By Margaret Jackson
Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. ~George Jean Nathan.
If you entertain the ambition of ever holding a public office, be warned of remarks you make today, especially if you happen to have people around you. In the pursuit of your political ambition, if you intend to court the votes of a certain ethnic people, group or an organization, you better not make any disparaging comments against them since those remarks could come back to haunt you big time. If you want to become a career politician be very careful about your big mouth since it could spew fire that would eventually consume you.
To me politics is about being shrewd, prudent and expedient all rolled in one. It is a game that has no prize for those who place second. Like basketball, you either win or lose. There is nothing like a draw. Therefore, if you really want to win in politics, every word that you articulate to voters has to be measured carefully because once you utter it, you cannot take it back. Remember, the first gut feeling is normally the correct one.
The late Mr. Kow Nkensen Arkaah, (Stubborn Cat) was the former vice-president of the country. He served under Efo Rawlings from 1992 to 1996. During the electioneering campaign for the 1992 elections, Arkaah lambasted the NPP by blasting the party’s symbol, the elephant, as a destructive animal. He told a gathering of NDC supporters at a rally that since the elephant is very destructive, so would the NPP be if voted into power. But something happened between Rawlings and Arkaah which most readers know very well. The two of them fell apart whereby Arkaah who was the vice-president suddenly started opposing Rawlings and also stated categorically that he will never resign his position.
In view of the problems between Rawlings and Arkaah, the latter switched gear, moved to the NPP camp, and eventually became John Agyekum Kufour’s running mate in the 1996 presidential election. What Arkaah did not know was that the NDC had a ready-made ammunition waiting to unleash on him. The ammo was simply by playing the words of Arkaah back to him, and it was very effective and powerful. How can somebody who claims the NPP is a destructive party suddenly go and join the same party and even become its running mate? Mr. Arkaah felt highly uncomfortable when adverts upon adverts showed him stick a knife into the same party he has joined hands with. The day Kufour lost the 1996 elections was the day he hugely regretted for making Arkaah his number two. Beware of what you say today!!!
In the Third Republic, the NPP, then called the Popular Front Party (PFP) had its presidential candidate called Victor Owusu. During the electioneering campaigns, the PFP realized that things were not going well for them in the Volta Region. The PFP became seriously handicapped in the region, and as a result they did some soul searching and cast lots. Funny enough the lot fell on no other person than their own presidential candidate Victor Owusu.
It was found out that Victor Owusu had made some withering and serious comments against the Ewes hence the struggles the party was encountering in the Volta Region. Victor Owusu was found to have stated that the Ewes were in-ward looking people. Why Victor Owusu said that only God knows. The PFP then thought of doing something to save their fortunes in the Volta Region. They went and begged the chiefs in the Volta Region with drinks and slaughtered cows to appease the people in the area. But ladies and gentlemen, that act by the PFP did not save Victor Owusu from the wrath of the Voltarians. They considered what the PFP did as too little, too late. As result, Victor Owusu suffered a humiliating defeat in the Volta Region in the 1979 elections which was won by Dr. Hilla Limann.
But there is this wise saying that coming events always cast their shadow. If this saying is not true, Akufo-Addo who did not have any good traction in terms of votes in the Volta Region during the 2008 election, would not repeat the same mistake that Victor Owusu made. Readers would recall that not quiet long ago Akufo-Addo embarked on a door-to-door campaign but cunningly labeled it a listening tour. What he went to listen only God knows. Akufo-Addo’s door-to-door campaign took him to the Volta Region, the area that has always looked at the United Party with suspicion because of their disdain to the Voltarians.
Since a crab can never beget a bird, or since a decorated donkey is still an ass, Akufo-Addo’s tongue slipped big time into the gutters burrowed by Victor Owusu. He told the Ewes in the face and in their own backyard that they have over the years voted one way. “You have been voting one way for far too long”, he blurted. He added that, it was therefore, time for them to mend their ways and vote for him and the NPP. One way and inward looking, is the difference wide or close? You be the judge.
What is incomprehensible is that, it is not only the Voltarians who have been voting massively for one particular party. If anything at all, the Ashanti and Eastern Regions are equally guilty. So my question is, can Akufo-Addo go to the Ashanti and Eastern Regions and charge them for voting one way? Why did he single out the Voltarians? The NPP folks think that the matter has died down, but they are far from the truth. It has rather brought bitter memories to what Victor Owusu did to the Voltarians in the 70s.
I am betting you that this time round, the Voltarians would not allow the NPP to slaughter the elephants to appease them. Truly the NPP folks have not learnt anything since they lost the 2008 elections. That elections were largely lost when Ghanaians came to the conclusion that the NPP folks were an extremely arrogant bunch of people. Have they learnt anything, I may ask? I am very afraid to say that even the arrogance being demonstrated by the NPP folks today has reached new decibels unprecedented in the annals of Ghana’s political history. They think they owe the country and that Ghana belongs to them.
I am therefore, inclined to conclude that the Voltarians would remember what Akufo-Addo said all the way from now till elections day in December 2012. It is on that day that they would indeed demonstrate to Akufo-Addo that yes, they have been voting one way, but it is for a good reason. They will demonstrate through the ballot that they are a proud group of people just like any other tribe in the country. The Voltarians, I must state are not second rated citizens and they are equally a good bunch of people with equal stake in the country.