From Edmond Gyebi, Tamale
In what appears to be the story of “John the Baptist” in the Holy Bible, who came to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, the former Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, in a desperate quest to ensure the come back of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2012 elections, has voluntarily assumed the responsibility of making the Northern regions fertile grounds for Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, NPP flagbearer, and the party at large.
Alhaji Aliu is now using his eight years accumulated political experience as Vice President, which offered him great opportunities to interact, fraternise, wine and dine with majority of chiefs and elders of the country, and other influential people, to build ties, renew friendships and also remind the people of the need to rally behind Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP in the coming polls.
Using his personal resources, the former Vice President, also a renowned businessman, is currently meeting chiefs and opinion leaders in the three Northern regions.
He will then move to the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern, Western, Central, Volta and Greater Accra regions, with the primary aim of thanking the people for their support for the NPP during their eight year tenure, and also solicit their continued support.
Addressing a section of the media at his private residence in Tamale, as part of his seven days tour of the Northern Region, Aliu Mahama said the struggle for political power should not be the sole responsibility of the presidential candidate, but all loyal and committed members and sympathisers of the NPP.
Aside the meeting with the chiefs, Alhaji Aliu Mahama is said to have also taken pains to heal wounds and re-unite supporters and the leaderships of the NPP in all the troubled constituencies, more especially, Salaga, Bimbilla, Wulensi, Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo, Yendi, Bolgatanga, and other places.
He is tactically closing ranks and breaking factionalism that had appeared between followers of Nana Addo and Alan Kyerematen.
At Salaga for instance, Alhaji Aliu was able to bring the NPP members, especially, the new and the old executives, who had for years now been at loggerheads, together, and succeeded in re-uniting them for a common purpose in 2012.
He cemented his move with a courtesy call on the Kpembewura, Haruna Kabasige, at his palace, where he caused the leadership and the supporters of NPP to commit themselves to the unity and peace accord, by swearing oaths before the Paramount Chief to live in unity.
A similar thing was also done by the former Vice President at the Palace of the Chief of Wulensi, Naa Alhaji Salifu Wumbey, where another peace move was initiated between the NPP members. The chiefs were not only happy about the visit of Alhaji Aliu, but also with his good intentions to unite his people.
On the other hand, the former Vice President, in answering questions on what he thought were the root cause of the NPP’s embarrassing defeat in the Northern regions, maintained that complacency, disunity and lack of commitment resulted in the defeat.
He strongly blamed the former regional ministers and their district chief executives (DCEs), who he noted, failed to spearhead the campaign and other party activities in the three Northern regions. Alhaji Aliu also blamed the situation on the petty squabbles, selfishness and power struggles that ensued between the ministers, members of parliament and DCEs, as well as some constituency and regional executives, in the build up to the elections.
“But, now I think we have all learnt our lessons, and we must therefore, come together and rally strongly behind Nana Addo, because he alone cannot win power for all of us. Unity is what we all require as a party to make us robust and tougher than our opponents. I know the battle will be tough, but if we are united, and commit ourselves to the party, nothing can hold us back,” he remarked.
However, some of the journalists complained about the poor working relationship between the Northern Regional executives of the NPP and the media, but Alhaji Aliu Mahama admitted it, and described it as one of the serious issues the party ought to address.
The Chief Executive Officer of Fiila FM, Mr. Benjamin Nana Boakye (former Northern Regional Treasurer of NPP), cautioned the party and its presidential candidate not to repeat the way they deliberately disqualified some parliamentary aspirants, and imposed others on the people at the constituency level, with Bimbilla as a specific reference.
He also advised Nana Addo to refrain from forming a national campaign team around the few “lazy people,” who had left the chunk of the work in their respective regions, and were parading themselves as “Nana’s men and women” in Accra.
“If you think you love Nana Addo, and you want him to become president, then you should not sit in air-conditioned cars in Accra, while the party is sinking in your village or community. It is quite unacceptable for Nana Addo to continue to use people who cannot, for instance, express themselves in a particular language to mount political platforms in that community, while people from that community could have done the work better, or digested the language to the best understanding of the people,” Nana Boakye advised.
His opinion was fully supported by Aliu Mahama, who further advised Nana Addo to rather form a national campaign team with sub-structures firmly rooted at the grassroots level, but not to allow a few “opportunists” to parade themselves as Nana’s boys, and continue to shield him or make him very much inaccessible.