From the look of things, the exact flip side of what happened in Nigeria will surely happen in Ghana.
NIGERIA’S OPPOSITION SITUATION:
The PDP, the main opposition party in Nigeria, were the first to choose their candidate. Knowing that Nigeria is dominated by Muslims, they chose Atiku Abubakar, a Muslim from the North.
GHANA’S OPPOSITION SITUATION:
Like what happened in Nigeria, the NDC, Ghana’s main opposition party, will be the first to choose their candidate. Knowing that Ghana is overly dominated by the Christians, they would choose John Mahama, a Christian from the North.
NIGERIA’S RULING PARTY SITUATION:
The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from the North, supported his Vice-President, Prof. Oluyemi Osinbajo, a Christian from the South, against his fellow Muslim and a founding member of the ruling APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was derogatorily described by the Veep’s supporters as an old man.
However, the party delegates, knowing that the country is dominated by Muslims, thought it wise to vote for Tinubu, so that PDP, with Atiku Abubakar, wouldn’t have advantage over them in the dominant Muslim Community. Therefore, the President’s candidate lost. Bola Ahmed Tinabu, a Muslim from the South and a new face on the presidential ballot, has eventually won the general election against Atiku Abubakar, who has tasted the presidency before, to become Nigeria’s next President.
They understood that politics is a game of numbers and so they didn’t downplay the religious factor. They were wise about it. This wouldn’t mar the relationship between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria. APC’s common interest was to win power.
GHANA’S RULING PARTY SITUATION:
Interestingly, the Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo Addo, a Christian from the South, is also supporting his Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, a Muslim from the North, against his fellow Christian and a founding member of the ruling NPP, Alan Kyerematen, who is also derogatorily being described by Veep’s supporters as an old man.
However, the party delegates, knowing that Ghana is overly dominated by the Christian community, would vote for Alan Kyerematen, so that the NDC, with John Mahama, wouldn’t have advantage over us in the overly dominant Christian Community. Therefore, the President’s candidate would lose. Alan Kyerematen, a Christian from the South and a new face on the presidential ballot, will eventually win marginally in the general election against John Mahama, who has tasted the presidency before, to become Ghana’s next President.
Like the APC, we understand that politics is a game of numbers and so we aren’t going to downplay the religious factor, especially when about 72% of Ghanaians are Christians. We are also going to be wise about it. This wouldn’t mar the relationship between Christians and Muslims in Ghana. Our common interest is to win power.
BBC REPORT ON THE RELIGIOUS FACTOR:
BBC reported two days to the election that the religious factor had become prevalent in the Nigeria election. An Imam was interviewed and he said he had asked his people to vote for a Muslim. Pastors were also shown preaching to their members to vote for one of their own. Albeit, not every electorate votes on religion line, certainly there are always religion fanatics who would let their faith inform their decision. This is a common knowledge.
THE GREAT WISE LESSON
The great wise lesson here is that if you don’t have the capacity to campaign effectively on the economy due to obvious reasons, focus on other factors that can give you significant advantage over your opponents. Tinubu, obviously never won the election on the back of Nigeria’s overall economy. He asked the Nigerians to consider his record as a Governor and his vision for the country. Alan Kyerematen has a fantastic record as a Minister and great vision for the country. He can easily be marketed for victory. Let’s not destroy our tried and tested advantage in the name of “If you chop some, let us also chop some” as Karbo is preaching for his Northern brother.
A wise man once said “When you have banana in your pocket, never try to use apple to bait monkeys. Monkeys would even prefer a partly-rotten banana to a fresh apple”. A word from the wise!
E. G. Buckman