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Opinions of Friday, 31 August 2007

Columnist: Kwaning, Martin

Why I Will Give My Vote To Aliu Mahama.

I once jokingly asked the National Chairman of the NPP whether I could split my vote and share it among Aliu Mahama, Nana Akufo Addo and Dan Botwe at the December Congress if I were a delegate. The answer from him was not a surprise to me. It is very unfortunate that sometimes in life circumstances compel you to make a choice between people you like and who have the ability and capability to perform a particular task. .

This dilemma, I believe, has given headaches to many potential delegates due to attend the NPP December Congress. It becomes tougher when you consider the immense contribution made by almost all the aspirants. But after brainstorming on all the personalities and the regions they come from, I am inclined by the force of Divine Justice to give my vote to Alhaji Aliu Mahama.

During one of his tours to many parts of the country, Professor Frempong Boateng – an NPP Presidential aspirant and also the CEO of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital - was reported as saying that if chosen to be the leader of the NPP and he eventually becomes the President of the Republic of Ghana, he will occasionally transfer the seat of government to the Northern part of the country to enable his government to embark on a massive development of that area. According to him the poor infrastructures in the Northern regions saddens him hence the idea of taking the Castle to the North for say a month in a year. The Geojournal (a well respected International journal published by Springer of the Netherlands) was alarmed about the future threat of diseases in the Northern parts of the country. Again Mr. Nii K Plange writing in his book titled Underdevelopment in the Northern Ghana, asked whether the problems in the Northern part of the country are as a result of natural causes or a colonial capitalism?

Many people believe that the northern part of the country has been neglected politically and economically for far too long. It is based on this shared conviction that I plead with the Delegates to give their vote to Aliu Mahama. It is really a natural justice that since independence, this is the first time that someone from the North has demonstrated the highest presidential qualities and hence the need to support him to grab the ultimate prize. (Dr. Hilla Linman did not pass through the process and was certainly not well equipped, so don’t mention his name)

The Vice President himself recently told a group of Northerners in Tamale that ‘’if you push me aside you push the developments of the Northern region aside’’. This spectacular observation clearly indicates that he has recognised the poor development in the North and therefore can use the North as a benchmark to spearhead the development of other deprived areas in the country. Almost every objective Ghanaian recognises that the Southern part of the country has had its fair share of the National cake and therefore there should be a show of solidarity in helping our fellow countrymen in the North. The underdelopment of the North was encapsulated in a recent report, which indicates that there are more than 600 industries in the South while there are only 20 for the entire 3 regions of the Northern part of the country.

Our first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, having realised the need to empower our people from the northern regions instituted free education for tertiary students from the North. Today we are all witnessing some of the brilliant contributions made by sons/daughters from the Northern region to our country’s development.

There are huge benefits that the entire nation will gain by developing the Northern part of the country. For me it will partially halt the mass migration of people from that part of the country to the capital city with its associated problems of overcrowding and the pressure on social amenities. Are we as a nation not concerned about the problems caused by overcrowding in our capital city? It is really a nightmare - crime, bad sanitation etc. and I am hoping that there will not be any environmental explosion in Accra. It is really chaotic and a disgrace on our identity as the Star Of Africa. We may as a nation collectively resolve to develop the countryside thereby discouraging people from coming to Accra. This is where we should give cash for developmental projects rather than cash for the people.

Why can’t government compel road/building contractors to build a clinic or toilet facilities in any district where they are undertaking their projects? If government include such a clause in the contractual agreement when any massive project is about to be undertaken, so many villages/towns, which lack particularly a public place of convenience, will benefit.

In giving the nod to Aliu Mahama, it will undeniably attract foreign investors to the Northern part of the country to establish projects there. There is credible information that the North has natural resources in abundance that can be tapped and leveraged to the advantage of the entire country. This in itself will create jobs for the people in that part of the country. When people are working and enjoying life, there will certainly be no need to engage in conflicts that hitherto have gripped some parts of the North, which to me is having unnecessary drain on the National kitty. At times I do not understand why government do not make known the massive cost of maintaining peace in the Northern part of the country. When the true and unnecessary cost of maintaining the security staff in that area as a result of the conflicts is made public, people will be awake and will campaign for peace in that area. That huge amount could have otherwise been used for massive projects that are lacking in that area.

Truly, there are some who have raised a few negatives about Alhaji Aliu Mahama, yet I am yet to find a person on this planet earth who is without faults, certainly no one, even our pastors/imams are without blemish. He may have his shortcomings but arguably Aliu Mahama candidacy is the best for the NPP/Country in the context of the prevailing circumstances in the country.

In an article recently published on the Ghanaweb, someone criticised a group purported to be rooting for Aliu and the writer was annoyed that the group by their action was trying to bring ethnic tension in the NPP primaries. I cannot fathom the rationale behind his thinking. If a group thinks for 50years of our independence this is the first time an indigenous northerner is close to taking the highest office of the land and therefore to avoid a perceived ethnic sentimentality we should give the nod to Aliu, what is wrong with that? What is more, in marketing the various aspirants, supporters will use all strategies to convince the Delegates and there is nothing wrong.

Again some have expressed certain discomfort about an Aliu Presidency and mention what happened during Dr. Liman’s tenure. These people are not strategists. How can you use 1981/1982 conditions to measure today’s circumstances? We have moved on as a nation and there is no way Ghanaians will tolerate conditions that prevailed over a quarter of a century ago now. There is a strong and vocal Parliament; the Cabinet Ministers are strong and Ghanaians are more vigilant, a vigilante media. To top it, the persona of Aliu Mahama is that of a genuine person who wants to bring this country together for our common aspiration. It is believed in some quarters that if any of the following personalities - Dan Botwe, Alan Kyeremanten, or Papa Owusu Arkoma, Hackman – partnered Aliu Mahama, it will be the best ticket for the NPP and the nation. I am certainly not in the position to advise any of the aspirants.

As I have repeatedly said in my various articles, the current global phenomenon makes it impossible for a President to singularly handle the challenges of the nation. It will take the collective efforts of the entire ministers resolving to work as a team and assisting the President to catapult the country to where all Ghanaians want it to be.

It is very crucial that as a nation we bury the ancient ways of thinking and evaluate individuals and focus on the ability of the personality to do the job and also the suitability of the individual to the circumstances prevailing in the country. Even if the December Congress do not give the nod to Aliu Mahama but rather to Nana Addo or Alan Kyeremanten, or Dan Botwe or Hackman Owusu Agyeman etc., we must as party activists help the government to pay extra attention to the north and if possible adopt Professor Frempong Boateng’s suggestion of moving the castle to the North once or twice in a year.

To all the aspirants good luck and show a sign of maturity and show your humility by refraining from insulting other aspirants. Again the emerging trend of some supporters using the media to destroy other aspirants is inhuman and those behind such acts should bow their heads in shame. You write about the reasons why you think your candidate is good and not the personal attacks on his opponents. Mentioning the indiscretions of some of the aspirants when they were young is not necessary and very much uncalled for. To quote Hon.Obiri Boahene (a Minister of State in the Interior Ministry) ‘’when I was young I spoke like a child, today am mature…’’

We should therefore concentrate on what the individual is capable of achieving for Party and country.


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