Dr. Bawumia is, so far, the Best Choice of Running-Mate in Ghana’s Fourth Republic
The selection and confirmation of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as the running-mate of the Presidential Candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) for Election 2008, could not be more opportune. Needless to say, in of itself, the selection confirms two things about the NPP-MP for Akyem-Abuakwa-South, namely, the fact of Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo being healthily attuned to the imperative need for both major political parties to drastically reduce nepotism as an acceptable political practice or culture; and also the salutary prioritization of merit, academic and/or professional, in the selection of key players for our national governance. For, nation-building is more about the intelligent selection of those who would constitute the next generation of Ghanaian leaders than merely because a particular nominee has either staunchly or unreservedly served the interests and/or needs of the political machine, or party, with whom s/he is ideologically aligned. For nation-building is also squarely and incontrovertibly about the determination of the shape and form of our collective destiny as a people and a country.
And it is on the preceding score that the democratic credentials of the ruling New Patriotic Party may remain yet to be either rivaled or bested by any other political party in Ghana's Fourth Republic. Indeed, while, for instance, supporters and sympathizers of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) may quibble over whether the running-mate of their party's flagbearer had been independently selected, there can absolutely be no gainsaying the fact of Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills having been handpicked, á là the dictatorial process of the infamous Swedru Declaration, by party proprietor and former Ghanaian strongman Monsieur Jeremiah John Rawlings.
But, perhaps, what is even more significant and remarkable about Nana Akufo-Addo's selection of Dr. Bawumia as his running-mate and, in effect, the presumptive next Vice-President of the True-Republic of Ghana, is the indisputable fact that for the very first time in postcolonial Ghanaian history, a northern-Ghanaian presidential running-mate has been selected almost purely and wholly on the basis of academic and professional merit, rather than sheer political expediency. And while, indeed, he glaringly fulfills such ideological stereotypes as northern ethnicity and Islamic religious orientation, by way of balancing the NPP presidential ticket, still, it can hardly be gainsaid that Dr. Bawumia is primarily defined, in his selection, by the candidate's proven track-record of sterling national leadership, particularly in the crucial sphere of economic development, than all else. For, as a Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, personally appointed by President John Agyekum-Kufuor, to assist in streamlining a hitherto badly battered Ghanaian economy, in the post-NDC era, Dr. Bawumia has been at both the front and center, as it were, of the economic success story of the ruling New Patriotic Party. And it is for this latter reason that we beg to vehemently disagree with those who have reportedly protested against the selection of Dr. Bawumia as Nana Akufo-Addo's running-mate, on the dubious grounds that the nominee lacks something called “a proven track-record of party loyalty” (Ghanaweb.com 8/15/08).
Needless to say, Dr. Bawumia's yeomanry contribution to the NPP success story, as it were, is tantamount to a proven track-record of the nominee's loyalty to both the ruling party and the country at large. Still, by now, Ghanaians must have become rudely awakened to the fact, as eloquently and publicly attested by the unlikely likes of Mr. Alban S. K. Bagbin, in the lead-up to the 2007 NPP presidential primary, that even impeccable “party loyalty,” such as doggedly pursued and staunchly practiced by the likes of Nana Akufo-Addo, among a host of others, of course, is absolutely no guarantee to condign reciprocity on the part of the recipients of such time-honored and prized ideological pretext or largesse.
Indeed, contrary to wild assertions by Mr. Dominic Owusu-Ansah, an NPP activist from the Ayawaso/West-Wuogon constituency, Nana Akufo-Addo did not win his party's presidential nomination merely on the basis of the dauphin of former President Edward Akufo-Addo having primarily campaigned on the tired platform of “party loyalty and long service” (Ghanaweb.com 8/15/08). Were the latter really the case, Nana Akufo-Addo would not have barely fallen short of the stipulated percentage of delegates needed to clinch his nomination beyond the risk of a run-off. In essence, whatever loyalty Nana Akufo-Addo commanded going into the 2007 presidential primary was either extra- or post-electoral. Couple the preceding with the insufferably shabby treatment meted Diaspora Ghanaians with Dual Citizenship who have mustered the temerity to contest for parliamentary seats in NPP primaries, and the patently unsavory picture that emerges promptly gives overseas NPP loyalists the retch.
It is also rather cynical and outright invidious for Mr. Owusu-Ansah, the Ayawaso/West-Wuogon NPP activist, to glibly characterize the patently jaded and grossly unimpressive NDC presidential ticket of Messrs. Atta-Mills and Mahama as a “dream team” (Ghanaweb.com 8/15/08). To be certain, no presidential ticket could be more nightmarish than a Mills-Mahama one. For starters, none of the NDC candidates possesses an emulative track-record of sterling political performance. At best, the NDC presidential ticket can be described as “damaged goods,” and at the worst a “preemptive failure.”
If, indeed, the New Patriotic Party is threatened with serious internal division, as Mr. Owusu-Ansah would have party outsiders believe, such centrifugal element, as may prevail, long preceded the selection of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as the running-mate of Nana Akufo-Addo. But, perhaps, what is even more significant to bear in mind is the fact that Dr. Bawumia's selection has the official endorsement of the party's National Executive Committee (NEC), the NPP's highest governing board.
Then also, the fact of Dr. Bawumia being of Mamprusi ethnic sub-nationality is all the more healthy for the growth and development of the party; for it readily gives the proverbial lie to the myth of northern Ghanaians being composed of a single ethnic nationality, as some devious tribal nationalists from that region have cynically sought to depict in recent years. Dr. Bawumia's appointment, thus, refreshingly breaks the unsavory stranglehold of that one particular dominant northern ethnic polity, many of whose members routinely pretend as if their ethnic polity is all that there is to the North.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of 17 books, including “Selected Political Writings” (Atumpan Publications/lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: [email protected]
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