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The very reasons for which Dr Bawumia was chosen as running mate equally qualifies him as flagbearer

BAWUMIA BREAK.png Dr Mahamudu BawumiaVice President of Ghana

Fri, 2 Apr 2021 Source: Iddi Adam Osman

Very soon, the respected delegates of the New Patriotic Party( NPP) shall in accordance with the constitution of the party decide the holder of the flag of the party for the 2024 elections.

It is my fervent prayer and utmost hope that Allah spares our lives and grant us good health to reach this all-important day for the party in 2024. I refer to it as the all-important day for the NPP in 2024 because it is a day that decides the success and forward match of the NPP or the otherwise going into the 2024 presidential elections.

Though the current vice president of Ghana, Dr Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia has not yet officially declared his intention to contest in the presidential primaries, there is ample evidence that he will be one of the contenders. Even if he does not, I foresee the rank and file of the party mounting pressure on him to vie for the flagbearership because of how he has endeared himself to the grassroots of the party and positive neutrals in the party politics of Ghana.

The issue that keeps lingering on is whether Dr Alhaji Bawumia will be able to break the eight years vicious cycle of the New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress rule in Ghana and deliver victory for the New Patriotic Party for the fifth time in the fourth Republican dispensation of Ghana.

The question is very relevant because the delegates should not just get a flagbearer for the party but one who is very viable and not just a hard nut but an impossible one for the NDC to crack. In a bid to finding an answer to the above question, it is appropriate to analyse the reasons for which he(Dr Bawumia) was nominated to partner with the president for four consecutive presidential elections.

Obviously, Dr Bawumia's nomination as a running mate to the flagbearer of the NPP for 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020 elections was not for the sake of just getting a running mate for the party but anchored on some reasonable and convincing reasons.

On 17th August 2008, at a mammoth rally in Takoradi to climax the delegates conference, the NPP flagbearer for the 2008 elections, Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo Addo in raising the left hand of Dr Bawumia to a cheerful and jubilant crowd of party supporters confidently remarked " this young man is an achiever whom the party has selected to support me to present a solid ticket for the December poll".

He added, " the NPP has made a wise decision by selecting a Muslim running mate from the Northern part of Ghana to support a Christian flagbearer to accelerate the country's development. "

From the above statements and many of such statements from well-known figures of the NPP, independent thinking political analysts and communicators, the four consecutive times nomination of Dr Bawumia as the running mate to Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo Addo is premised on the fact that he is a top-notch economist and a Northern Muslim.

The party saw these two reasons as apt because as a technocrat, he will be of immense help in turning around the economic fortunes of the country should the NPP win the presidential elections and he becomes the vice president, a position by default which will make him the head of the Government's Economic Management Team.

It was also seen that his nomination gives a fair representation and the inclusion of Northerners and Muslims at the top echelon of the hierarchy of national leadership in Ghana which will make the party attractive to the Northerners and Muslims. Doubtlessly, the Nana Addo/ Bawumia combination yielded positive results for the party.

The never-slackening improvement of the NPP in Northern Ghana and the Zongo communities in both the presidential and parliamentary elections is glaring evidence. So, if the reasons for which the party picked him as its running mate for four elections did yield results, will it not be a double plus should he become its flagbearer?

Conventionally, the NPP since the inception of the fourth republican constitution has paired a Southern Christian Flagbearer and a Northern Muslim vice presidential candidate. In 1992, the NPP paired Alhassan, a Muslim from the Northern region with Professor Adu Boahen, a Christian flagbearer from the Ashanti region.

The John Agyekum Kuffuor and Alhaji Aliu Mahama ticket for the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections is yet another proof. It will be not out of place for one to conclude that this move is an attempt to dispel the erroneous notion hoarded by people especially the adversaries of the party that the NPP is an Akan party and that it creates no room for people from non-Akan backgrounds.

The party, therefore, believed that partnering an Akan flagbearer with a Northern running mate, it will make the party attractive to the Northerners and Muslims in Ghana. Truth be told and ample facts speak to it that such a plan is working perfectly for the NPP.

The NPP that was almost considered a taboo for a Northerner or a Muslim to openly support has penetrated into many parts of Northern Ghana and the Zongo communities in Southern Ghana. I am not a tribal bigot. Not at all. If I were, I would not have been supporting NPP at this time when my tribesman, a Gonja is at the helm of the affairs of the NDC.

From 2008 to 2016, it was almost a curse for a person from Gonjaland to openly support the NPP but we defied that odd and vehemently supported the NPP. So, I am not one who fancy tribal politics at all but the fact to state here is that if indeed a vice-presidential position fetched the NPP such votes from Northern Ghana and the Zongo communities that are predominantly Muslims, will we not get more votes from such areas should Dr Alhaji Bawumia be made the Flagbearer of the Party? This is a question worth pondering on by anyone who means well for the party.

Aside from the reason to win the hearts and minds of northerners and Muslims for the NPP, Dr Bawumia was also selected as a running mate to help the president turn around the economy and put it back on track should the NPP win the presidential elections and he( Bawumia) became the vice president. President Akuffo Addo rightly puts it in 2014, when he stated "........... I have been lucky to have Mahamudu by my side since 2008.

His credentials as a top-notch economist were always known to all and have been reinforced by his analytical work and performance in this sector in the past five years earning him the sobriquet of Dr Prophet.........I am confident that he will make an outstanding vice president of the Republic and a good manager of the economy if God almighty and the Ghanaian people favour us with the opportunity of service come January 2017.

True to the president's words, Dr Bawumia as the head of the Government's Economic Management Team, has performed creditably well. As the head of the government's Economic Management Team, he has been able to positively revert all the economic indicators that were downsized before 2017.

Inflation has been reduced from 15.4% in 2016 to a single digit and to 10.4% at the end of 2020 after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, import duties reduced by between 30%-50%, Ghana's gross international reserves increased from $6.2bilion(3.5 months of imports) in 2016 to $ 8.6 billion in 2020(4.1 months of imports) and the average lending rates reduced from 32% in 2016 to 21% in 2020.

Also, the Triangular Mobile Money Interoperability Sytems that has made it able for Ghanaians to transfer money from their bank accounts to their mobile money wallets seamlessly and vice versa and also to transfer money across all mobile money operators without any difficulty is the brainchild of Dr Bawumia.

His efforts to formalize the Ghanaian economy by digitising almost every sector of the economy has been remarkable. That is, services of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Electricity Company of Ghana, the Passport Office, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, the Scholarship Secretariat, the Court System, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority( DVLA) have all been digitised.

Dr Bawumia's economics and lobbying prowess was brought to bear when he led a delegation to China in 2017 to negotiate the two million dollars( $2b) Bauxite-Arrangement under the Sinohydro Master Project Support for the country's infrastructural development.

From all indications, Dr Bawumia will be a serious headache for the National Democratic Congress going into the 2024 presidential elections. Even the maverick and loud spoken Dr Aidoo of the NDC confirmed it when he granted his first-ever interview on TV3 after his return to Ghana from his diplomatic assignment.

He stated "Dr Bawumia was the Achille's heel of the NDC not only for the 2016 elections but he started way back in 2012. What I missed was the inability of the NDC communication team to bring out the facts so as to challenge the comparative analysis that Dr Bawumia was making." His statement was supported by Kweku Baako in April 2019 on Metro TV when he stated " it appears Dr Bawumia is a problem for his political opponents.

I have been around Ghanaian politics for a very long time and I can tell you Dr Bawumia is one of the best communicators we have ever had. He is articulate, he is coherent and he is focused. He makes economics very simple. He is able to reduce very complicated issues. So, I see why he represents a problem and a challenge for some people".

I have articulated and one who analyses my submission devoid of any consideration except one that will lead to our victory in 2024 will see sense in what I have stated.

Columnist: Iddi Adam Osman
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