A deputy National Organizer of the ruling National Democratic Congress, Alhaji Baba Sheriff has passionately appealed to President John Dramani Mahama to employ all legitimate means available at his disposal to ensure he succeed as the second Northerner to have ascended to the highest seat of the land after Dr Hilla Limann.
According to him in the unlikely event President Mahama fails as Head of State, it will not only be an indictment on the peoples of Northern extraction, it will also dilute the chances of any Northerner becoming President in future.
Speaking to The Al-Hajj in an exclusive interview yesterday, Alhaji Sheriff, though optimistic the President will make a strong case for Northerners who have for a long time play second fiddle as vice Presidents since the overthrow of Dr Limann in 1981, stated that it was incumbent on every Ghanaian, particularly those from the North to assist the President in delivering on his promises.
“I abhor tribal politics so I don’t engage in it…what I’m saying is not in any way tribal. If we don’t assist our brother to succeed and demonstrate to the whole world that aside been Vice Presidents we can also be President…, Northerners, irrespective of their political affiliation will not get the opportunity to lead this country in future,” the NDC capo stated
He said President John Mahama’s presidency is a test case for Northerners to prove that when given the opportunity they too can rise to the occasion and or, even do better.
“We (northerners) have been offered another opportunity and we must make good use of it. If President Mahama should fail, I bet you in future it will hunt many other young men from the North desirous of running for President in Ghana.”
He said it took the three Northern regions 35 years after Dr Limann who was elected in 1979 and deposed in 1981, to produce another President in 2012 in the person of President John Dramani Mahama.
Tracing the history of how Northerners have played second fiddle to Southerners, Alhaji Sheriff said “ in 1979, Victor Owusu named Alhaji Yakubu Tolon Naa Tali as running mate; William Ofori-Atta also appointed Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu as his partner and in that same year Dr Limann contested the election with J S W de-Graft Johnson as running mate and won.”
“After Dr Limann’s overthrow in 1981, we’ve never had the opportunity to lead this country. All we have been offered is running mates. In 1992 when the country returned to multi-party democracy, Prof Albert Adu Boahen named Alhaji R I Alhassan as his running mate; in 2000 and 2004 we had Mr Kufuor and Alhaji Aliu Mahama, and in 2000, we had Prof Mills, Martin Amidu ticket and 2004; Prof Mills, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni ticket. Then in 2008 Prof Mills won the election with John Mahama as running mate. On July 24, 2011, John Mahama became President as a result of the unfortunate demise of Prof Mills and went ahead to win the 2012 elections. It took us 35 years to produce another President…that is not to say we don’t have the human resource up North,” he stated.
The NDC’s deputy National Organizer admonished the President not to fail the people of the North, saying “I know he won’t fail us…he will succeed and make a good case on behalf of the people of the north”
Commenting on issues relating to the party in its preparation towards election of national executives, Alhaji Sheriff noted that the nationwide biometric registration of its members is progressing steadily and in the coming days the exercise will be moved from the Western region to the three northern regions.
Despite fears by many party supporters that the party was delaying on the election of members especially when the main opposition party has concluded electing its national officers, the NDC deputy National Organizer assured that “we will soon conclude the registration process and start the election and I can assure you that we will use the biometric data we are gathering for our next election.”