June 14, 2024

As the New Patriotic Party (NPP) gears up for its upcoming presidential primaries, the race to become the party’s flagbearer is heating up. Among the main contenders are Mr. Alan Kyerematen, Hon. Kennedy Agyapong, and Dr. Bawumia, all highly qualified and respected members of the party. However, one of them is campaigning with the mantra, “Aduru me so!” which translates to “It is my turn!” implying that he deserves to be the next candidate simply because of his long-standing history with the party. In other words, he is next in line. But is this the best criterion to determine who should lead the party in the next elections?

In this article, I will argue that the idea of “it is my turn” as touted by Chief Alan is a fallacy and that Dr. Bawumia is the rightful candidate to lead the NPP to victory in the upcoming elections based on the sacred history of our party dating back to the pre-independence era till the formation of the New Patriotic Party in 1992.

The idea of “it is my turn” in politics is not a new phenomenon. It has been a recurring theme throughout history, as leaders and political parties have often relied on the concept of seniority to choose their candidates. However, as the historian and political scientist, Samuel P. Huntington, argued in his seminal work, “The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century,” the success of democratic transitions depends on the ability of political parties to select candidates based on their qualifications and vision for the future, rather than their seniority or length of service.

In the context of the NPP, this means that the party should focus on selecting a candidate who can inspire and unite the party, articulate a clear vision for the future, and connect with the aspirations of the Ghanaian people. In this regard, Dr. Bawumia stands out as the most qualified candidate, with his impressive track record of public service and his vision for a prosperous and inclusive Ghana.

While Dr. Bawumia’s vision for the NPP’s future is undoubtedly impressive, his claim to the party’s flagbearer position is not solely based on his own merits. Rather, it is also rooted as fate will have it in the historical traditions of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia political ideology.

The recognition of the trio Danquah-Dombo-Busia as our founding fathers has been established, taught and imbibed within the NPP. Each of these stalwarts paid their dues.

Danquah was instrumental in the creation of our first political party, the UGCC, and served as Nkrumah’s Opposition Leader in 1951 after the UGCC suffered a crushing defeat to the CPP in the Gold Coast legislative election. It is important to remember that Prof. Busia, who also served as a Legislative Assembly member, was one of the 37 candidates chosen by the territorial councils, having received his nomination from the Asanteman Council.

We are appropriately introduced to Dr. Busia and Chief S. D. Dombo’s rise through the intriguing events of the Gold Coast Legislative Elections of 1954 and 1956. With stalwarts like Dr. Danquah, Paa Willie, Obetsebi Lamptey, and Akufo-Addo losing their seats in the Akim Abuakwa Central, Akim Abuakwa West, Accra Central, and Akuapem South constituencies, respectively, the Ghana Congress Party, an offshoot of the UGCC, only had Dr. Busia elected as a member.

We shamefully won just one of the 104 seats up for election in 1954, in Wenchi East, represented by Dr. Busia. However, another man had been successful in uniting the North into a single political party, the Northern Peoples Party, which went on to win 12 seats up north. That great man was Chief S. D. Dombo, the leader of the then NPP.

The CPP, led by Nkrumah, had won 71 seats in 1954. It logically followed that Chief S. D. Dombo would serve as the opposition leader. He freely handed that position over to Dr. Busia.

The selfless act by Chief S.D. Dombo in ceding the opposition leader role to Dr. Busia, despite his Northern Peoples Party having more seats in Parliament during the 1954 and 1956 legislative elections, can be described as a display of humility, magnanimity, and statesmanship.

By placing the interests of the country above his ambitions, Chief Dombo demonstrated a rare commitment to the democratic ideals of fairness, justice, and inclusivity. He recognized that a strong opposition was crucial for holding the ruling party accountable and ensuring that the government remained responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people.

Chief Dombo’s actions set a positive precedent for other political leaders to emulate and contributed to the strengthening of the democratic foundations of our party in Ghana. His selflessness and willingness to work with others towards a common goal remain an inspiration to this day.

Digitizing The Economy: The role of people and culture

Where am I headed with all of this history, you might be asking yourself at this point. Hold on just a second, the main point of my message is about to break.

The magnanimous act of Chief S.D. Dombo in ceding the opposition leader role to Dr. Busia during the 1954 and 1956 legislative assemblies paved the way for Busia to establish himself as a respected and influential political leader. As a result of Dombo’s selflessness, Busia was able to emerge as a natural leader in the 1969 Ghanaian parliamentary election, leading the Progress Party, which had been formed by the amalgamation of the NPP and the NLM through the efforts of the industrious Baffour Osei Akoto. The Progress Party won 105 out of the 140 seats, and Busia became the Prime Minister of Ghana. This outcome would not have been possible without the foundational role played by Dombo.

It should be noted that while Chief S.D. Dombo’s selfless act of ceding the opposition leader’s role to Dr. Busia was instrumental in establishing Busia as a respected political leader, Busia was also a highly capable and qualified individual in his own right. Busia was widely recognized for his intellectual prowess, his commitment to democratic ideals, and his deep knowledge of Ghanaian history and culture. He was a respected academic, having taught at universities in Ghana, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and was known for his work in promoting African cultural identity and national unity. Busia’s visionary leadership and commitment to democratic ideals were instrumental in his rise to power and the success of the Progress Party.

Regarding Baffour Osei Akoto, I think it is because of the crucial role he played that his son, the former agriculture minister Hon. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, feels motivated to run for president. But I’ll talk about that in a later section of this essay.

It is worth noting that the ‘NPP’ (New Patriotic Party) did not come into power again until after 32 years or so, in 2001, after a convincing victory in the runoff elections. It is also interesting to observe that the man who led the NPP to that victory, President Kufuor, had served in Dr. Busia’s government in 1969 when he was just about 29 years old as deputy foreign affairs minister. It is possible that had Chief Dombo not ceded the opposition leader role to Dr. Busia, President Kufuor may not have had the opportunity to serve under Busia nor the would-be Progress Party leader in 1969. Dr. Busia was not only a respected political leader but also a mentor to many, including Kufuor. As Kufuor’s political godfather, Dr. Busia helped him gain admission to Oxford in his earlier years and guided his political career. This mentorship and guidance may have played a significant role in Kufuor’s rise to power and the NPP’s victory in the 2000 elections having beaten Prof. Adu Boahene (a Danquaist) in the 1996 Presidential primary and Nana Akufo-Addo another Danquaist in the 1998 Presidential primaries.

Indeed, it is fascinating to see how one act of magnanimity by Chief Dombo over 70 years ago has had a ripple effect on the Ghanaian political landscape, culminating in the rise of figures like President Kufuor and Mr. Alan Kyerematen. It is worth noting that President Kufuor, who was mentored by Dr. Busia, played a crucial role in bringing Alan Kyerematen to the forefront of Ghanaian politics even though Chief Alan’s involvement with the party can be traced to the formative years of the NPP party in 1992. Kufuor’s alleged support for Kyerematen, even against the more experienced party members like Nana Akufo-Addo, demonstrates the formers convictions and length he was ready to go into maintaining another Busiaist in the line of succession.

Therefore, we can conclude that had Chief Dombo not ceded the opposition leader role to Dr. Busia, the political landscape in Ghana may have been different today, and figures like President Kufuor and Alan Kyerematen may not have risen to their current positions of prominence. It is a testament to the power of selflessness and leadership that one act – just one act, can have far-reaching consequences.

In the interest of party unity and historical continuity, and in my respectful opinion, I hold the view strongly that it would be wise for Alan Kyerematen to consider stepping aside and supporting Dr. Bawumia’s candidacy, an act that will be a strong imprint on our sacred history and forever honour the spirits of Chief Dombo. This would not only honour the legacy of Chief Dombo’s selflessness, but it would also demonstrate a commitment to the democratic ideals of fairness and inclusivity, and reciprocity.

Furthermore, this gesture would cement Alan Kyerematen’s place in the history of the NPP forever as a revered figure and statesman who put the interests of the party above personal ambition. By taking this step, he would elevate himself to the level of a pillar within the party, rather than being viewed as a by-product of the great Kufuor administration.

This decision, however difficult it may seem is the bitter pill that could also position Chief Alan almost automatically as a running mate, strengthening the party’s chances of convincingly winning the upcoming elections in about 18 months’ time. It is important for him to carefully consider the long-term benefits of this decision and act in the best interest of the party and the country as a whole.

It is quite obvious that it is in Alan’s interest to repay Dombo’s kindness and it is, indeed, Bawumia’s time to take up the mantle like Busia.

Last weekend, during the ‘aduro me so’ walk through the principal streets of Accra, which I must confess was very well organized, I saw Chief Alan and his beautiful wife, Patricia, dressed so elegantly in black and white, and I could only speculate that he did so to honour the colours of the two outstanding secondary schools he attended – Adisadel College and Achimota School. My small piece of advice to Chief Alan, from an Akora myself, is for him to carefully ponder the words of the famous school song that exhorts us to “subjugate so we may rule.”

I will be pained to see Chief Alan ending up his political career like the brilliant Ekow Spio-Garbrah of the NDC, but if he chooses to continue on the path he has started, I am afraid but confident that it will not be in his best interests based on the statistics and data I have seen.

The pro-NAPO and pro-Adutwum groups are already cursing me as they read this because they hope Alan becomes heart hardened and does not see this obvious reasonable escape that will forever make him a pillar in his own right as far as the history of the party is concerned. I don’t need a soothsayer to tell me this. I do not believe, either, that the thinking of many is that party stalwarts like Hon. Atta Akyea, Nana Akomea, the veteran Hackman Owusu Agyemang, and Parliament’s majority leader Hon. Kyei Mensah Bonsu (in the order of their respective media engagements I heard) did not have the best interest of the party at heart when they mooted such a brilliant idea. However, I must also admit that for a party that touts itself as having the men, it is more than capable in selecting a befitting running mate should the proposal of these aforementioned men not see light.

Why am I so certain that Bawumia will win? Is that the question you have on your mind? Despite the fact that I have a number of reasons, for the purpose of this argument I’ll limit myself to just two, and they’ll be focused on two important individuals and the roles I observe they each play. One is Mr. Sammy Awuku of the NLA as a sign of what we should expect from the “party,” and the other is Hon. Annoh-Dompreh, the Majority Chief Whip, as a representation of what we should anticipate from Parliament.

The latter, the majority chief whip, Hon. Annoh-Dompreh, has openly declared his support for Dr. Bawumia in the upcoming NPP primaries and has even displayed the Vice President’s image on billboards in his home constituency. Parliamentary whips all over the world are skilled researchers by the nature of their work and very excellent negotiators, and his open declaration of support is to be interpreted as a majority decision of sorts. In the current hung Parliament, he has achieved success in getting some important bills passed, indicating that he is well-informed and one who knows exactly what he’s about. His support of Dr. Bawumia, in my candid opinion, bodes well for the Vice President since it indicates where Parliament’s loyalty lies. The very reason I was not surprised when it was widely reported by the media that Dr. Bawumia had informed Parliament first about his decision to contest in the upcoming primaries.

Another key factor contributing to my confidence that Dr. Bawumia will win the upcoming NPP primaries is the support of Sammy Awuku, a highly respected member of the party who has served as the former National Youth Organiser and National Organiser. Awuku, even though very young has over the years built some influence and have been instrumental in mentoring rising stars in the party, including the likes of Henry Nana Boakye and Justin Frimpong Kodua, who now hold prominent positions within the party. With Awuku’s reach spanning every constituency in Ghana, his support for Dr. Bawumia is a clear indication that the Vice President is the preferred choice of many delegates. With such strong backing, it is clear that Dr. Bawumia is poised for victory in the upcoming primaries.

I am aware that some people will purposefully find it difficult to understand the connections I have made in my argument, but let’s look at it this way. Do you think Mr. Godfred Dame, Hon. Abu Jinapor, or Hon. Asenso Boakye would have been playing the roles they have under President Akufo-Addo if Chief Alan had won the internal competition after President Kufuor? Ayikoi Otoo and the rest of the group may have served as Speaker of Parliament, among other positions which had the potential of leading to a whole different arrangement irrespective of the fact that it is the same NPP party. My position is that Hon. Abu Jinapor’s political future cannot be separated from the current platform provided by President Akufo-Addo, and even though he excels in his field, there is no guarantee that he would have achieved this level of success under a different NPP administration. So in essence, we have to agree that a Dombo-led prime minister would have led to different political outcomes to that of Busia. That is an undeniable fact!

To fulfil my promise to address the Akoto issue before I end, I humbly implore all readers to find Mr. Steven Ntim, Chairman of the NPP’s statement at the book launch of the book titled “BAFFOUR OSEI AKOTO: A ROYAL PATRIOT AND THE MAKING OF GHANA” held on August 31, 2022, at the auditorium of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.

After reading the speech, which was rich with wisdom, you’ll understand the main point of my argument. However, is it not satisfactory to see that the wise Chairman made those statements at no other place than at the book launch marking the 20th anniversary in memory of the illustrious Baffour Akoto? Maybe Baffour Akoto’s spirit was directing his son to assume that paternal responsibility and make sure that a member of the Busia lineage placates the Dombos. The former Agric Minister, I reckon should be interested in leading that dialogue as it will bode well for his career and also the descendants of Akoto.

In conclusion, I believe we all know whose turn it is. Is it Alan’s turn as he’s touting? Obviously not! Dombo’s turn has come. The late Sir John was right to have made that audacious claim in the Asempa FM studio’s in one of the many exciting Ekosii Sen interviews that it was Dombo’s turn. I couldn’t agree more with him. Our God being so good, we have a Dombo with some class in Dr. Bawumia. Among his many talents, Dr. Bawumia is renowned for his ability to explain difficult economic concepts in a way that is understandable to the average population, which I think will be useful as the general elections in 2024 draw near.

To the great Chief Alan, I will humbly end by quoting Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese military strategist, that says “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” This quote suggests that victory can be achieved through strategic planning and tactics that minimize the need for confrontation.

While this quote is not directly related to elections or abstaining from them, in my view it can be interpreted as a reminder that there are often multiple paths to victory and that sometimes the most effective approach may involve avoiding direct competition altogether.

This is NPP’s surest way to breaking the 8!

Thank You

……

Gideon Kwasi Annor is an NPP Member.

 

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