By Seidu Kpebu


John Dramani Mahama and Haruna Iddrisu
John Dramani Mahama and Haruna Iddrisu

“A person is a person because he recognises others as persons” – Bishop Desmond Tutu


His Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, fits into the above quotation. I have not had many opportunities to get closer to him or chat with him. The only opportunity was when I took a photograph with him at an investment forum in 2010. That photograph is a souvenir and tucked away beautifully in my photo album.


I was introduced to him by a prominent Ghanaian Diplomat and he said to me “continue the good works you are doing” and further paid tribute to my late friend and inspiration, Janet Buarke Narh.


Indeed, this meeting was enough to inspire a down-hearted young man to see the sky as his limit. The Vice President was down to earth and shook my hand firmly, smiled and looked directly into my eyes. I was truly happy that an important person has recognised me as a fellow human being.


Let me be quick to add that many people have also testified to me about this side of John Dramani Mahama. I spoken to people from all walks of life and they all attest that the man has a charming and humble side that is so natural and unassuming. I met a lady from Joli, a village in the north, and she told me Vice President has extremely inspired the youth of her village.


According to her, the simple life style, his constant smiles and above all interacting with ordinary people and calling on the youth to be hardworking and eschew violence, this she believes, are attributes that make him a role model for the people of the north.


When it comes to garnering votes for his party in the December polls, the above attributes will be key to  the success of the NDC in the north. Infact there are only a few people who can swing the votes in the north for a political party and the vice president is one of them.


You may love him or loath him, the other person to influence northern votes is the former president Jerry John Rawlings. Mr Rawlings is a big influence on voters in the north which must not be discounted. However, in the event that Mr Rawlings refuses to campaign for the NDC, the Vice president can make up for the deficit. This is not to write off Mr Rawlings’ contribution.


In the last one month, I have been to a couple of villages in the north and again the vice president comes up tops among those who can garner votes for the NDC.


The other name that keeps coming up that may surprise readers but not me is my friend and a young minister, Haruna Iddrisu, Minister for Communications and MP for Tamale south. Haruna’s meteoric rise may surprise some people but not overwhelming majority of people from the north. He has endeared himself to the people of the north to the extend that the youth see him as a role model. With youth on his side, Haruna can easily canvass and moblise thousands of votes for the NDC.


I am told that Haruna makes sure he listens to everybody who calls on him. And that he makes the atmosphere enabling that people are not intimidated that he is a minister. When he visits the north, he some times visits friend and family members on his bicycle. An old school mate of mine joked that Haruna can even beat President Mills in the north if there were to be an election (contest) between them. He is inevitably an asset in the December elections; his efforts will inure to the NDC.


One major factor that is working in favour of the Vice President and Haruna Iddrisu is the view that they have both been given an unfettered opportunity to work in the present government. When you speak to people from the north and the Zongo communities across the country they tell you John Dramani is the most hardworking Vice president that this country has ever hard.


They attribute it to the fact that President Mills has given everybody in his government the opportunity to excel. And that president Mills is not using his vice as a ‘receptionist’, only fit for welcoming foreign dignitaries and attending funerals, but has given him presidential roles which John has handled with distinction.


Going by the facts on the ground, which I will be writing about at a later date, northerners will continue to vote massively for the NDC; it will be difficult for any party to defeat the NDC in the north and the Zongo communities. What is even intriguing is that John’s wife Madam Lordina speaks impeccable Hausa and so much identified with them.


This and many factors such as John’s appeal to floating voters and Haruna’s ability to press the right button at the right time, make it an insurmountable task for other political parties to win in the north and the Zongo communities.


There are other distinguished people who can also impact on voters in the north and the Zongo communities. They include: Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin, Minister for Health, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, former Vice President, Mr Martin Amidu and many more.


Alhaji Aliu Mahama, former Vice President, is also capable of pulling votes for the NPP in the north and the Zongo communities. The challenge he faces though is the perception that the NPP under former President Kufuor used him for northern and Zongo votes and dumped him after reaching his use-by date. This perception he will struggle to change but can still make an impact for the NPP.


I will bring you more reports during my tour of rural Ghana to ascertain the true facts behind the news and the propaganda. What are the rural communities saying about various governments and political parties? Has the media lost touch with the rural communities? This is not an opnion poll excercise, it is just finding out the facts behind the news.


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