We will in this article demonstrate the unique strengths and the added advantage of the candidature of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia to the NPP’s fortunes as far as the 2024 general election is concerned.
The “Samira Effect”
One of the greatest assets and strengths to the candidature of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia is his beloved and awe-inspiring spouse, Alhajia Samira Bawumia. Over the years, she has provedn to be a rock not just of his success, but also to the NPP and its electoral fortunes.
Again, rarely do we see the wives of presidential candidates, or running mates, engage in vigorous grass-roots politicking as is being done by Alhajia Samira Bawumia.
Hajia Samira’s strong appetite for grass-roots politics has led her to traverse every part of our country and engage with rural and urban dwellers, especially amongst minority settlers, canvassing for votes for our party from among the country’s parliamentary and presidential candidates.
She is eloquent and has a mastery of political communication, which she has consistently deployed to move crowds on bigger campaign platforms. An example of this trait is her “We see you” speech at the NPP’s last rally at the Trade Fair Centre in Accra during the crucial 2016 elections. The speech shook the foundations of the NDC and electrified the political atmosphere at the time.
She will offer impetus to a Bawumia ticket, which will be useful to the party going forward, as has been the case in past elections.
The “Bawumia Effect” – competence
With respect, never has our nation witnessed the kind of vibrancy, teamwork and activeness of any vice-president, at least in the Fourth Republic, as we have seen with Dr Mahamudu Bawumia. His creative thinking and innovation in driving policies that seek to place Ghana on the competitive edge among her peers is admirable.
It would amount to incompetence to latch his reputation to failure as far as the delivery of our economy and other social policies are concerned. He is largely credited with leading the government’s efforts to formalise our economy through digitisation.
However, though Ghana is not yet there, we are certainly better off than we were yesterday, because of some of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia’s strategic inputs. It is not surprising that notable leaders in every sphere of our national life, including President Nana Akufo-Addo and the former president John Agyekum Kufuor, continually extol his credentials and the meaningful impact that he continues to exude for the benefit of our countrymen and women.
Indeed, the living colossus and eminent statesman President John Agyekum Kufuor is quoted to have said, in one of his many speeches reposing confidence in the vice-president, that “the nation must count itself fortunate to have such a son as Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who rightly fits the role of the needed analyst. He is an economist, banker and also a responsible politician who has a lot of experience …”
The historical provenance of Ghanaian politics has always been characterised by what we describe as an issues-based politics, which has always been about the progress of Ghana and the welfare of its people.
In the same regard, our politics was not spared by our political opponents who, expressing sheer discomfort with issues-based politics, were entirely convinced about providing in their party constitution for the election of a propaganda secretary, a position that they struggled to abandon, but eventually did so reluctantly.
Once again, Dr Bawumia arguably succeeded in reshaping and reintroducing into the discourse of our body politic an issues-based and intellectually stimulating politicking. He has consistently “boxed” our main opponents, the NDC, into the “intellectual corner”, much to their discomfort, by getting them to stick to issues which affect our economy.
To date, the NDC is still struggling to mount a purposeful challenge against Dr Bawumia in respect to most of his remarks. Indeed, facts and data, which are his greatest weapons, have turned him into their “tormentor-in-chief”.
Hate or loathe him, Ghanaians have come to appreciate his brilliance through his series of lectures, which many have dubbed “Economics 101”, and more importantly, the dexterity with which he is able to demystify certain economic jargon to the understanding of the least educated in society.
Aside from Dr Bawumia having the competence to continue on a transformational path, pursuing the legacy of President Akufo-Addo, he has proved to be a thorn in the flesh of the NDC with his intellectual approach to our national discourse and taking the “fight” to their doorstep.
Most marketable with a national appeal
The weakest among the arguments being canvassed by critics of Dr Bawumia is to tout him as politically inexperienced. If having been a running mate for a major political party like ours in four different elections who has helped immensely to win two of those general elections to become the vice-president serving in a second term is not political experience enough to become president, then it prompts the question: what is political experience?
It takes only a political novice to advance or agree to such a fallacious commentary. Dr Bawumia has a momentum and unmatched pedigree in marketability and national appeal.
Indeed, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has become a household name in Ghana, having traversed the length and breadth of our country canvassing for votes for the past 11 years. On average, he has crisscrossed the country no less than twice before both NPP presidential primaries and the general elections.
It is important to emphasise that he has appeared on campaign posters, in commercials, on billboards et cetera alongside with President Nana Akufo-Addo since 2008 – not to talk of his own, widespread media coverage and appearances.
Such are his enviable and unbeatable credentials, and they cannot be downplayed. Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, with his national appeal and charisma, will make the job of “beating” any NDC contender in 2024 much easier than presenting a totally new candidate who does not come with these many added advantages.
He has a national appeal which cuts across ethnicity, religion and people of all ages and gender. Though a Muslim, he has continually promoted and become a symbol of religious tolerance in our nation. He offers people of the Christian faith and their clergy due recognition, and he is often seen attending their events in the same manner he consorts with people of his Islamic faith. This has endeared him to people of all faiths and given him tremendous support among them.
Loyalty and dedication
Since his emergence on the national political stage Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has remained true blue. Through thick and thin, he has shown fidelity to the cause by being there for the party and its flagbearer at every material moment.
It is by no means a coincidence that he has always enjoyed the support of the party and the president, especially in choosing him to be running mate in four consecutive elections. That is testament to the confidence they repose in him for his dedication, loyalty and value addition to the cause.
As a technocrat of international repute, he did not abandon the party to seek his personal interest when it mattered most. We saw how he worked tirelessly during the 2012 election petition, by so doing becoming its star witness at difficult moments which redefined elections in our country. It was through some of his efforts and sacrifice that our country was able to undertake major electoral reforms which have borne fruit for all of us as citizens today.
Our party is one that rewards hard work and sacrifice, and we won’t forget too soon its dedicated servants.
There is certainly a lot to say about the attributes of Dr Bawumia with regard to our electoral advantage. However, even with this little background, one cannot be oblivious that he represents our best choice as the next lead-servant of our party as we prepare for the elections of 2024. He has what it takes to win a general election and to govern a nation.
For some of us, leadership such as ours is not borne out of a supposed “queuing proposition” or an “entitlement theory” but must be anchored on who has a competitive edge to harness political power for us at a given time – a leader who is compassionate, magnanimous and appealing to all, has great humility, is selfless in his sense of service and able to unite the party, has tremendous love for party and country, is people-centred, has exceptional human relations and an enviable electoral track record and, most importantly, is a visionary who can help transform our country and engineer prosperity for all.
We must endeavour to send a positive signal to Ghanaians in general that ours is a party which embraces all and offers opportunities to all – a party which guarantees that, irrespective of people’s creed, ethnicity, gender and faith, they can still rise to the number-one spot in the party – a party in which the daughter or son of a farmer from Fumbisi in the Upper East Region can have the hope that they, too, by dint of hard work, can some day rise to the apex of leadership.
May we be guided by the eternal spirit of S D Dombo of blessed memory to know when to deny our own personal interest and to sacrifice for the collective good of all.
Credit: Chief Obosu Mohammed