‘You Can’t Buy Us’ A Press Statement By The New Patriotic Party
Good afternoon, Ghana. We have invited you here this afternoon on a matter that is of grave concern, not only to us, but to the people of Ghana.
The unity and cohesion of our country should not be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. We should all stand up and fight against those who wish to divide this country, merely because they want to perpetuate themselves in power. It is important that we name and shame those who seek political office on the altar of tribalism and ethnocentrism. I am sure you all witnessed the big and warm welcome that Nana Akufo-Addo and Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia received in the three regions of the North recently. Indeed, in the Greater Accra Region and the Volta Region, we have all witnessed the massive show of support for the Nana-Bawumia ticket. In the north in particular, the sound and feel of change is in the air. The ground has shifted and it is the people who have tasted bitterness and sweetness and, knowing too well the difference, who have decided to move in their numbers from those who cheat, lie, and disappoint, the NDC, to those who deliver, the NPP.
The President and his party gurus know the ground is not good. Their party foot soldiers in the North feel they have been seduced, used, abused and refused. They struggle to pay fees and their electricity bills. They don’t have jobs. They feel abandoned. They feel disrespected and the youth are convinced that government does not care about their future. Mahama has killed the hope of the young people. We must revive it and more and more farmers, women, and young people in the three northern regions see hope and a brighter future in Nana Akufo-Addo and Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, instead of President Mahama concentrating his efforts on fighting poverty, ignorance and disease in the north, he only sees northerners as pawns in his political chess game, who he must manipulate to perpetuate himself in power in order to continue with the rape of the public purse. Many communities across the north do not have drinking water. And when their brother, who is president, purports to give them water in the form of boreholes, he only uses it as an avenue to make money for himself and his family and friends. For every borehole that President Mahama sinks in the north, five villages are denied same. Northerners are still seething with anger over the 60,000 cedis per borehole project. The story of SADA and the rape of the north, has become the butt of many jokes in Ghana.
The NDC has targeted the north with five key things. (1) They want to cheat by using election officers who have been carefully selected for this exercise. (2) They want to intimidate voters and our agents with violence and the threat of violence. (3) They want to excite hatred amongst northerners against southerners, particularly Akans in order to continue exploiting the north. (4) They want to use cash and other material things to buy the conscience of voters. (5) Above all, the NDC has a big plan to buy the loyalty of party executives and polling agents of the NPP and all the other opposition parties.
(1) On the plan to cheat using election officers. We know for a fact that it will not work and for three reasons: (a) Not many Election Officers are prepared to cheat for them this time; (b) Our agents are prepared to defend the ballots and know that once they police the process well, no election officer can get away with cheating; (c) The ordinary people in communities across the Northern Region are saying that they themselves will watch over the entire process. They will not go home after voting. They will stay there and watch without interfering. They are determined to have a peaceful and clean elections.
(2) On the issue of intimidating voters and party agents, the NPP wants to call on the security agencies sit up to their responsibility. We do not want to be forced to defend ourselves. We want those who are paid to defend the people and properties to do their jobs without fear or favour. But we want the NDC to know that we shall not be intimidated by them. We are prepared to defend the Constitution and our votes. We will, therefore, appeal to them to help us keep this election violent-free. Our young people need jobs and not weapons.
(3) The President is at it again. He is playing the worst politics the world has known: tribal politics. The danger in what he is doing is that he is in fact turning Gonja against Mamprusi, Konkomba against Gonja, Nanumba against Konkomba etc.
(4) In 2012, the NDC used cash to buy votes. They went from house to house sharing money and sometimes even shared money when people were in the line to vote. We believe the vote buying only worked to some extent in 2012 because the people of the North were somehow persuaded by the assurances from Dramani Mahama that he is our brother, he is our father, he is our son, and can therefore be trusted to make sure we prosper and get our fair share of the national cake. The people of the North trusted him. I am confident from what I hear and see on the ground that this time, vote buying will not work in the north. I cannot speak for other regions. The people of the north were told by President John Mahama to vote for him because he is one of us and can be trusted to develop the north faster and better. But, what we saw was that he rather allowed his close friends like Roland Agambiri to use the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to steal most of the GH¢300 million given to SADA and meant to help the people of the north. Today, our people are sad, angry, hungry, ashamed and feel very insulted by Dramani Mahama. He exploited us and used our name, through SADA, to enrich his friends and family and to make our people even poorer. Today, under a president who comes from the North, the people of the North are poorer than they were under the late President Mills before 2012 and President Kufuor before 2009. But, President John Dramani Mahama has not apologized to the people of the three Regions of the north for using our name to take money which have been shared among his friends and family. Not a single person has been sent to court over the SADA rot. Roland Agambiri, who promised to build Hope City left Ghana for Dubai City and left the north in calamity. The people of the north feel cheated, insulted and embarrassed. We gave our son, our brother, John Dramani Mahama our cola and he chewed it all and spat it back on our faces. Never again!
(5) The biggest concern we have now are efforts from the President and his party to exploit the poverty that they have made worse in their efforts to avoid defeat. They want to buy and steal votes in the north. But, they can only succeed if we allow them. They tried it in 2012 and it worked. They are trying it again in 2016 but it will not work. And, my job here today is to show to the country why we are sure it will not work.
MAHAMA’S BRIBE TO BUGRI
Since the New Patriotic elected its regional executives in January 2014, followed by the election of national officers in April 2014, President Mahama and his people have not relented in their evil ways and means to use money to get some of our own people to work against the NPP. Fortunately for us, with all their cash, cars and lies, they have failed. And, I want to send a message to any party member or executives who is taking money from the NDC to work against the NPP: do not do it! If you do so, you work against yourself, your party and your country. I want to focus on the experience of the Northern Regional Chairman of our party.
On Friday, the 28th of October 2016, our Northern Regional Chairman, Mr. Daniel Bugri Naabu, was invited to meet President John Dramani Mahama. The meeting was set up by his brother Ibrahim Mahama and a friend of his, Mohammed Awal. Ibrahim Mahama and Awal drove to the office of Bugri Naabu in Osu near the Osu Police Station, Accra shortly before 9pm. It was Alhaji Awal who walked to Bugri Naabu’s office. With Bugri Naabu were Majid Bawa and John Kwaku Alhassan (JK), who contested in the NPP parliamentary primaries in the Yunyoo constituency. Awal said that the President wanted to see Bugri Naabu and insisted it was important that Bugri meets with the President.
Bugri got into the front seat of Ibrahim’s car, a brown jeep, with a partition, so he could not even see who was in the car. He was told the President was in the back. He did not look. If the President was in the car, he did not say a word and Ibrahim drove from Bugri’s office in Osu to Airport Residential Area. Awal drove behind them in his saloon car.
When they got to Ibrahim’s house, they used a back door. Bugri walked with Ibrahim and Awal into an inner living room. According to Bugri Naabu, he was genuinely scared. Yes, big man Bugri was anxious. He was not so sure what was going to happen next. Less than five minutes later, the President entered the room, through the same route that they took.
At this time, Bugri was curious to find out what really they had in mind because Alhaji Awal had been trying for over six months to get him to meet the President. Around the same time, Ibrahim Mahama had tried to convince Bugri with money to leave the NPP to become a chief after the death of Bugri’s uncle, which Bugri refused.
Even before Awal, there was Hardi Bin Salih, who came with a message to Bugri shortly after he was elected Northern Regional Chairman, that the President and his brother, Ibrahim, wanted to meet with him urgently. Bugri did not pay heed.
They did not give up because the central plank of their campaign for 2016, was and still is, the disunity or the perception of disunity in the NPP. At the funeral of our late former National Chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, held at the forecourt of the State House, the President himself appealed to Bugri. Bugri was with Alhaji Short, NPP Upper West Regional Chairman and Alhaji Murtala, NPP Upper East Regional Chairman. When the President got to them, as he was greeting people, he gave Bugri a big hug and said into Bugri’s ears: “I want to see you. I want to see you. I must see you.” Alhaji Short even heard it, so the two of them laughed over it, wondering what the President was looking for. They even joked that he was probably looking for a new big fish to work with in the NPP.
Nearly three months ago, Bugri was in his office when Ibrahim Mahama came with Alhaji Awal, where he was asked to sit in Ibrahim’s car. The President’s brother’s first statement to Bugri was this: “Why are you with these Ashanti people. You know they don’t respect us.” He said he and his brother were prepared to give Bugri a very good “pension package” if he would quit the NPP and destroy any chances that Akufo-Addo may have at winning the presidency. Ibrahim gave Bugri GH¢10,000 for his “transport” back to Tamale through Alhaji Awal. But, Bugri told Alhaji Awal straight that it was impossible for him to leave the NPP or to destroy a good man like Akufo-Addo. But, they would not listen. They were determined to catch this big elephant. They kept putting pressure on Awal to put pressure on Bugri. Eventually, Bugri accepted their invitation to meet the President out of curiosity.
28TH OCTOBER: MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT
Now, let me get back to the meeting with the President now that I have given you enough of a background. The meeting took place in the house of Ibrahim Mahama, close to Gold House, at Airport Residential Area, after 9pm that Friday, October 28. In the meeting was Bugri Naabu, the President, who sat in a chair to Bugri’s left, his brother, Ibrahim, who sat in another chair on Bugri’s right side, and Awal, who sat further away from the President, in another chair. They met for over an hour until 11pm.
Ibrahim started the meeting by saying he had been talking to Bugri for some time now and Bugri was playing hard but now has agreed to meet and he was sure that Bugri was ready to strike a deal with them. His words were that: “I have been talking to him for long time but he did not agree but now he is ready to support you for your second term.”
The President responded, first by thanking Bugri. He went on to say that he is a Northerner like Bugri and has not been happy with the things that Bugri had been saying about him. He also mentioned Dr Bawumia as another Northerner who has been very harsh on him, the only Northern President we have and that it was through them that Bawumia got to work at the Central Bank. The President said nothing pains him more than Hajia Samira, the wife of Bawumia, who has been very harsh on him.
The President then went on to say that Nana Akufo-Addo does not like Northerners. Bugri told him that it cannot be true. The President said, that was why Afoko was suspended. Bugri told him that was not true but Afoko brought it upon himself and it was his behavior that got the party to suspend him and not Akufo-Addo.
They then told Bugri what the deal was. The President’s brother led that discussion. He said Bugri was supposed to resign and damage Akufo-Addo beyond electability. According to the President, Bugri should paint Akufo-Addo as a rabid anti-northern person, who could never be trusted to advance the cause of the people of the north. He was supposed to tell the world that it was Nana Akufo-Addo who got him to turn against Afoko and that he has gotten wiser. He was supposed to say that Nana Addo was knocking the head of one Northern against another. That Bugri should say that Akufo-Addo was running a one man show; the NPP was led by a dictator; if he doesn’t like you, you are in trouble and that Bugri should say that it was even Nana who got him to suspend the Regional Women’s Organiser. Nana hates Northerners so our people should stop saying NPP is a better alternative when Nana is the one in charge.
Bugri asked them how they expected him to survive after spewing these lies against an innocent man. They told him they were prepared to fly him abroad, put him up in a hotel and fly Ghanaian journalists there to interview him and that Bugri should even say he was afraid for his life that is why he had to flee Ghana.
Now, I am sure you want to know what they offered Bugri. As the President was talking, Ibrahim got up to signal and a man walked into the room with a bag behind his back. He dropped it in front of Bugri and left. Ibrahim opened it and it was full of Fifty Ghana Cedis notes. Bugri asked what that was about. Ibrahim said there was GH¢500,000 in it. The deal was that they were prepared to give him more.
Bugri said to them that, he was surprised. Why now? The government had sat on Bugri’s money as a contractor for years. Bugri was still owed GH¢247,000 for a feeder road contract and the certificate had been ready since 2013, when he was not even Regional Chairman but they refused to pay because he is NPP.
This was the full details of the deal they offered Bugri that night:
- Brand new V8 Toyota Land Cruiser
- Brand new V6 Mitsubishi Pajero
- Brand new Nissan Pick-up
- GH¢3.3 million, including the contract sum owed to Bugri and minus the GH¢500,000.
- Plus a new road contract
Ibrahim said they were prepared to give Bugri a road contract worth GH¢190 million. There and then, they offered Bugri work on a road that he had already worked on years ago under the NPP, the Osenase-Apenamang Road. The President directed Bugri to see the Director of the Department of Feeder Roads, Mr Francis Digber. When, Bugri was leaving, Ibrahim asked him to give GH¢50,000 of the GH¢500,000 to Alhaji Awal, promising to reimburse him later.
The very next day, Bugri managed to locate the one Prudential Bank that he knew would be open on a Saturday and put the money in. That is, the Abossey Okai Branch. He deposited it in his account number 0090985590013, which account holding branch is Ring Road Central. Bugri immediately reported the full details of the meeting to the Flag bearer, who was out of town campaigning, but through a trusted aide who is also a senior member of the NPP campaign. A few days later, to show good faith, Ibrahim Mahama joined a high-powered NDC delegation, led by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Kenneth Wujangi, with Minister of State, Dr. Mustapha Ahmed and Ghana’s Ambassador to Angola Moses Bukari Mabengba, to he funeral of Bugri Naabu’s daughter. Ibrahim Mahama generously donated GH¢20,000 at the funeral, and the President GH¢10,000.
True to their word, the first of the three vehicles was ready and Bugri sent one of his boys to pick it up. According to the Customs Classification and Valuation Report, the vehicle was imported into Ghana by Malin Investment Ltd in August this year and the duty paid on it was GH¢40,274.70.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, I have given you enough names and enough details to support the case that the President and his brother have approached Bugri and offered him cash, a contract and vehicles and in return, for him to create divisions in the NPP and tell lies about the flagbearer and paint him as an ethnic bigot who hates northerners.
But, I know there are some who may still doubt me. Well, let me give you just one more piece of the evidence. The company that imported the vehicle and transferred it to Bugri, Malin Investment is owned by a Hawah Hayisi Aryee Mahama and Frank Nuhu Alormasor, a Personal Assistant to the President. I leave it to you to find out who Hawah Mahama is.
I want to end with a final message to the President. Yes, Bugri thanks you for the gifts – the car and the cash. I am not so sure, where things have gotten to, I don’t think Bugri should expect the other two cars, the contract and the rest of the cash. But, that is ok. Since the car is registered in Bugri’s name he intends to donate it to the Northern Region NPP so that it can be used for the 2016 NPP campaign to win power against the NDC. As for the cash, he intends to use it to support our campaign efforts, especially work at the polling station level, so that our agents will be well trained and resourced to protect the ballot.
My message to my party people, especially polling agents is this: the NDC will try to bribe you. Please do not sell your party. The country depends on your loyalty, your integrity and your vigilance to effect the change that is before us.
My message to the rest of Ghanaians is this: the NDC will come to attempt to buy your votes, after they have made you poorer. It is your own money they will bring to you. Please take it and use it but let them know that your vote is too precious to be bought. You are not for sale. Your future is not for sale. Ghana is not for sale. Change is here! Let us go out in our numbers and reject ethnic bigotry, bribery and corruption and division.
You can’t buy us! Ghana is not for sale!