Beloved, we are still continuing our connection factors analysis. So far, we have looked at the economic and religious factors. Let’s now proceed with our third connection factor.
THE ETHNIC/TRIBAL CONNECTION FACTOR
No matter how some people have tried lately to downplay its existence or significance in our body politic, the reality remains that, ethnic or tribal factor in politics, is one of the means by which people get connected to a particular political party or candidate.
One intriguing observation I have made over the years about the issue of tribal politics is that, people like to comfortably play it to their advantage when it favors them, but fervidly downplay or oppose it when it favors their opponent. The truth is that we have all been hypocritical about it. The impact of tribal factor in election is quite enormous, and I dare say that any party that ignores or downplays it, does so at its own peril.
It is certainly not a coincidence that over the years, the Akans, who constitute almost half of the country’s population (47.5%), have chiefly been gravitating toward the NPP since 1992. In the 2020 election, for instance, out of the 7 regions the NPP won, 6 of them were Akan regions.
So, you can appreciate why the NDC has unceasingly been trying to denigrate the party with the “Akan tag” mantra. Their strategy has been to whittle that Akan advantage away from the NPP. Strangely, some people in the NPP, having guilelessly fallen for the NDC trap, have suggested the party kills the Akan tag.
But, who kills a political advantage! Are we in this game to kill a tag or to win election? In this competitive two-party democracy of ours, the last thing any serious political party would want to do, is to select a candidate to kill a so-called tag and, actually, a significant advantage. In a one-party democracy, such risk could be entertained, but not in the kind of two-party democracy we have.
All other things being equal, in the 2024 election, if the NPP is able to win those 6 Akan regions again with significant difference in each region, and particularly increase the Ashanti Region votes from the 1.795 million to over 2 million votes, the party would be able to break the 8. For me, whoever has the capacity and connection to give us over 2 million votes in Ashanti Region, should be the party’s candidate.
As I have shown you before, in the 9 regions the NDC won in 2020, they beat the NPP with a total difference of 1,151,292. However, in Ashanti Region alone, the NPP beat them with a difference 1,142,675. So, Ashanti alone stood against all the 9 regions with only a deficit of 8,617 votes*. That’s how important the region is.
Fortunately for the NPP, 3 out of the 4 regions that would determine the outcome of the 2024 elections are Akan regions – Ashanti, Central, Western and Greater Accra. However, the NDC, by their appointment of Hon. Ato Forson and Hon. Armah Buah, as the new leaders of the party in parliament, has given ample signal to the NPP that Western and Central would be serious battle grounds in 2024.
Again, NDC’s performance improvement in Ashanti Region from 23.03% in 2016 to 26.08% in 2020, should be a matter of concern to any serious-minded NPP person. If with Nana Addo as the candidate, and the party going for it’s second term on the back of free SHS at the time, the NDC was able to put up such performance in our stronghold, then the region would be a real battle ground in 2024.
Therefore, NPP’s strategy must focus on having a candidate who can connect very well with those 4 regions, in addition to Eastern, Bono and Ahafo. Currently, the party stands a bit weakened relative to the economic factor. As a result, a special kind of magnetic candidate would be needed to inspire confidence and hope, and also bring in the numbers through other connection factors.
Once again, let me show you why APC delegates rejected the President’s candidate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President, and voted massively for Ahmed Bola Tinubu. The APC delegates knew the economic factor was against them, prior to the election. But, they also knew something else - they knew with Tinubu, a Yoruba Muslim, they could significantly take advantage of the religious and ethnic connection factors.
In the end, their strategy paid off, and Tinubu was able to connect well with the Yorubas to win in all the Yoruba dominated States except Lagos, where Obi won because the weight of the religious factor was heavily against him. He also won 5.5 million of the Northern Muslim votes as against Atiku’s 5.1 million. That’s smartness, isn’t it?
LESSON: In politics, you don’t leave your 99 sheep astray to go and look for the one which is lost. You make sure the 99 are well protected before you set out to go and look for the one which is lost. We must think of consolidating our advantage in the Akan regions first before anything else. Yes, we need to perform fairly well in the NDC strongholds, and possibly win Greater Accra, but above all, we must garner over 2 million votes in Ashanti Region.
QUESTION: Once again, putting emotions aside, and considering things purely from strategic point of view, which of the two gentlemen do you think can easily connect well with needed regions to give us superior advantage against John Mahama?