To say the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is an anti-northern party is “absolute rubbish”, a leading member of the NPP, Professor Mike Oquaye, has said.
Professor Oquaye said this in response to claims by Ghana’s Ambassador to Namibia and Botswana, Harruna Atta, that President John Mahama’s recent assertion that the NPP only uses northerners and dumps them is a truism.
Parrying criticism of the president’s comment from the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), the former NPP member who is now serving in the Mahama administration said: “And if I may ask, what is wrong with that?
“The president was only stating an obvious and historical fact known to many people with a sound knowledge of Ghana’s politics since independence,” he added.
Describing Mr Mahama as a noble man who he must defend, Mr Attah said: “After almost 20 presidential aspirants ran against late vice president Alhaji Aliu Mahama in the NPP’s presidential primaries in 2007 when Mr John Kufuor was leaving office after serving two terms, Mr Aliu Mahama “with much humility, conceded to Nana Akufo-Addo who emerged winner, sort of…
“I do recollect very clearly, as if it happened only yesterday, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo invited me to his office at Ridge near the offices of the Electoral Commission. I honoured the invitation, not knowing what to expect. The outcome was one of the most revealing encounters I have ever had with a Ghanaian politician. He raised a number of issues and concluded on my ‘support’ for the late vice president. On that, this is what he told me.
“The words have been indelibly etched on my conscience: ‘Harruna, your support for Aliu was flawed. If you think our party will cede its Akan leadership, you are wrong.’ He went on to expatiate on the theme, but with my mind reeling at this blatant and brazen ethnocentricity, nothing else really mattered to me again. When I left, I confided in a few people, mainly family and friends, as witnesses. I received all manner of suggestions on how to handle this ‘bombshell’ and indeed one family member high up in the NPP even suggested that I take it up with President Kufuor. The frightening fundamental message was clear: No non-Akan should dream of leading the NPP as presidential candidate.
“Not only that, Mr Hackman Owusu Agyeman, going beyond Nana Akufo-Addo’s ethnicity, used religion as his anti-Aliu stance. He confronted me in the presence of a witness: ‘Abdul-Rahman, with a nation of about 70% Christians, do you think it will be fair to have a Muslim president?’ He was referring to Alhaji Aliu Mahama, a Muslim. I answered calmly that in all the major hotspots of the world, it is when some groups think they are dominant and go on to marginalise groups they regard as minorities that the minorities also rise up to assert themselves, by whatever means.
“Dr Addo-Kufuor, President Kufuor’s brother had his turn too. At a funeral at the Trade Fair Centre in Accra, he also railed against my ‘support’ for Aliu and threatened that ‘You are working yourself out of reckoning in any future NPP government.’ I replied that history would vindicate me. I could go on and on…”
In a sharp rebuttal, Professor Oquaye told Emefa Apawu on 505 on Class91.3FM on Thursday 24 November that: “Nana Akufo- Addo is too broad minded for that.”