At the last check, the Akans in positions in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) newly-elected officers make up, at least, 70%, if I am not mistaken.
This noble party has been labelled an Akan-based party, and more typically, an Asante party, by detractors, especially members of the other parties.
This label has always set some members of the NPP on edge, and most of them would do anything to shed it off. In 2010, when the party elected ethnically diverse executive officers, it trumpeted on the rooftops about that historic feat.
During the campaign towards the recent election of officers, some veered on that tangent to remind all of NPP about that ethnic tag, suggesting the only way to beat this perception is to make sure some non-Akans are elected into offices.
The NPP in general, as a party, seems to always want other parties to set its agenda and direction, and this, to me, is unacceptable.
When the President, then a private citizen, commended the youth of Atiwa for taking over their land from the invading Azorka boys, a group known as National Democratic Congress (NDC) thugs, during a bye election, he used a very appropriate idiomatic expression, all-die-be-die.
After they had been humiliated, slapped at will, beaten up, and even had a sports utility vehicle (SUV) driven over them by the Azorka Boys and NDC Woman Organiser Anita De Sosoo, who were armed to the teeth and fully protected by armed police, the people of Atiwa could not take it anymore. So, with bare hands, the youth rose up and drove the intruders away.
In commending them, Nana Addo used the right idiom, all-die-be-die. With nothing to lose but so much pride and dignity to gain, the youth of Atiwa went on the offensive without any weapons to restore normalcy and sanity in the land.
Immediately Nana Addo spoke those words, the NDC, which was all along clinching on straw to get out of troubles of its sole making, drove into Ghanaians’ minds about what a terrorist the NPP leader was. They effectively turned the tide and surfed the waves safely, while most NPP members were left speechless. Some even joined in condemning their then flag bearer for using such condemnable words. Strangely, all-die-be-die had been a phrase used every day, perhaps, ever since the English language became lingua franca in this land, and it was a direct translation from vernacular, which is a word of encouragement to do something positive and get out of very difficult situations where one is trapped or stuck with no possible way out.
Historic examples in politics include the Osu Mantse, Nii Kwabena Bonne, who defied the oppressive colonial rule and organised a boycott of patronising of expatriate goods and services; Adjetey, Atipoe, and Odartey, who were ex-servicemen, who led a march of defiance to the seat of government, knowing what was at stake for them, and Yaa Asantewaa, an Asante Queenmother who engaged the British to war to rescue her tribe from the oppressors.
No Ghanaian has ever condemned these men and woman as they are respectfully claimed heroes to this day and celebrated with pride, but they did this, urged on by the encouragement of the word all-die-be-die.
How sad can people be to condemn the reaction, but not the action, so the Azorka boys are no longer condemned and Anita is walking freely besides their criminal acts against humans on that day? It is rather Nana Addo, who saw it fit to commend the gallant youth of Atiwa, who is seen as a warmonger.
The issue of the NPP being an Akan/Asante based party is yet another thing that instead of hitting their chests and defending it, some NPP persons would like to shy away from it.
The question is what is wrong with having a support base in an ethnic group? At the last check, this is neither condemned nor even talked about in our Constitution.
The fact remains that the largest ethnic group in Ghana is the Akan, and if one has the support of the majority, then one must be thankful for that. After all, that is what democracy is all about.
Some persons, knowing the overwhelming advantage NPP has with its Akan-based support, had decided to sow bad blood among Ghanaians, and some NPP members are gullible to see that as worrisome.
The NPP went into elections in 1992 and lost, losing in all regions, including Akan-based regions, except Ashanti. In 1996, it won in only two regions – Ashanti and Eastern – both Akan-based regions. In 2000, it won in all five Akan based regions and with the cosmopolitan Greater Accra Region, it won the general elections. That feat was repeated in 2004. In 2008 and 2012 it lost between two and three Akan-based regions respectively, and lost the elections. In 2016, all five Akan-based regions were back on board, and the NPP won the general elections.
Now it is clear where the NPP gets its strength from, so who in his or her right frame of mind would condemn the hen that lays the golden eggs?
Rather, listening to members of other political parties who want to breakup this support base of the NPP, I will advise that every effort is made to unite all the tribes within the Akan ethnic group and maintain a strong bond within them.
This is essential, because another method being used by the other parties is to stir mistrust of one tribe against the other, and go about saying this or that other tribe is dominating your party.
The current executive officers must, as a matter of urgency, unite all ethnic groups in the party, with emphasis on getting all Akans as one. That way, victory for any election can be guaranteed.
Congratulations to the newly-elected officers, led by the Catholic boy, Freddie Blay. NPP is One and it should always be so: All For One and One For All.
Hon. Daniel Dugan