Politics of Tue, 10 Jan 20172

Feature: A journey from the Zongo to the South: How Boniface made it possible

Little did the doubting Thomas in both the then opposition New Patriotic Party and the now out-gone National Democratic Congress know that one can lose elections in the North and come down South to win.

It has always been the reverse, people losing elections in the South and going back to North to win.

The likes of Ras Mubarak among others lost an election in one of Accra’s populous areas, Ablekuma North only to go to Kumbungu and win.

It is only Emmanuel Agyarko, who came close to Alhaji Boniface’s feat, he on several occasions lost elections in the Eastern Region - particularly where he served as a Presiding Member of the Somaya Assembly under first NPP administration and came to cosmopolitan Ayawaso West Wuogon and won.

That was the story that threw a heavyweight like Amadu Sorogho into the political wilderness, he has held onto the Madina seat for the past twelve years.

He never believed it was possible hence, he nicknaming Alhaji Boniface as a ‘rejected politician’ from the North during the heat of the 2016 campaign.

He further described Boniface as ‘fowl’ on Accra-based Metro TV indicating that Boniface was not any serious challenge for him.

This feat of Alhaji Abubakar saddique Boniface, the Member of Parliament –elect for Madina Constituency in the Greater Accra region is now widely spoken of in both the NPP and NDC circles in the Zongos.

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This is the story of the man called the ‘Zongo Boy’ of all the deprived Muslim communities across the country.

Background

For the first time in the history of Zongo politics Nana Addo, the President –elect won Madina with 37,608.

And the parliamentary candidate pulling overwhelming 41,112 representing 54.98 percent this clearly shows Alhaji Boniface is a force to reckon with when it comes to Zongo politics and particularly if the NPP wants to keep their hold on the area.

The NDC in 2012 had 31,239 votes representing 50.91% against the opposition NPP’s 28,768, representing 46.88% in the Presidential election, while in the parliamentary; the NDC had 32,080 (50.20%) as against NPP’s 30,330 votes (47.40%).

Again in 2008, when the NDC came to power, the late President Atta Mills polled 34,571 (54.65%) against the NPP figure of 27,708 (43.80%), while in the parliamentary, the NDC got 30,717 (70.11%) against the NPP who polled 13,098 votes (29.89%).

In the year 2012, the dwindling popularity of the NDC MP became more evident in the presidential as the party recorded total votes of 45,626 (56.49%) against the NPP who had 34,657 votes (42.91%) with a vote difference of 10,969; while in the parliamentary, the NDC won by 41,441 (52.07%) as against that of the NPP’s 34,845 votes (43.78%), losing over 4,000 votes in the parliamentary election.

Even as Cabinet Minister in the first administration of the NPP led by ex-president Kufour he was spotted at all Mawulidin programmes, out-doorings, and birthdays of the Prophet Mohammed as well that of the Chief Imam.

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He was a blessing to the people of Salaga, in the North when he represented them in Parliament; he lost the Salaga seat, because of the usual politics of this place is NDC or NPP.

The people do not necessarily look at competence, ability, capacity, experience and the will to deliver but only thought of politics.

Support

These remind political watchers of statement in 2008 when groups like the Coalition of Zongo Social Clubs (CZSC) based in Kumasi, the Ashanti regional capital called on the National Executive Council and the Council of Elders of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to place premium on the Muslim activities of Alhaji Boniface in the general elections.

In a statement jointly signed by Alhaji Ghana, Chairman, Alhaji Awudu Dawuni, Co-coordinator and Mr C.K Sulemana, Secretary, the Zongo clubs support Alhaji Saddique Boniface describing him as a humble, self motivated, respectable and hard working person who is a winner in political field.

According to them, Alhaji Boniface is a potential crowd puller and a linguistic personality both local and foreign and his style of politics, would ensure total victory for the party.

According to the group, Boniface had demonstrated a lot of hard work and commitment, which made him affable and attractive to almost all Ghanaians and there was the need for the party to take advantage of his popularity to win the elections.

Campaign Trail

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Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, is reported to have told people in Zongo communities that he did not enter the race for the Madina seat for his selfish gains, but for the good of the community that has been neglected over the years.

“If it was for my personal gains, I should be relaxing somewhere with my wife and children, because I have attained the height every young man desires in politics and life.

In my career as a politician, I have handled five Ministries and ended as a full fledged Cabinet member in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration under the able-leadership of ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor’’

According to him, he started as Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, when Kofi Konadu Apraku was the substantive Minister, he later moved to the Ministry of Tourism and Beautification of the Capital City under ex-National Chairman of NPP, Jake Obetsebi- lamptey as Deputy Minister.

He was later appointed the Regional Minister for Northern Region; where he assisted in the organization of the burial of the late Overlord of Yendi, Ya-na Yakubu Adani II, before President Kufuor, saw the good traits in him and made him the Minister for Manpower and Youth Development, where he introduced the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) that employed a large number of the teeming youth in the country.

He has always expressed his gratitude to ex- President Kufuor, for seeing the good in him, when he made him the Minister for water Resources, Works and Housing at the tail end of his administration in 2008.

"I am not in the race for the Landcruiser vehicle that will be made available to me, if I win the 2016 parliamentary election, I have seen it all."

He stressed that, he had lived in Madina for the past thirty years and has realized the fortunes of the area kept dwindling as compared to some of the newly created Assemblies in the region.

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It is against this backdrop that he took the decision to contest to better the lots of the community he raised his children in,” I have done it before as the Member of Parliament for Salaga Constituency in the Northern Region”.

“I know majority of you have heard of me, but have not seen me personally, since I was elected on June 13, 2015.”

He appealed to the Madina to see politics as a mere contest of ideas and policies and not an avenue for intra-fighting.

He said, politics was not about personalities in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP), but about how the lots of the electorate in the community can be bettered.

He said, the Zongo communities across the country are lagging behind in terms of development as compared to other communities, yet when people are needed to engage in violence, the youth in these communities are the first to be called upon.

Source: Cecil Mensah

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