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Opinions of Sunday, 1 November 2009

Columnist: Sayibu, Akilu

Why It Must Be Aliu Mahama For 2012 Part (II)

When I wrote in the media last week why the New Patriotic Party (NPP) should settle on His Excellency the former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama for the 2012 elections, it generated some exciting discourse in the media. Some were of the opinion that I was playing the tribal card by rooting for the former Vice President.

Another group took issue with my comparison of the NPP to the BNP of Britain. I don’t know how such people managed to get me wrong with that. Let me explain that my reference to the BNP in the article was to highlight the fact that, a northerner has never led the NPP and when even the opportunity came in 2008, it was sadly squandered! Such people must understand that the BNP though for white British alone, has the Welsh and Scott’s as a member, that was the angle I was coming from.

To those who accused me of sounding undemocratic with my suggestion that the former Vice President should be woo to lead the NPP for the 2012 elections, I think they also hit below the belt. Consensus is part of democracy and that was why in 2003, then Candidate Kufour had no contest with anybody to lead the NPP for the 2004 elections. Calling for the former Vice President Aliu Mahama to be impressed upon to lead the NPP in 2012 is the beginning of consensus within the NPP towards getting an acceptable candidate for the 2012 elections who will be suitable to Ghanaians not NPP members alone.

My main motive for writing these articles is to tell the NPP the very bitter truth that they hate to hear, and which will let the NPP stay in opposition for decades if they fail to listen to me. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has started their campaign for 2012, and it is like the NPP is unaware of this. I will explain how they are doing it in subsequent paragraphs of this article. And to those who said the former Vice President is not competent to lead the NPP to me have a different definition for competence. How on earth can any sane person doubt the competence of some one who in the history of Ghana is the only person to have being Veep for eight years without exchanging blows with the President at the castle!!

Some of the key attributes of a potential president are tolerance, obedience, service to nation, flexibility, accommodative, humility and a first class team player and the former Vice-President Alhaji Aliu Mahama has all these qualities in excess that he can bring to bear on the fortunes of the NPP should he be made the Candidate of the party for the 2012 elections.

To those accusing me of playing the tribal card, I think they should look further for who is actually playing a tribal card. The real problem that accounted for the defeat of the NPP in the last election was what I will call “The Akanisation and Akyemisation” of the NPP even at a time there was the complete opportunity in the then Veep Aliu Mahama to lead the Party and to detribalise it.

Why are the Akans and Akyems behaving as if they alone are fit or have the birth right to always lead the NPP when even current state of affairs demolishes that perception? Can’t the NPP learn from the Ewes from the Volta Region? NDC can not win elections in Ghana without the Volta Region the records are there for all to see. Has anybody ever heard an Ewe say or insists that, because they always vote for the NDC and their votes influences the national results then the Presidential Candidate of the NDC must by all means come from the Volta region?

An Ewe is not President now in Ghana but Ewes dominates in all sectors of the economy and are very happy with that. Anybody can challenge me on this if am wrong. That is exactly what the NPP must do. Akans and Akyems must for now shelve any ambition in terms of who leads the party in 2012 and rally behind Aliu Mahama for victory in 2012. Any thing short of this will not be pleasant to the ears in 2012.

Another issue that came up from readers in the part one of this article was why I was advocating for Aliu Mahama when he was unable to win the northern region in particular and the north at large for the NPP. This is hugely unfair and misplaced!

The NPP has polling station, constituency, regional and national executives to organise and organise to win power for the party. I refused to accept that, the collective responsibility of everybody should be placed on one person. The truth is that, it was for mischievous reasons that this issue was used and is still being used against Aliu Mahama. The NPP must learn to accept failure and victory collectively.

In any case the NPP did not win in the north for several reasons including the fact that, the former Vice President was even sidelined in the campaign of 2008. Was it not so irritating that, when even Bawumia the runningmate of the NPP was to be sent to the north to be introduced to the people the most popular politician from within the NPP from the north was not there? And was it not sad that, Bawumia was introduced to his own people from the north through an interpreted!! So why should it be the fault of the former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama? Was he the one who sat on the campaign resources that were sent to the north?

To those using the Dagbon crisis, it will be dishonesty of the highest order if the blame is put on Aliu Mahama just because he was Veep and came from the north. This is more irritating especially as some of those making such allegations are from within the NPP.

The questions to ask are; was he the Commander in Chief of the Country when the crisis happened? Why didn’t the March 2002 crisis happen when he was Director of Lidra Limited in Tamale? If there should be any blame at all on the NPP for the Dagbon crisis it should be seen as a problem that happened when NPP was in government and not only when Aliu Mahama was Veep.

Every discerning Ghanaian is aware that, but for the Dagbon Crisis NDC would have being erased from the political history of Ghana the NPP must learn how to strategise and communicate effectively in the face of these allegations, and not being the ones making these vile allegations .

I did mention somewhere that, the NDC has already started campaigning for the 2012 elections especially in the north the only way the NPP can get Northerners to vote for them in 2012 is to have a northerner and specifically Aliu Mahama with his wealth of political experience and humility to lead it.

When you go to Upper West Region, whereas it was even difficult for the NPP to get somebody from that region into its Cabinet the NDC in its less than a year old in government has certain key Ministerial appointments go to that region; Dr Benjamin Kumbour for health, Rashid Pelpuo for Sports and Yela Chireh for local government. I hope readers will bear me out that, it is not going to take an Akan or an Akyeam to compel the electorate to at least vote skirt and blouse for the NPP in 2012 from the north with this development.

The Upper-East region has the Works and Housing Ministry and the Interior Ministry to boast of, and Northern Region has a popular Veep in the person of His Excellency John Mahama, a Foreign Affairs Minister Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni and a Communications Ministers Haruna Iddrisu to contend with.

The intention of the NDC to create a new region from within the northern region will further consolidate its grip on the north. The only way as I will repeat that, the NPP can generate maximum votes from the north is for the people to have a symbol and hope of a president, and Aliu Mahama is just the very best for this at this time.

The Akans and Akyeams must respectfully get them selves ready to wholeheartedly and honestly support a northerner and for that matter his Excellency the former Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama to win the 2012 elections for the NPP for the future of the party.

If the late D.S. Dombo and Jatoe Kaleo among others could support Busia in the Past to win power for the progress party, it is not too much for a northerner to lead the NPP now with the rest offering their unencumbered support. Other reasons why it must be his Excellency the former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama for the 2012 elections will be continued in Part three of this article.

Akilu Sayibu, UK