I am not prone to panegyrics because I do not see the reasons for doing do so. I give praise where praise is due and persistently rail against unconformity whenever it is necessary to do so. I have come under the chastisement of people who think I am too harsh on people who do not measure up to the standard I have set for those who rule and want to rule over the citizenry. Anytime I am convinced to put across my conviction, I do so with a force that mesmerizes everybody, including myself. My problem is that I have a strong feeling for frankness and I admire quality so much that I wouldn't mind putting my hand in the fire to defend the person I admire. You saw me doing so for Alhaji Aliu Mahama, the immediate past Vice President of Ghana because I saw in him a man of integrity and honesty.
I have taken my time to study the exploits of the running mate of Nana Akuffo Addo and have come to see him as the man who can make a difference on the Ghanaian political landscape. This is a man who came in from the crowd and since then has endeared himself to both the young and the old in the system. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is a germ. In fact, the man is simply a genius and an asset to Ghana. The man always exhibits dignity and courage and also has the strength that comes with character. The first time I met this fine gentleman, I simply poured my heart out to him. He is not the talkative type. That to me is a useful presidential habit. Speak less, listen more. When I engaged him in a conversation, he spoke in an urbane, cosmopolitan voice which sooths as well as attracts attention. I had cause to write sometime ago that many politicians come to high office relatively unknown and gave examples of such politicians like Harry Truman of the US and Alhaji Aliu Mahama of Ghana. I still believe biography is not necessarily destiny.
Hear the voice of a technocrat who is a running mate to an astute lawyer: 'I know that this nomination is a sacred responsibility that has been entrusted upon me and I accept the challenge in all humility and I hope to be able to rise up to the challenges with the blessing of Allah. I know that this nomination is one that people have talked about a lot but I would like to say that this nomination is not about me personally; it is about the future of this country, it is about the youth of this country, it is about how we are going to transform this country. My nomination will be meaningless unless it is linked to the total transformation of Ghana'. When a financial whiz kid speaks like this, you can easily anticipate the good things that are in store for the country.
When he first appeared on the political scene, those who did not know him saw him as a novice. By now, I know people have revised their notes about the man. He is polite, efficient and meticulous. He is also very disciplined and above all highly focused. Look at the way he handled the re-domination of the Cedi!. For the first time in the history of this country, government changed currency without any hitch whatsoever. People had no cause to form long queues at the banks to exchange their old notes with the new ones as we went about spending the new and the old together. Ghanaians who are old enough easily remember those days in the 70s and 80s when people who went to the banks to exchange their old currencies for the new ones ended up losing huge amounts of money. Some even died from fatigue.
The other day when I saw the picture of Dr. Bawumia, his beautiful wife, Samira and fine children on the front page of the Daily Guide, I really understood why the sages say behind every successful man, there is a woman. I can imagine how ecstatic the situation will be when Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and his wife, led by Alhaji Aliu Mahama and his wife will be on a campaign trail in the three northern regions. In fact, I can't wait to see these four northerners criss-crossing the Zongos in search of votes for the New Patriotic Party. This is the fear of the NDC when they heard that Bawumia has been chosen one more time to partner Nana. And it is a genuine fear because the first time around Bawumia was relatively unknown as compared to John Dramani Mahama. This time around, the name Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has become a household name.
Talking about the Zongos reminds me of what the NDC propaganda team did in the run-up to the 2000 general elections. The propagandists went round all the zongos in the country with only one message. They told the people of the Zongos, particularly foreigners who had sojourned in Ghana that when they voted the NPP into power, the Aliens' Compliance Order which was introduced by the Progress Party would be reintroduced by the New Patriotic Party. In 1969, the Busia government introduced the ACO which compelled all aliens in the country to leave for their respective countries. Those most affected were people from Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Niger, Mali, Liberia and former Upper Volta. Some of them sold their properties at peppercorn prices in order to beat the deadline set by the government for them to leave the shores of Ghana.
When Busia was overthrown in 1972, these aliens returned to Ghana and never went back. Even though many of those who were affected by the order have since died and gone, their descendants still live in the country. Some of them married Ghanaians and have children by them. In fact, some of the descendants of these aliens have their children in responsible positions in the country today. And so when the NDC propaganda machinery went to town on the issue, they had the sympathy of these people who feared that when that order was repeated, they would also suffer like their predecessors. They even went further to tell these people that because the government of Nigeria also drove away foreigners, including Ghanaians, the NPP would retaliate.
When Kufour took over the reins of power, the aliens who were misled into thinking that the Aliens' Compliance Order would be reintroduced were surprised when for the eight years that the NPP was in power, the issue was never raised. Today, the NDC propagandists are so ashamed of the lies that they do not use them anymore. People from the Zongos who have come to see the NDC propagandists as liars have now wised up. In fact, it was during the tenure of Kufour that we saw a large number of aliens sojourning in Ghana all because of the booming economy and the peace that prevailed. That is why I have always insisted that lies have shorter legs. The best that the NDC could do for the people of the Zongos since coming into power is to use the youth of the Zongos to cause mayhem. Anytime they want people to go out there to cause trouble they do not hesitate to go to the Zongos to bus these ignorant youth. Just look at what is happening at various registration centres since the biometric registration started. From Odododiodoo, Tafo Pankrono, Nsawkaw, Kenyase, Techiman and beyond, all troubles recorded were committed by the youth of the Zongos.
Meanwhile, these NDC gurus make sure their children attend prestigious schools in Ghana and abroad. This writer is a pure Zongo man but as the buffalo said, it pains him so much that his brother is the cow but the cow is so stupid that it allows man to put rope around its neck and pull it to wherever he wants. This time around, I want to believe that elders of the Zongos have seen the light and they would advise their children to be wary of the NDC propagandists who use the youth of the Zongos like the way a farmer uses the hoe during the farming season and later hangs it on a tree when the dry reason rears its head. The Akans have a saying which is literally translated that the fool will not allow his testicles to be trampled upon twice. Similarly, the people of the Zongos will not allow themselves to be fooled twice by the NDC propagandists. Today, another Zongo guy is on the threshold of becoming the number two citizen of Ghana and I expect the people of the Zongos to move in sympathy with him. We all saw how the former Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama carried himself as the number two citizen of Ghana.
For eight years, this man worked so hard that Ghanaians did not feel the absence of Mr. Kufour anytime he travelled outside the country to woo investors. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia will surely step into his shoes, Insha Allah!!
By Eric Bawah