I drafted this article, and then paused in deference to the call for restraint by national leadership of the party.
However, after a careful reflection on recent comments by some people within and outside the party decided to recall the piece for publication. I need to disclose from the word go that my bet is on Dr. Bawumia to lead the NPP after His Excellency Nana Addo. The recent media interest in the matter has not surprisingly brought up the best in the opposition NDC to engage with this in the way it knows best: spewing out toxic identity politics.
Unfortunately, this has engendered knee-jerk responses from some NPP members loyal to people perceived to be front runners. Any genuine follower of the NPP should know by now that one obsession unites the NDC - the fear of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
It is deeply concerning that a reductionist approach is being adopted by many people to the important matter of selecting a flag bearer for a great party like the NPP. It should not simply be a matter of where one comes from, even though most progressive groups make conscious efforts to embrace diversity and inclusion.
Our tradition prides itself with unmatched fidelity to the principle of universal and equal recognition. Whilst embracing diversity we often place competence at the forefront of choices. Both admirers and critics of HE Dr. Bawumia will confirm that his biggest pitch is not about ethnic or regional identity but his competence and loyalty to the NPP.
For me, ever since the “you and I were not there” Supreme Court days, after the 2012 elections, Dr Bawumia has become a household name and has come to represent an image in the party you can trust - astute, incorruptible, respectful, team player, hardworking, and meticulous. HE Dr Bawumia has thus grown into an influential and very important party man, combining technical delivery of critical governance and national matters, with equally important party-promoting strategies and actions. Any rational evaluation of his suitability to lead the NPP, must as a matter of logical necessity, begin from this premise.
The regional identity of DMB spices the meal and represents a happy convergence between competence and diversity for the NPP. The NPP has done so much over the years to promote inclusion, diversity and cohesion. It has consistently featured a Moslem/Christian and South/North presidential ticket, producing two Moslem Vice Presidents in the process.
Either the NPP has not highlighted this fact enough or it has allowed too much room for the absurdly complicated NDC-inspired tribal politics mantra to blossom. For now, the NPP should remain focused on delivering its renewed mandate. Anybody who emerges winner would be campaigning on the record of His Excellency, the President. Any discussion on identity politics at this stage, therefore, offers oxygen to the NDC and internal saboteurs to detract from the unique opportunity offered the NPP to settle on competence in diversity.
It is refreshing to note that the NPP doesn’t impose candidates on its members. The delegates of the NPP are highly discerning and have demonstrated several times that they will always choose a candidate who represents the spirit and mood of the party at any particular point in time. They did this for Prof Albert Adu Boahen in 1992, His Excellency JAK in 1998 and His Excellency Nana Addo in 2007 and 2014. They will do same for whoever represents the mood of the party in 2022, and I have no doubt whatsoever that this will be His Excellency DMB.
In breaking the 8, the NPP faces a crucial test to overcome mischievous tags. It is going to be abundantly clear that the choice is not between the North and South; it will be a choice rooted in competence.
Ultimately, the winning formular lies as much in competence as it does in diversity. His Excellency DMB fits both.
Source: Seth Osei Darko
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