious intellectual dialogue devoid of silly pettiness and small mindedness, but rather selfless and frank conversation based on big ideas that will sustain our Grand Old Party for years to come. Is it not our Party which for a long time boasted of having the “MEN”? Where are those MEN now? Why have they left our Party in search of its soul and focus? Maybe the time has come for the locus of leadership of the NPP to be transferred to a new brand of progressive leaders without the usual individual parochial interests that have bedeviled our Party in recent years.

This is where the selection of our Party’s Flag bearer for the next Presidential election comes in. Do we want someone to just contest election for us, or a nominee with a strong character and a progressive agenda for the party? Are we as a Party looking for a Leader with a positive vision for the Party and to its logical extension the Country or individuals seeking to actualize their lifetime dreams or ambitions? Some of us lament the fact that, a Party that prides itself of having the “MEN” and also “Champions of Democracy “has now decided to limit itself as to who can and cannot contest for its flag bearership position. Has the loss of the last election to the NDC demoralized us so much that we are willing to abandon our core Principle of Development in Freedom? Some of us belong and will vouch for this party with any fiber of our being for a reason. This Party’s philosophy as we knew it was based on an idea as much as an ideal which has won the decade’s old debate over ideology of inclusion and openness versus the ideology of closeness. Therefore, for the NPP to place unnecessary limitation and barriers on ourselves in this day and age is very retrogressive and counterproductive to say the least. Are we afraid of our own shadows or what? Why are some folks in our Party leadership so recalcitrant and very much indifferent to opening up the nominating process to all of us? What do some of these people know that some of us do not know? Or is it maybe it will not be easy to buy a nomination that way with “(obiara nto bi)”? I am still waiting for anybody to seriously convince me or make a genuine case for limiting a “Democratic” process, and how that can be considered a progressive agenda for at least our Party?

Myriad of reasons are always brought up against opening up our selection process to at least involve legitimate card carrying members of our Party. Besides the desire to maintain the status quo to protect some individual interests, some of the arguments are just inscrutable. There are two main often cited reasons for this self limitation; the first one is this ridiculous issue of infiltration by the opposition to influence and taint the process to support a weaker candidate. This idea that the NDC or for that matter any opposition entity can register enough people to influence National elections is an inane an excuse as those making it. I mean this seriously and who determines a weaker candidate? Did we seriously think Nana was a weaker candidate to face off with Attah Mills? Yet he lost an election we all thought was going to be “one touch”. Likewise, I’m sure some folks in the so called Bible belt in the United State did not in their wildest dreams think Barak Hussein Obama had a prayer in the last elections here, and yet we all saw what happened. Therefore this infiltration canard is just that; nonsense.

Then there is this other cited reason for self limitation which obtains to the number of contestants during our last nominating process and it’s culminating Delegates Congress at the Great Hall - Legon. The so called “image problem”. I believed then and now, that the issue was not the number of Aspirants, but rather the process and how some of them chose to win the top prize by any means necessary. They want some of us to believe that, it was Arthur K, Adjei Bawuah and the Boakye Agyarkos’ of our Party who soiled our Party’s “pristine image”. That’s balderas to be polite. I bet that a good section if not most Ghanaians still do not even know these guys contested for the top prize anyway. The sad irony about this whole image or the perception issue is that, the top Guns of our Party together with their cronies created this image problem for the party. They are the ones who perverted our selecting process with their devious and reckless display of opulence and arrogance thereby giving the Party the tarnished reputation in the first place. Unfortunately, these same gangs are the ones bent on prescribing this crazy self limiting nonsense for the Party. If limitation is such a great idea, let these folks embargo themselves out of the process, since they helped to damage the integrity of the process anyway. These Party honchos want to prescribe a solution to address the Party’s image problem without being contrite about the role some of them played in fostering that “image problem” for the Party. And now they want a cabal to decide who has the right to contest for the top prize of our party? They should not be allowed to get away with that. They must be reminded of their complicity of our party’s defeat in the last elections anytime they try to thwart our efforts to expand the process by conjuring up this fictitious image issue.

This is the time to speak and stand up for the process. As far as I’m concerned, in democracy, more participation is always better. As the adage goes, if wise men sit down and do nothing, fools rule them. And to paraphrase the Great Al Einstein; you do not solve the problems with the same minds that created them in the first place. Obiara Nto Bi.

Dr. Godfried Ebo Arthur, (aka; Ebo foli)

Townsend, DE USA