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Politics of Thursday, 5 September 2013

Source: The Al-Hajj

“NPP not ready for Northern flagbearer”

“Those calling for a Northerner to lead the New Patriotic Party to the 2016 presidential elections must rethink that position. We will lose by a wide margin of votes if we dare gamble by electing a Northerner as our next flagbearer. President Mahama is from the North, so what makes us think Ghanaians, particularly Northerners will vote for an aspiring presidential candidate from our side as against an incumbent president from the same ethnic extraction?”

This was the heart-aching sentiments of Mr. Yahaya Kwota, a National Communication Team member of the opposition New Patriotic Party, who is much worried about calls by some section of the party to breaking the party’s “convention” since the start of the fourth Republic by electing a flagbearer from any of the three Northern regions.

Admitting he would have wished the party elect a Northerner as flagbearer at its next delegates’ congress since he is also a Northerner, the leading NPP functionary stated that, the timing for such a laudable call is “completely wrong, and if carried out, will keep the NPP in opposition for ages, if not decades.”

“I’m a Northerner, and I would have loved to see a fellow Northerner lead our party, but this is not the right time for such a project. The current president is from the North…, he is well revered there because after Dr. Hila Liman, he is the next person from that part of the country to have ascended to the highest office of the land. Do you think our brothers and sisters from the North will ignore the current president and vote for a Northerner flagbearer of the NPP in 2016? That is practically and simply an impossibility,” he averred.

He added that, since President Mahama is likely to contest the 2016 elections, it would even be more difficult for the NPP to win back power if they leave the leadership mantle to a Northerner even in the 2020 elections because “Ghanaians in general would not like to vote for another Northerner President, so for the 2016, 2020 elections and even beyond, the NPP must not dare fix a Northerner flagbearer.

Mr. Kwota said, rather than crusading to have a Northerner elected as flagbearer, the rank and file of the NPP must keep their noses to the grindstone and make sure they ‘relinquish’ two key National Executive positions to Northerners in the NPP, adding, “that is the only surest way we can appeal to the majority of Ghanaians, especially those from the minority tribes in the country to come back to power”

“If we really want to come back to power, the party must allow Northerners to occupy two of its National Executive positions, that is, National Chairman, General Secretary or National Organizer positions. I know the North already have the National Organizer portfolio, so they have to add either the National Chairman or General Secretary Position to us; with that, I can assure of an NPP victory come 2016,” he added.

Though the NPP communication team member did not mention the name of the 2012 running mate of the party, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as the Northerner who is being tossed by some sections of the party to lead them to the 2016 elections, speculations are rife that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the 2012 presidential candidate of the party will soon announce his retirement in active politics and present Dr. Bawumia as his heir aspirant”

Considering Dr. Bawumia’s popularity on the Ghanaian political landscape due to his sterling and depth of wisdom exhibited when he acted as the 2nd petitioner and principal witness in the just ended election petition at the Supreme Court, which the NPP lost, many political analyst say he is the best bet for the biggest opposition party if they indeed, wish to make any better showing in the 2016 elections.

But, Mr. Yahaya Kwota rebuff the permutation saying, that will only spell doom for the party, stressing “the mere fact that our critics have lambasted the NPP for having some hatred for Northerners, that was why no Northerner has ever lead the party, especially in the fourth Republic, does mean we should rush and elect a Northerner flagbearer for the party at this era…, the timing is completely not right.”

He added that, having a Southerner as flagbearer for the NPP in the present circumstance the party finds itself will be the ideal political decision any serious political party worth it sought will take, stressing “the party should give the North, two of the key National Executive positions and do same to the Volta region, and I bet you, that will win us power come 2016 and beyond.”