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I welcome you my distinguished audience back from our long break. It was only fitting that we took time off to celebrate the legendary life of the venerable Hon. C. K. Tedam.
Our discourse is getting interesting and very revealing. The feedback has been amazing and the invaluable depth of knowledge espoused by many of you are remarkable and noted. I am sincerely humbled by your encouragements too.
It is now clear that, come 28th September, 2019, the NPP will be holding its Parliamentary primaries for the ‘orphan’ constituencies. The Upper East Region in similitude to other regions of the north and the country at large will be busy: the heat of campaigns, the drama of infighting as well as all other political shenanigans you can imagine will all come alive in September.
I want to use this medium to admonish that, we have a government to retain in power, a national agenda to industrialize this country and change her destiny and that of her people for good, and a people to serve. Let us not so much divide our ranks to stimulate any unnecessary provocation of the Ghanaian public. Let us allow for the decorum that defines us continue to be the hall mark in this election. I wish all candidates the very best of luck.
Today, we will want to turn our attention to the Bawku Central Constituency. It is a constituency that has been classified as a swing seat. Same though cannot be said of the area since the Hon. Mahama Ayariga came to the scene. The NDC legislator is serving his third term of which the last two are in succession.
The NPP in Bawku is as active as it has been productive in contributing immensely to the political fortunes of the Party.
Going by our modus operandi in this series, the statistics from 2008 -2016 are as follows: in 2008, the NPP won the seat with a 20,157 votes whiles the NDC pulled 17,385 votes. It is important to state here that, Mahama Ayariga (NDC) was complacent if not over confident of retaining the seat hence spent more of his time campaigning for the Candidate Mills of blessed memory and other NDC Parliamentary Candidates. Our Candidate (Adamu Dramani) who was new, also had the charisma, political wit that was required at such a time. The optics in this enterprise of politics is critical hence the absence of a candidate in his/her domain certainly will have impact on the outcome. In 2012, the NDC reclaimed the seat with 24,071 votes against 19,081 votes.
The legal tussle that became an albatross around the neck of the NPP’s candidate was not only draining his resources to execute his promises but also had a psychological effect on his persona resulting in distrust from the electorate. Of course the NDC was also in Power; the use of the state machinery aided their course plus the demise of President Mills equally raked-in some colossal numbers of sympathy votes for the NDC. The dynamics of 2012 endure in favour of the NDC in 2016. The NDC’s Mahama Ayariga won that seat with over one thousand votes. The NPP had introduced a new candidate who was yet to grasp the realities and tactics of politics. So we can argue that, she was yet to be tried by the voting public.
It is evident that, Mahama Ayariga has been the most successful Member of Parliament in Bawku to have won the seat on three occasions and history will remember him for that if the status quo remains same. Does that mean that the NDC had a better strategy, ‘good’ candidates, or programs and policies than the NPP? I am confident that it is so relative to strategy. On the issues of the quality of candidates, the Hon. Hawa Yakubu was an incredible politician with sterling abilities that was admired by many. Same can be said about the Hon. Gabiana who is also sounds academically and appear to be learning fast about politics. So no argument will thrive on the basis of the quality of candidates. However, I am unable to master same exuberance and courage for any debate on the strategy we often deploy in wooing the electorate for votes.
The NPP in Bawku is laid back, classically allowing ethnocentrism or better still factionalism to dictate where we should go and not, and above all the party’s inability to galvanize the youth who have proven consistently to be the deciders in the last three elections to the party. Even when the party does, it fails in retaining them: In 2016, we saw the youth come out in their numbers to vote for the NPP in Bawku. But our research show a very early apathy for the Party in the constituency which must urge us to sit up.
As a party, the NPP has all it takes to win the seat this time around. However, should we fail to undo the wrongs, open up and accommodate people regardless of their background, the unfortunate is not far from repeating.
Let me hasten to add that, I have heard, read and seen some of our party members try to use the current legal scrimmage between Ayariga and the Special Prosecutor as a political message. In politics you don’t allow your opponent the breathing space to regain energy ones he is buffeted down, thus the pressure to score political points are fine and apt. Except to say that, if we are not crafty about it, we might end up inflicting on ourselves wounds that will not respond to any soothing balm.
A critical assessment of the Bawku Central constituency show that, many vote on party, ethnic, and some times religious lines. The politics of equalization is not one that can survive in Bawku. So can we focus on the issues and other related policies than seeking to equalize? Can we assess his stewardship and punch holes, so as to proffer better alternatives? Can we appreciate the fact that, the vintage Machiavellian tactics of politics is not what we need in a liberal world order of times we live in?. If we can do all this and more, I believe we will win majority of the people of Bawku on our side. The Policies of our party as championed by the President are reforming this country and those are the progressive news the Bawku people and Ghanaian want to hear.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
By Andrew Atariwini