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Nana Addo + Boniface = Landslide Victory

Sat, 10 May 2008 Source: GNA

A GNA feature by Caesar Abagali

Tamale, May 8, GNA - The Chairman of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Larry Bimi has asked the media to be more probing of public figures, particularly politicians, who want to assume leadership roles in the country.

"Rake out the bones from the cupboard of the people, who want to be leaders of this country,' he challenged the media at the lunch of the 8th Annual National Constitution Week in Accra.

One could not agree with the NCCE Chairman the more, since that charge also meant that the virtues of the good ones must also be extolled so that the people could make informed choices. It is following from this that this Writer is offering this affable hardworking young man called Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface as the Running Mate to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Flag Bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for Election 2008 for the elements are so mixed in him that he would neutralise any impact that the choice of John Dramani Mahama might bring to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) team.

The attraction, the vigour and conviviality of the man affectionately called "Boni" in Gonjaland, the land of his birth, easily towers above many politicians of his age.

His personal appeal during his rather brief period as a Minister in Northern Region endeared him to people on both sides of the political divide - NPP and NDC.

With the selection of Mr John Dramani Mahama, Member of Parliament for Bole-Bamboi, as the running mate of Professor John Evans Atta Mills, NDC Flag Bearer, the choice of Nana Akufo-Addo has been restricted to those who are capable of negating whatever advantage Mr Mahama might have brought to the Learned Professor.

This Writer dare say that the Member of Parliament for Salaga, Boni stands out as the most potent neutralising agent. He was able to win an election as an independent candidate and that means a lot. Boni has the demeanour and attractiveness that is very infectious.

He easily relates to people from all walks of life. One other outstanding quality of this young man is his dynamism. He has solid academic qualification and the requisite experience, having held many Deputy Ministerial and Ministerial portfolios. If the NDC has found in Mr Mahama, that quality of attractiveness and quick development of relationship, in Boni the NPP too has a very genuine humble personality, who combines not only the qualities found in Mr Mahama but a general acceptability across the political divide even in the Northern Region where the division is very sharp. Fortunately Boni has a Muslim background, unblemished period of office performance, very humble, outgoing and around him, an aura that is very difficult to resist.

As a disinterested observer, one cannot but be attracted to this young man who, destiny has thrust unto the political scene of Ghana by a stroke of chance.

He has had stints with the Ministries of Trade and Industry; Tourism and the Modernisation of the Capital City; Man Power, Youth and Employment and currently the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing as the substantive Minister, an enviable track record which only a lifetime can confer on any politician.

The soft spoken, affable and unassuming Boni scored both a big political and ethnic goal when he facilitated successfully, the burial of the Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, overlord of Dagbon in 2006 when he was the Regional Minister. Many saw his elevation to Cabinet status after the burial of the Ya-Na as a just reward for a task well accomplished. While in the Northern Region as a Minister, Boni gave modern politics a meaning when he interacted with both members of the NPP and NDC - arch political rivals in the Tamale Metropolis. He reversed the saying that: "When a child washes his hands well, he dines with elders." He rather soiled his hands to enable him to dine with the common man, an act that nearly swayed most of the youth in the camp of the NDC to the NPP during his short stay in the Region.

His short stay in the Region has led to a remarkable improvement in the rather bleak perception that people held when he was first appointed to manage the Region, a rare situation after the turbulence that hit Dagbon.

In an earlier article, "Boniface troubleshoots in the North and gets elevated" published by "The Daily Graphic" on Monday, May 22, 2006, this Writer pointed out that Boni actually served the people to the best of his ability and this was the time for him to reap the fruits of good leadership. Prior to his exit from the Northern Region to join the Cabinet many people including chiefs expressed worry about his exit.

Today, though Boni runs a very big and challenging Ministry in Accra, any time he comes to the Region he is still hailed by all and there is always a stampede to either catch a glimpse of or talk to him. Recently, when he embarked on a tour of the Region to assess the water situation, the way he was always mobbed is better seen than described.

All the places he visited from Gushiegu to Karaga; Yendi to Bimbilla; Buipe to Damongo and Walewale to Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo the people hailed and adored him. It is not a surprise that many people are tipping him to become the Running Mate of Nana Akufo-Addo.

As the Chairman of NCCE said, the story about Boni must be told in its entirety. Boni had an NDC tag but was compelled to become independent when that Party failed to organise primaries in the Salaga constituency to enable him to contest election 2000. He won the seat and entered Parliament as an independent candidate and as fate worked out against the then ruling NDC, it went into opposition.

The NPP quickly lured Boni to their side by first appointing him as Deputy Minister of Trade and later in a ministerial reshuffle, he became a Deputy Minister of Tourism and the Modernisation of the Capital City. In election 2004, he again won the Salaga seat but this time on an NPP ticket and got the chance to serve his people as a Northern Regional Minister when the area was "burning".

Those who had had the opportunity to interact with this 48-year-old Economist would testify that the man is an enigma, the elements as so blended in him that one is naturally attracted to him.

The Minister's affability made it easier for him to relate well with all particularly politicians and chiefs in Dagbon. This Boni is being offered to Nana Akufo-Addo and the Ghanaian electorate. The choice is yours.

This piece has been written in response to the Chairman of National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) Mr Larry Bimi's call to the media to probe those seeking political office so that the people could make informed choices.

Columnist: GNA