What is the secret of Bole?

Mon, 30 Jul 2012 Source: Haruna, Mahama

President John Mahama who has been chosen by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ruling NDC as the flag-bearer of the party and Dr Abu Foster Sakara, the flag-bearer of the CPP are from Bole.

Bole is the capital of the Bole District of Northern Region. The town is strategically located in the western corridor of Northern Region serving as a major link to Wa (Upper West Regional Capital) to the north, Damongo/Tamale to the east and Techiman/ Kumasi to the south. The Bole District shares a long boundary line with the Republic of Cote d Ivoire to the west. Bole has an estimated six thousand (6,000) people.

This town though relatively small as compared to many towns in the country has become more politically significant in recent times because it has produced two of the five known Presidential aspirants for the 2012 elections.

It would be interesting how the voting pattern of the area would be in the 2012 elections as a result of the election of two strong personalities as flag-bearers.

The nomination of John Mahama as a Vice-Presidential candidate of NDC in the 2008 election had a great impact on the 2008 election in Bole. Whereas the NPP won almost all the polling stations in Bole township in the 2004 election, the NDC overturned the results by winning every single polling station in the Bole township in 2008.

The NDC in Bole came up with local slogans such as "Ki-Jakpa Nana"- meaning 'Brethren of Jakpa' to win votes. Ndewura Jakpa was the founder of the Gonja Kingdom. We are told he was a handsome, intelligent, humble, respectful and a generous leader but a fierce warrior who conquered the biggest land in contemporary Ghana. John Mahama was packaged as the reincarnate of Ndewura Jakpa. Now that we also have Abu Sakara as a flag-bearer, which of them becomes an Ndewura Jakpa reincarnate.

To compound matters for people of this town, the current National Womens Organiser of the main opposition NPP, Otiko Afish Djaba- a great-grand daughter of Ndewuar Jakpa and other NPP stalwarts like Mr Adams Zakariah a royal of Bole and Principal of the Bagabaga Training College in Tamale who nearly became the running mate to Nana Akuffo-Addo in the 2008 elections are also indigenes of Bole.

What is the secret of your hometown Bole? A friend recently asked me recently during a discussion of the politics of the country. I could not answer the question immediately. I knew the friend was trying to impugn spiritual reasons.

I am not sure the success of people from the town in politics could be attributed to spiritual reasons though we have very powerful deities as well as renowned Islamic scholars (Mallams) from the area.

Even before recent times, we have had personalities from this town playing significant roles for most political parties and governments in the country since the days of Dr Kwame Nrumah. E.A. Mahama (father of President John Mahama) was a Minister in Nkrumah’s government. Colonel Amadu Iddisah was a Commissioner (Minister) in governments of Colonel Kutu Acheampongs and Edward Akuffo. Proffessor Yakubu Saaka who nearly became the PNC Flagbearer before the 2008 elections was a Minister in Dr Hilla Limans PNP government. Alhaji Gilbert Iddi and John Mahama were Ministers in the PNDC/NDC government of J.J. Rawlings. The only exception was the Progress Party government under Dr K.A. Busia and the NPP government under President J.A Kufour, which did not appoint any person from Bole into their government though Busia won the Bole seat in the 1969 Parliamentary elections.

I believe the secret of Bole could among other reasons be the unity in political diversity, political and religious tolerance as well as the respect and humility by people from the town.

Mahama Haruna

The writer is the Secretary of the Gonjaland Youth Association-Bole Traditional Area Branch.

Columnist: Haruna, Mahama