Feature Article of Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Columnist: Pul, Hippolyt

Nana Addo Must Decide Now Or Lose It Forever.

I write this piece because I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by the unnecessary delays of the NPP in selecting a running mate for the party. Nearly a year after the well-ran primaries to select the Presidential candidate, the party has willfully inflicted on itself an unnecessary public image damage that will cost it dearly come election day this year. The undue delay in coming up with a running mate has been attributed to the need for wider consultations on the matter. Good intentioned as it is, the consultations cannot go on forever. There must be a point when the critical information needed to make a decision is amassed. If the party still doesn’t have that critical mass of information now, then it has lost it. This is because the internal wrangling and lobbying that this delay has permitted will have considerable negative fallout irrespective of which way the decision is eventually made.

Beyond that, as a political party, the NPP must know that this delay once more shows it off as an undisciplined party that is incapable of reigning in its supporters and rallying them around to make decisions very quickly. It seems to have forgotten that the loss of the 2008 elections was in part due to the Party’s inability to reign in its Presidential aspirants; a situation that led to the proliferation of candidates whose unbridled competition to outdo each other in attracting votes of the delegates to its congress gave the NPP a very bad public image at the time. This time round, the delays in selecting a running mate is doing exactly the same thing – at least, it gives me the impression that the party is indecisive about who amongst its members is best qualified to lead, since a running mate to the Presidential Candidate is indeed a leader of the party in-waiting.
If the selection of a running mate is indeed the sole prerogative of the flag bearer, then Nana Addo must demonstrate leadership and make a decision now. He cannot continue to hold his party and indeed all Ghanaians hostage by this unwarranted procrastination on the issue of selecting a running mate under the guise of interminable consultations. Selecting a running mate is definitely an important matter, but it cannot be more important than other decisions that a president of a country would have to take once in office. Leaders decide, and they do so quickly, even if the information they have is incomplete or lacking in some ways. And when they decide, they take full responsibility for their decisions if the decisions end up not being the perfect ones they would have wished for. That is the hallmark of good leadership.
What those holding up the decision-making process on this matter must realize is that in the real life of running a country, the Party or Nana Addo will not have the luxury of never-ending consultations. There will be times he must make decisions without hesitation and without consulting anybody. There will be no time for prevarications and delays under the pretext of consultations. The Party and Nana Addo must demonstrate that ability to make swift and good decisions now or risk losing the confidence of Ghanaians who are looking to them for an alternative government. If they cannot demonstrate leadership; if they cannot earn the confidence of Ghanaians that they are capable of making quick and good decisions, then I am afraid they are shooting themselves in the foot again.
What this delay in selecting a running mate does is to portray Nana Addo as a weak and indecisive leader who will entrust the destiny of this country to never-ending consultations when important decisions are to be made quickly.

Hippolyt Pul
Independent Political Analyst, Tamale.