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General News Sun, 20 Jul 2008

Akufo Addo asked not to use ethnicity as base for choosing running mate

Accra, July 20, GNA- Mr. Mustapha Sanah, a development activist, on Sunday called on the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), not to dwell on ethnic considerations as the basis to select a running mate for Election 2008.

He said Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo should rather be circumspective to make the right choice that would promote national integration and cohesion.

Mr Sanah, who made the call in a press release issued in Accra said the choice of a running mate was about the potential President of Ghana and must therefore be given a very serious consideration.

"Such an office has to be occupied by a man or woman of impeccable character, patriot, tested and result-oriented personality from any part of the country."

Mr Sanah said the limitation of the choice to a Northerner as being peddled by some opinion leaders would devaluate the process.

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"Every objective Ghanaian, I believe, is aware that the 1992 Constitution

enjoins government to ensure equitable distribution of national resources,

regardless of region, ethnicity or religion. "Merely choosing a running mate from the North to realise this lofty national

goal is not the best approach." Mr Sanah said every open-minded Northerner, would vote for any party

interested in the development and welfare of the North rather than the political

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party that selects a running mate from the North to achieve cheap political point. He noted that the rationality of the Northerner was manifested during the

December 2007 National Delegates Congress of the NPP, in Accra, where the 500

Northern delegates joined their counterparts from other parts of the country to

throw their weight behind Nana Akufo-Addo and not the Vice President, Alhaji

Aliu Mahama, who was their kith and kin. Mr Sanah said from 1992 to 2000, former President Jerry John Rawlings,

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completed his two terms as Head of State without a vice president from the North

and yet he swept massive votes in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West

regions. "However the Vice President, Alhaji Mahama, a Northerner, had since 2000 to

2004 not been able to improve significantly the election fortunes of the NPP in the

North. "Northerners vote on issues and are very dispassionate. Therefore the

process of picking the NPP running mate should have a broad national base in the

bid to identify a person capable of winning the hearts and minds of Ghanaians, irrespective of the person's ethnic and religious background."

Mr Sanah said this would confirm that, the number two office of the land is merit-based, stressing: "A northern running mate must be based on competence and not on ethnic or religious consideration."

Source: GNA