Opinions Wed, 14 Dec 2016

How Haruna Iddrisu saved an NDC seat and got aggrieved party members to stay

The election is over and the NDC is massively defeated in a historic way. The huge margin between the winning and losing parties is not the only history brought by this election; but the fact that an opposition party that defied all conventional political and campaign routines went all the way to win is even mind bugling. Nana refused to participate in any debate, his party operated with acting chairman as well as acting other executives – yet defied all odds and won the election. He did not just win, he won convincingly!

After the gargantuan defeat, I have come across several articles and social media posts that try to distribute the blame among several people within NDC. One thing I am not seeing is the acknowledgement of those who went out on their normal duties to minimize the casualties. One such person I will like to touch on is Honorable Haruna Iddrisu – the incumbent and member of parliament elect for the Tamale South constituency.

After the NDC parliamentary primaries, there were several people who felt cheated and or treated unfairly. Most of them had genuine reasons for feeling that way. While the NDC’s decision to decentralize the election of candidates to contest the parliamentary seats was a great move, the approach with which they handled it was wrong.

The executives in Accra sent down their candidates who were well resourced to take over the candidateship from people who have been working at the grassroots’ level for several years – including years the party was in opposition. I am not going to be a hypocrite – if I were any of the defeated candidates, I would have been angry. It is okay to accept defeat when there is level ground to compete; but it is so hurtful to be defeated because your challenger was given more resources than you by the very people who claimed to be representing all parties to the competition.

NDC as a party took very aggressive stand on these aggrieved contestants rather than feeling their pain and working with them to come to a reasonable end. Indeed on Tuesday 1st November 2016, the General Secretary of the party released a list of 23 candidates they banished from the party because they decided to go independent. I don’t have the scientific numbers, but I can tell you that this action contributed to the loss of seats that NDC initially thought were no go areas for the opposition NPP. If you need factual example, take a look at the parliamentary results of Saveligu constituency. What then did Haruna do that I am here yelling his name into your ears? Read on…….

On October 19th this year, Honorable Haruna Iddrisu met three aggrieved members who initially planned to go independent after losing the primary elections. With his oratory and people management skills, he was able to get these people to resign their decisions. I normally say this, if there is any person who is using what he learned in the classroom to his benefit, it is Haruna Iddrisu – he did sociology, and he is living with sociology, because he deals with social animals.

The first of the aggrieved candidates who was persuaded to abandon his independent bid was Daniel Nsala Wakpal for Kpandai Constituency. Even though NDC lost the kpandai seat – we need to acknowledge the efforts by the honorable MP to get Nsala to resign his decision. But for Haruna’s efforts, Nsala would have been one of the outcasts of the party. We might not see the importance of this effort now; but trust me we will see the fruits it will produce come 2020 if we are still alive. In a society where a family can be an entire village and beyond, banning a potential parliamentary candidate with dep grass root support can have serious effects on the fortunes of a party.

Another area he did an excellent job was in the Sanguli Constituency. The Honorable man did not just convince one individual to step down, he convinced two aggrieved people to support the NDC candidate who went on to win the election. Had it not been his intervention, who knows, NDC would have lost the seat just as it did in the Savelugu case. Both Tampi Acheampong Simon and Thomas Borepong Laten who contested and lost the primaries in the Sanguli constituency left Tamale as supporters of the NDC candidate.

Throughout NDC’s era, it baffled my mind why the leaders did not make use of the very important traits of this honorable man. In terms of negotiations, his par is yet to be born. At the oratory front, I can swear by the gods under my bed that there has not been any party youth organizer as him. On his ability to touch the hearts of the masses, just go to my village and see. You will wake up in the emergency room if you dare say something derogatory about him.

Don’t get it wrong; you will not be beaten by the men – the women will come out in their big skirts and hit you with bowls to near death. They love him; so much that I get jealous when my wife is talking about him. He does not visit them during election seasons; he lives with them. I cannot tell the number of times he visited the village that cannot boast of 2000 votes for him when I came home last year for just 40 days. He knows what to say, where to say it and when to say it – and that makes him the communicator of communicators. I am yet to see when he misspoke and was massively criticize for such: even with all these years he has been on public lips.

Now that the party is in opposition, NDC needs to identify all the “Harunas” in the party. That is, people who know how to talk; are willing to talk and know exactly what they are talking about; and make sure they fill up the positions that would be abandoned by the now so-called party communicators. I am 100% sure that by June 2017 most of them will disappear from the communication lines. There will be no more big handouts for them, so the motivation to communicate might disappear – some of them might even join NPP; for they were never fighting for the party, but their stomachs.

If there is an institute NDC needs to establish to keep the name, legacy and policies of the party in the ears of Ghanaians, that school should be teaching nothing but Harunaism. Because even without impeccable records, Haruna is not just intelligent; he is blessed with wealth of eloquence; on top of issues, and a maestro in negotiations. He is one of the sons of dagbong who washed their hands well; no wonder he has been eating with the elders – in and outside his constituency. While other candidates cannot see eye to eye with their opponents from other parties after election, he was having a brotherly chat with his opponent after the declaration of the results – unbelievable.

Until I come out with my take on why NDC suffered this humiliating defeat, stay safe in opposition and never fear to stand up to the status-quo as long as it is going in the wrong direction. In other words, be Too Vocal To Be Silent.


Abubakari Sadiq Iddrisu (Zuu Bukali)

Certified Public Accountant – New York, USA
Columnist: Abubakari Sadiq Iddrisu
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