Why Jake is my NPP Chairman

Fri, 29 May 2009 Source: Haruna, Mahama

- Part I.

Once again, the need has arisen for the NPP to choose a new crop of National Executive to steer the affairs of this great party by the end of the year. The kind of leaders we choose for our party, will be a reflection of our sense of of judgment on how we want the party to perform in the 2012 election..

The competition over the National Chairmanship position will be challenging but I believe it would not be too big a challenge to NPP Kingmakers because the party is full of discerning and well informed people who will rightly determine how the party should chart its course by electing the right leaders. Our vision as members of a NPP remains and together, we can work to achieve our ultimate goals to uplift the party's image. We must strive to restore the hope and confidence of Ghanaians.

TheNPP need to turn a new page, adapt to a new paradigm shift and embracea new brand of leadership.The party needs a disciplined, dynamic and avisionary chairman whose love for the party is without question. A new chairman with astrong commitment to organization and party-building skills is needed.

Leadership is about people. It is about how to lead people to achieve the desired outcomes for a course. Accordingto the Book of Proverbs, the qualities of good leadership are hardwork, good listening skills, wise planning and common sense, ability tostand adversity and pressure and openness to new ideas.

The NPP need someone who has these character traits to be able exhibit good leadership qualities. The grass root supporters andother admirers of the party are currently disillusioned due to someavoidable and elementary mistakes as well as self-inflicted wounds the Party suffered,especially before the last elections. The once popularparty that the nation embraced is now a pale shadow of its formerglory. In view of this there is a general impression that the entire National Executive should exit fortheir failure to lead the party to a third term victory especially whenit appeared their pedigrees assured victory.

Ihave a strong conviction that Jacob Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey commonlycalled Jake Obetsebi Lamptey has what it takes to be an efficient,effective and a progressive chairman to take over from Mac Manu. As a credible newspaper recently put it: "Jake enjoys considerablegrassroots support and several of the people in the party leadershipare comfortable with him. He is considered as 'conveniently andpositively predictable' as a strategist and grafter because of his vastexperience in party management and campaign organisation since 1979". Quality leadership is a potent mix of good character and strategy and I strongly believe Jake is the mix. He is a strategist, a pragmatic situation analyst and a good lobbyist. Jake has the character, leadership skills and experience to become chairman of NPP.

Jake has served the NPP for long and is one of the few who sacrificed their time, resources and spirit to consolidate, advance and improved on the fortunes of the Danquah-Busia political tradition and the NPP over the years.As A three times Greater Accra Regional chairman and two times winningwinning campaign Manager he is well baked to take up the chairmanshipposition.

He is a team player and therefore creates opportunities for people working under him to learn and grow. He is the only Minister under ex-President Kufour's government who's four deputies were promoted to full Ministers. He is, down-to-earth and politically astute enough to connectwith the average folks.

Heis someone who is able to mix well and relate maximally with differentshades of people- the youth, women and other vulnerable groups. He hasa passion for the promotion of the well fare of the youth and is downto earth. He is accommodating and listens carefully to people even under pressure. Thereis a feeling among the younger generation of NPP that, the party needsto change itselfwith regards to the way it deals with its youth before it beginsthinking about retaking power. The youth are craving new ideas andleadership action and I have the conviction it is Jake who would beable to meet their aspirations.

"Insha'Allah"( If it is Gods Will), an Arabic term evoked by Muslims to indicatehope foran aforementioned event to occur in the future is often used by Jakeand so Muslims loves him although he is not one of them. In fact theyfeel so comfortable with him. His style of mostly dressing like aNortherner is admired and appreciated by people from the three NorthernRegions and I hear he loves eating Ewe food.

Jake is a Unifier and would not drag the party to wallow in thebitterness of divisions and factionalism. If the roots of disunitygetting firm in the NPP are not immediately addressed, the party couldbe heading for serious problems in the 2012 elections. In fact, itcould lead to the break-up of the party. To have any chance of winningwe must unite our party to hold our own and the best person to do thatis Jake. Having served as Campaign chairman fo both Kufour andAkufo-Addo as well as most of the prominent people in NPP with greaterco-operation and understanding, I believe he will be in the bestposition to unite the party.

Undera Jake chairmanship, I believe NPP footsoldiers, activists and allrelevant stakeholders will be duly recognised and if possible rewardedfor their good work. As Chief of Staffand Minister of Presidential Affairs, he created a "Party LiaisonOffice" to deal with concerns of party members across the country, asituation that made party activits happy.

Jake's ethnic background will be an advantage to the NPP. I am not suggesting he should bemade chairman simply because he is a Ga. But whether we like it not oryes, ethnicity has become an integral part of politicking in Ghana.During the last election , ethnicity featured prominently in thecampaign of NDC. They exploited and and fanned ethnic diffrerences towin votes. The NPP need to do a lot of strategic planning in terms ofethnic permutations for top positions in the party to prevent thesituation in which NDC will continue to brand it pro-Akan. All thingsbeing equal the flag bearer position will remain with the Akans. TheGas, an important ethnic group in the politics of this country shouldbe given the Chairmanship with Voltarians and Northerners taking otherNational executive positions to balance the situation.

When Jake was the Greater Accra Chairman of NPP, the party increased its seats from 9 to 16. No party has ever won an election in Ghana without winning the Greater Accra region and that is the more reason why Jake should be the Chairman because Greater Accra, a region the NPP need to win the next election will feel comfortable bwith him. He is a workaholic and in fact one who once effectively combined Cabinet responsibilities with the position of Greater Accra regional Chairman.

Jake has charisma and this is essential to motivate andinspire our party foot soldiers most of whom are presently apathetic tothe course of the party. His natural appeal to floating voters and nonNPP voters could do the trick.

The above reasons are very essential attributes of a prospective National Chairman. Some of the issues raised seem trivial but believe me they are what Ghanaians look out for in voting.

The debate as to who is the right person to become NPP chairman will continue. I reason in line with the opinion that, even though our party has always welcomed competition for office as abedrock principle, well-meaning Ghanaians and the overwhelming majorityof our rank and file hope that this time around the competition will beconducted in a way that will facilitate reconciliation amongcompetitors and their supporters, thereby reinforcing the unity of ourparty. Ghanaians want to see a strong united front amongst us so thatwe can offer them the vibrant, energetic and visionary leadership theyare yearning for returning our party to government in 2012.

Iwill stick my neck out for Jake. I also implore NPP members to let ourarguments be cogent and not destructive. I urge the NPP's Council ofElders, the National Executive Committee , Regional and Constituency Branches, the Party's Parliamentary groupand all the caucuses as well as Party faithfuls whose duty is toprotect, nurture and defend the beliefs, ideology and visions of thegreat founding fathers of the party to as a matter of great concernsupport my idea of making Jake our Chairman to enhance NPP'S chance in2012.

By Mahama Haruna. maharun1@yahoo.com 0243-313-113.

The writer holds a B. A. Degree in Communication Studies (with Specialisationin Journalism) from the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ). He was a formerSecretary of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS). He was also a formerNPP Secretary for Bole-Bamboi Constituency.

Columnist: Haruna, Mahama