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Opinions of Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Columnist: Appiah-Osei, Lawrence

Why Alhaji Aliu Mahama never became a Presidential Candidate

There is much talked about that President John Mahama, has at a recent campaign at Zualerigu in the Upper East Region, told the chiefs and people that, the people from the Northern Ghana should vote for him because he is one of them. He explained that the people from the Northern Ghana have been made Vice Presidents for far too long and that they are now a heart beat from the Presidency. He is therefore the right person for the job.
The opposition parties in Ghana with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) leading the charge that the comments by the President would bring tribal tension to Ghana. I don’t want to make reference to Nana Akuffo-Addo’s “Yen Akanfo de, ye do yenho” meaning, “We the Akans, we love each other” because the NPP does not see this as bringing tribal tensions to Ghana. But what is more dangerous than this?
Was President John Mahama wrong in saying that and why would the NPP think this would bring tribal tension? Alhaji Aliu Mahama (May his Soul rest in Perfect Peace) was the Vice President of Ghana under the NPP from January 2001 to January 2008, so why was he not the Presidential Candidate for the NPP in 2008? Have the Northerners in NPP, sat down to answer this simple question?
Recently, I had a conversation with a friend, who was a former National Executive member of NPP USA. This guy has inside friends of the NPP and so knows most of the dealings in the inner circle of the NPP. I asked him the aftermath of Nana’s campaign. He gave me two scenarios. The first was that Nana wins in 2012 and continues for 8 years. After that Mr. Alan Kyeremanten would be made the Presidential Candidate. If he wins, fine. If he doesn’t win, he will go the second time. After Alan, they will make Mr. Kwabena Agyapong their Presidential Candidate. If he wins, fine. If he doesn’t win, he will be presented a second time.
The second scenario was that if Nana doesn’t win in 2012, the NPP will retire him from active politics and the rest of the first scenario will hold. In all these cases, a northerner would be made a Vice President. I asked him the fate of Dr. Bawumia, the current Vice Presidential Candidate of the NPP. He just said as Alhaji Aliu Mahama never became the Presidential Candidate, so would Dr. Bawumia. He indicated emphatically that Dr. Bawumia is aware of this arrangement.
What made me to take the answers my NPP friend gave seriously was that, I know that has been the mindset of the NPP all these years, and also that could be the reason why former President Kuffour did not support his Vice (Aliu Mahama) to succeed him.
President Kuffour has said on November 16 and 17 that Alhaji Aliu Mahama was a gentleman, a man of tact and decorum. He also called him a brother and said Aliu served Ghana diligently. He described Aliu Mahama as the Vice President any President could aspire to have. I remember President Bill Clinton of America said the same nice words about his Vice President, Al Gore and went ahead to support him. Al Gore became the Presidential Candidate for the Democratic Party in 2000. So, why is President Kuffour saying all these good things about Aliu Mahama, and yet supported a different candidate in 2008?
Do we still remember that during the 2008 Presidential primaries, the NPP delegates were shouting this slogan?, “It is now Nana’s time” Alhaji Aliu Mahama presented the best Curriculum Vitae (CV) including being the Vice President for eight (8) solid years and yet the delegates choose the person whose time it was to be their Presidential candidate. If you are from the North in the NPP, your time will never come.
I must say emphatically here that President Kuffour did not support his Vice, Alhaji Aliu Mahama because he is from the North and this is why Aliu Mahama never became a Presidential Candidate. This is why I agree with President John Mahama that the people of the North should not waste their votes for the NPP because of Dr. Bawumia. Voting a Northerner to be the Presidential Candidate of the NPP is not in their DNA, and can never be. Take it or leave it. So why should President John Mahama not remind the people of the northern part of Ghana that the Presidency is a heartbeat from them and that they should vote wisely for him. Would this bring tribal tension? Was that not a fair statement to the people of Northern Ghana? Why waste your votes when you can put them to proper use.
When the former President of Ghana, Prof. Atta Mills died, the NDC quickly nominated the Vice President, John Mahama to be their Presidential Candidate. There was no question and no debate. If a similar situation had happened to Ghana under the NPP administration, the party of rule of law would have found every article in the Ghanaian constitution and in the NPP constitution to have denied a Northern Vice President, the Presidency. I know for sure that the good lawyers from the north would also have advised their people against that move. What would have happened to Ghana now would be anybody’s guess.
You see, God knows the end from the beginning and that was why he made the NDC win in December 2008. This same God will let NDC win again in December 2012 because this God we serve is a Faithful and Peaceful God. The people of Northern Ghana are a heart beat from the Presidency. I agree 100%.
“The NPP left a big mess for the NDC. They think the NDC is not cleaning it fast enough and so they want to come back and continue with the same mess. Ghana is not going back again. Ghana is moving forward.”

Lawrence Appiah-Osei
NDC USA Finance Secretary