The People's National Convention (PNC) has cautioned Ghanaians to be wary of the 'fake' Nkrumaist as they go to the polls in December.
It said the country's future cannot be risked in the hands of people who claim to be Nkrumaists and yet are known to have flirted with ideologies that are at variance with that of Nkrumah.
The Youth Co-ordinator of the PNC's campaign, Atik Mohammed sounded the caution at a press briefing in Accra.
He said Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Dr. Hilla Limann were all credible people who were never associated with criminality.
It is therefore disturbing that a self professed Nkrumaist will have some criminal record hanging around his neck.
To all Nkrumaist, “we must recognise that our tradition is built on trustworthiness, loyalty, honesty and commitment to the principles Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah espoused,” he said.
“We as Nkrumaists should not waste our votes on someone who does not believe in the Nkrumaist ideal of social justice though for the comfort of the moment has decided to preach it.”
Falling short of mentioning names, Mr. Mohammed said “We can not vote for a man with perceived thievery, corruption and dubious background. We can not also risk our mandate in a man who could sacrifice the values and beliefs we hold so dear for personal selfish reasons. We have a responsibility to expose the traitor wearing the cloak of our tradition.”
According to him, the only true Nkrumaist in this year's elections is the flag-bearer of the PNC Dr. Edward Mahama.
The Youth Co-ordinator said Dr. Mahama had rejected very enticing offers since 2000 and stuck to his belief in the Nkrumaist ideology.
Touching on other national issues, Mr. Mohammed expressed regret that the youth of the country were being used as tools to foment trouble instead of social agents.
He said youth unemployment was menacingly worrying to the PNC.
“So many young people nearing 60% are unemployed whereas of the 40% that claim to be employed, 20% are underemployed.
“The elementary reasons accounting for this seemingly worsening jigsaw are; lack of a comprehensive policy guideline and less practical commitment of governments for the past sixteen years beyond mere declarations to addressing the fundamental concerns of the youth.”
Mr. Mohammed expressed the PNC's commitment to formulating progressive youth policy to help address the youth unemployment problem.
He described the National Youth Employment Programme as a knee jerk measure at addressing youth unemployment.
For him, the “program as the name suggests can not answer in definite terms the unemployment challenge in the country in that it lacks the basics of a proper job namely; security of job, structured salary scheme, future prospects and more so, most of these supposed jobs do not in any way contribute to increasing productivity.”
The PNC, he said will eliminate graduate unemployment by dealing with the requirement of years of experience by prospective employers.
Story by Malik Abass Daabu
The full press statement is published below.
PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY ATIK MOHAMMED; YOUTH CORDINATOR OF PNC CAMPAIGN TEAM CALLING ON STUDENTS, THE YOUTH AND NKRUMAISTS TO VOTE DR. MAHAMA AND THE PNC IN THIS YEAR'S ELECTION
Fellow comrades, friends from the media, ladies and gentlemen, Good morning to you all and thank you for coming to today's press briefing.
Indeed, today's encounter is particularly relevant for us given the fact that, it seeks to explain in deep measure the fundamental problems that beleaguer students and the youth in general and the relieving package(s) that the PNC has in store for them if voted in to office come December.
And it is also our hope that, the issues discussed herein will be figured prominently in your various networks. This we are convinced, is one of the surest ways to giving meaning and effect to our collective commitment towards shaping the choice of the electorate in a democracy.
Ladies and gentlemen, in point of fact, the youth constitute a significant portion of our population. Be this as it may, it is logical to suggest that, the extent to which we can as a country maximize our net output or productivity hinges on the contributions of the youth.
It is however grieving to note that, the youth in the development equation are not adequately considered. In a similar sense, students who more often than less are referred to as the future leaders of this country, suffer some humiliating challenges that differ in degree and detail.
1. Friends from the media, ladies and gentlemen, it can not be gainsaid that youth unemployment is a worrying fact of our national life. So many young people nearing 60% are unemployed whereas of the 40% that claim to be employed, 20% are underemployed.
The elementary reasons accounting for this seemingly worsening jigsaw are; lack of a comprehensive policy guideline and less practical commitment of governments for the past sixteen years beyond mere declarations to addressing the fundamental concerns of the youth.
What is more worrying is the fact that, when the party in power feels it is loosing favor with the youth like the NPP is doing, it is quick to introduce ill-advised and haphazard programs that are not qualified to be called jobs in order to win back the support of the youth in an election . Hence these are not abiding and will gradually drown with the passage of time.
The NPP having lost the confidence of the majority youth, decided as a matter of urgent necessity to introduce the NYEP. This program as the name suggests can not answer in definite terms the unemployment challenge in the country in that it lacks the basics of a proper job namely; security of job, structured salary scheme, lacks future prospects and more so, most of these supposed jobs do not in any way contribute to increasing productivity. Thus, this program at best can be described as a desperate measure to respond to the growing cry over youth unemployment in the country.
Again, the issue of Graduate unemployment is particularly disturbing. In addition to the existing huge pool of unemployed Graduates, every year, our universities, Polytechnics, colleges and institutes produce fresh Graduates who do not easily get employment owing in part, to absence of jobs and also to the paradoxical demand for “centuries” experience by employers as a qualification for employment. So clearly, instituting a program that employs people to direct traffic, become barbers and so on without addressing these pertinent concerns does not mean any relief to the Graduate who has been searching for a job for three years without success.
2. Another issue that gives us cause to worry in the PNC relative to the youth is the undue advantage that some political parties and figures take over the vulnerability of our youth in this country to exploit them.
There is no denying the fact that, in many of the conflicts with political overtones, it is always the youth who are used to foment the troubles and consequently are those who suffer more the brunt of these conflicts. Evidence abounds, demonstrating this fact.
It is even rumored that some political parties are buying arms for their youth for the purpose of causing troubles from which they stand to benefit. As to how true this is, I can not say with certainty but nonetheless, it exposes the extent to which our youth have been reduced to objects of destruction when indeed, they should be the agents of development.
3. More saddening is the deliberate mortgaging of the future of the youth of this country by the ruling party. As a country that has the apparent or real belief in the youth as her future leaders, it boggles my mind that most if not all of our valuable national assets (of course, the castle is spared) which inspire confidence in to the youth are sold out for some immature reasons. The latest of these is Ghana Telecom.
This in all conscience, does not create good images on their minds as it whittles away their “can do spirits” with its net negative effect on their future and the future of our dear republic.
4. Students on the other hand, face various problems which sometimes offend smooth studies. Paramount among these is the fact that increasingly, education in our tertiary institutions which ought to be a right is gravitating towards becoming a privilege.
There are concerted attempts under this regime at achieving FULL COST RECOVERY which is defeating to my mind the essence of education.
5. Students from poor homes can not afford the prohibited prices of Hostels and mostly rely on the benevolence of friends to “perch”.
6. No mechanisms are put in place for students to meet the demand of employers after school. And this is definitely a serious source of worry to us.
7. The loan scheme currently in operation is more market driven than student-driven, making it quite unfriendly to students.
These and many more which for reason of time we can not mention are the things that have captured the focus of the PNC campaign. It is our commitment as the theme of our manifesto suggests, to ensuring Youth Empowerment during our stay in office because we are convinced that, to really make any meaningful impact in our quest for development, then the youth ought to be given their deserved attention.
In view of this, the PNC has proposed a number of interventions it will implement to bring happiness and relief to students and young people when given the opportunity. And I feel it is important to tell this good news to my colleagues all over the country so that in taking a decision on whom and which party to manage the fate of this country for the next four years, they will know that there is this party that has their concerns at heart and ready to offer them genuine solutions.
First and foremost, the PNC recognizing the problem of youth unemployment will as soon as practicable, launch its program of rapid industrialization (setting up cottage industries). This will absorb the huge pool of unemployed youth both Graduates and Non-Graduates.
Also, as a commitment to ensuring food security, a PNC government under Dr. Edward Mahama, will do for crop farmers what we do for cocoa farmers.
By this, Agriculture will be made attractive to our youth with promising prospects. Again, a special National Fund will be set up to help young people with creative ideas and business plans. And more importantly, a PNC government will ensure that in consultation with the Ghana Employers Association, employment legislation is passed regulating the 'years experience' required by employers. This will take the form of revising the National Service scheme participation in which could qualify one to be employed after school as well as institute internship programs with employers whiles students are still in school.
We do not believe in ad hoc programs like the NYEP as the answer to the employment woes of the youth. My brothers and sisters on the NYEP, you have greater lives than this.
We will not render you unemployed, but Dr. Mahama is promising you that if you empower him to become the next president, you will get jobs of your talents worth. It is because this program is not meant to last, that is why you always have problems with your allowances.
The PNC as you all know is the most peaceful party.
We are therefore assuring the youth that, we will not tolerate the use of any youth by any body or body of persons to generate crisis of any kind in any part of the country. We have a history and have demonstrated in that history that we are peaceful and cherish peace.
From CPP under Osagyefo till he was overthrown to PNP and PNC under Dr. Liman and to Dr. Mahama, at no point in this long history did we offend the peace and tranquility of this corporation we cherish so much and call Ghana. So, beloved colleagues, a vote for the PNC is a vote peace and progress.
A PNC government under Dr. Edward Mahama will protect for the youth their assets acquired through the toil and salt of our fathers. Any shady dealing that led to the sale of any of your property under this regime will be reversed. You can not build the future on non-existent frame works, so the necessary fundamentals on which the youth will build this country will be regained and enhanced.
Education is a sine quo non to our national development, hence a PNC government will give students the support they deserve in order to have smooth learning. We will ensure accessibility to Tertiary Education in all its senses. A PNC regime will through partnership with private estate developers provide Hostel accommodation to our students. It will also introduce a mixed portfolio of grants, loans and scholarships to students to cushion their stay on campus.
MESSAGE TO ALL NKRUMAISTS
Fellow comrades in the Nkrumaist family, we are at a cross road and Ghanaians are looking expectantly to us for redemption and for direction and we dare not fail them. We need to recognize the fact that our tradition is built on trustworthiness, loyalty, honesty and commitment to the principles Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah espoused.
It is therefore instructive to note that, we owe Ghanaians a leader who possesses the qualities I mentioned early on. This leader can be found in Dr. Edward Mahama. He is I can tell you with authority, the only true Nkrumaist in this year's presidential contest. We therefore have to support him to bring the much desired change to Ghanaians. We as Nkrumaists should not waste our votes on some one who does not believe in the Nkrumaist ideal of social justice though for the comfort of the moment has decided to preach it. We can not vote for a man with perceived thievery, corruption and dubious background. We can not also risk our mandate in a man who could sacrifice the values and beliefs we hold so dear for personal selfish reasons.We have a responsibility to expose the traitor wearing the cloak of our tradition by voting massively for comrade Edward Mahama.
I am therefore appealing to comrades in the other Nkrumaist party to recognize that, they will be insulting the tradition as well as what Osagyefo stood and died for. Nkrumah was not a thief, he never robbed his country to be rich. Liman did not do that, so our next Nkrumaist leader must not be one with suspicious and reprehensible character. The tradition of dedicated, loyal and honest leadership must continue in the family and this can only be achieved under Dr. Edward Mahama.
Fellow comrades, I therefore in the true spirit of our tradition entreat you to vote for the only true Nkrumaist in this year's presidential election in the person of Dr. Mahama who even in the face of so much tantalizing offers in 2000 and beyond remained resolute and loyal.
Finally, I wish to implore my colleagues young men and women, to vote wisely for Dr. Eward Mahama and the PNC for in him and the PNC lie your future, your relief, development and happiness.
Beloved, we have a Great Nation, Dr Mahama and the PNC will make it greater.
Thank you once again for coming.