In the run up to the 1992 general elections, the newly formed political parties embarked on vigorous membership drive through lobbying. Opinion leaders, influential people, former politicians and youth activists were targeted. The NDC especially took the lead in this race in northern Ghana. Through the PNDC, they made use of incumbency by getting most of the influential Northern politicians to its fold. Only dye-in-the wool Danquah-Busia members rejected the overtures of the NDC.
THE BUSIA GOVERNMENT
In the Bole-Bamboi Constituency of northern region, the NPP had to fall on a tried and tested stalwart of the Danquah-Busia tradition, Alhaji Mahama Salifu. He was a former Youth Leader of the Progress Party and later leader of the Popular Front Party in Bole in 1969 and 1979 respectively. The NDC did everything it could to woo this man into their fold through lobbying, promises and later threats, but he stood his ground by rejecting the NDC. He rather went to Accra and met with Messer's BJ da Rocha and the late Agyeinim Boateng who encouraged him to work hard for the NPP not only in Bole but the whole of Gonjaland.
THE KUFUOR GOVERNMENT
Not quiet long after this, then Presidential candidate J.A. Kufuor met with Alhaji Mahama Salifu at Kumasi where he used to visit often and asked for his support to be the candidate for the newly formed party. To convince him, candidate Kufuor told Alhaji Mahama he was directed by Victor Owusu to meet him and that Victor Owusu told him he Alhaji Mahama was one of the few prominent individuals who struggled, sacrificed their time and resources, and spirit to consolidate, advance and improve on the fortunes of the Danquah-Busia political tradition in the north especially when he Victor Owusu was Presidential candidate of the Popular Front Party.
Alhaji Mahama did not hesitate to throw his support behind J.A. Kufuor partly because of his mentor Victor Owusu. He at a time became part of Kufuor's campaign team in Ashanti region but because the party faced problems in the north, Alhaji Mahama was tasked by Kufuor with approval from the then Interim National Executive to open up branches of the NPP in Gonjaland of Northern Region. He executed this work perfectly by using his own car to move round and assisted to select NPP executives in Bole-Bamboi (where he became chairman), Sawla- Kalba, Damongo –Daboya and Salaga constituencies. As a result of this effort, he always succeeded in galvanizing delegates from these areas to vote en-bloc for J.A. Kufuor in the 1992, 1996 and 1998 Congresses of NPP.
As Chairman of the NPP for Bole- Bamboi, he single handedly financed and sustained the NPP in the area. The NPP was Alhaji Mahama and Alhaji Mahama was the NPP. The NPP became a family party and was nicknamed “Alhaji Mahama's Party.” Apart from his over 30 children and numerous family members, only a few other people could come out boldly to declare support for NPP. During the 1992 NPP Congress for instance, three of his children went as delegates just because people did not want to associate themselves with the Party. One of these four children was seventeen year old Mahama Haruna who later as a young teacher became Constituency Secretary although his father was constituency Chairman
Under the circumstance, they suffered harassment, denigration threats and abuse from the NDC especially from year 1996 to 2000 when it was almost a 'crime' to support the NPP in Bole –Bamboi. In fact NPP members were seen as 'traitors and non patriotic citizens of Bole.” The town could boast of at least five (5) top government official appointed by President Jerry John Rawlings. John Mahama was Minister of Communication, Alhaji Gilbert Iddi was Northern Regional Minister, Amadu Seidu who is partly from Bole was Deputy Minister of Works and Housing and Dari Ewuntomah, Controller and Accountant General and later Commissioner of CEPS.
With this array of top government officials from a single town Bole, it took the effort of only the brave, courageous and bold to support the NPP. The intent of NDC members was to obliterate the NPP in Bole but Alhaji Mahama was never shaken notwithstanding the fact that his transport business nearly collapsed. He sold many of his cows to finance the NPP in Bole. His cargo trucks became campaign vans and his family members doted across the constituency became the village executives. In politically motivated moves during this period he lost his position as Bole District Chairman of the Ghana Cocoa, Coffee, Sheanut Farmers Association. A license he acquired under the PNDC as an Arm and Ammunition Dealer was withdrawn and he nearly lost his position as the District Chairman of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union of TUC if not for the resilience of Transport Owners most of whom learnt driving from him. After NPP won power, Alhaji Mahama doubled his effort by working on many people to join the NPP. He had at a time paid people before they accepted NPP membership. Examples of such people are the current Bole NPP Chairman and Secretary who were former DPP chairman and NDC Secretary respectively.
THE CURRENT SITUATION
The above is the story of Alhaji Mahama Salifu. Today most readers would want to know the whereabouts of this gallant fighter. He has suffered a deteriorating health condition resulting in BLINDDNESS. He resigned as NPP chairman in 2006 and has since been in- doors. It is baffling that no NPP official including President J.A. Kufuor whom he liked and fought so hard for even bother to at least enquire about this man. In fact he has been left to his fate and no one seems to care about him except his children and family members. Many people wonder why the government will not assist this man to get good medical attention to at least restore his sight.
In view of this the question on the lips of many NPP members and supporters in Bole has been 'Is the NPP worth dying for?'
To worsen and also heighten the disappointment of Alhaji Mahama and many other people, his 33-year old son Mahama Haruna a former NUGS Secretary and Graduate of Ghana Institute of Journalism with BA Degree in Communication Studies and presently a Tutor at the Bole Senior High School has been denied the position of DCE for Bole after the former DCE was relieved of the post. This is notwithstanding the fact that he was the overwhelming favorite as majority Constituency Executives, Opinion Leaders, Polling station chairmen and the Youth of NPP supported him because of his own sacrifices and struggles, and those of his ailing father Alhaji Mahama Salifu.
This is someone who as student leader stopped his mischievous colleagues from using the ROPAL to make Government unpopular. He is a Government Appointee to the Bole District Assembly-Works Sub-Committee Chairman and therefore knowledgeable in the Local Government and Decentralization system. I do not want to believe the position eluded him because he was a staunch supporter of Nana Akufo –Addo and was a member of his 2008 NPP Presidential Campaign Communication Committee as at the time he applied.
It is surprising this position rather went to someone unknown in the NPP, a 31 year old man by name Jerry Yakubu Yahaya.
The NPP Government has always proclaimed it has a vision of equality of opportunities for all those that suffered and worked hard for the party. It also claims to be a party that does not forget all those who have been part of its history. The perception that those in government do not have the best interest and welfare of the party's rank and file at heart must change or else things could get out of hand in 2008.
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